The hills WILL be alive this year!

Date published: 14 April 2021

A dynamic brass band lover is determined the hills of Saddleworth WILL be alive with the sound of music this year.

For two consecutive years, the legendary Saddleworth Whit Friday Brass Band contests have been cancelled because of covid.

Billed as the “Greatest free show in earth”, the event attracted thousands of visitors who thronged the villages to share the colourful spectacle of more than 100 bands from Britain and abroad competing for cash prizes. 

But now Frank Rothwell, chairman of the Greenfield Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee, is planning a Greenfield Autumn Leaves Brass Band contest.

The event is aimed at encouraging and helping local brass bands to restart after the crippling lockdown. 

It will be staged at Ladhill Playing Fields, Ladhill Lane, Greenfield, on Sunday, September 5, between noon and 8pm.

Said Mr Rothwell: “We have researched our local bands to test the appetite for an early autumn contest.

“And we checked with Bob and Mary Rodgers, co-ordinators of the Saddleworth and Oldham District Whit Friday Band Contests, to ensure we are not standing on anyone’s toes or staging a Saddleworth-wide contest by going ahead with our individual plans.   

“Our enquiries have met with enthusiasm from everyone approached,” he declared.

“The event will be restricted to bands from the Borough of Oldham and encourage school, training and social bands to participate as well as the established Youth, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and Championship section bands.

Frank Rothwell, the chairman of the Greenfield Whit Friday Brass Band Contest Committee

“The senior bands' participation will provide an experience to encourage younger players and learners to continue their commitment to the art and provide a community party to celebrate the downfall of Covid.  

“This Brass Band Contest could be best be described as a ‘Concert with prizes'. 

“We plan an inclusive contest for up to 20 brass bands - but only from the Borough of Oldham.”

Each band will have a pre-drawn playing time of  a 15 or 20 minute time slot and perform on an elevated bandstand.

Each band will play a hymn and a march, but this will be amended to satisfy the abilities of the different levels.

Said Mr Rothwell: “The adjudicator will sit in the open allowing the juniors to see the judge is human and allowing him to also enjoy the day.  

“Our adjudicator, Mr Chris Wormald from Bolton, holds no local allegiance.  

"This will also allow us to announce the name of the band playing and their competition piece.”

He added: “We are trying to promote a relaxed, Sunday afternoon family party atmosphere compared to the high octane highly competitive Whit Friday Contest.”

Bands should register their early intent by emailing: or as a last resort, phone Frank on 07802 938 270.

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