Shankill battle runs on

AMONG last weekend’s events was heat two of the Shankill Star 2013 Battle of the Bands on the Shankill Road.

First band to appear where the Clogher Protestant Boys Flute from Waringstown. The Co Down men put in their usual exemplary performances, flutes crisp and clear, and side drums in perfect unison. Lower Woodstock followed, using the opportunity to roll out some of their new tunes for the 2013 band season. Final band was Gortagilly Coronation Flute all the way from Moneymore, impressing all in attendance.

This Saturday night will see the biggest line up to date appearing, with three counties represented.

Defenders of the Rock Lisbellaw, Kilcluney Volunteers Markethill, Dunmurry Protestant Boys, South Belfast Young Conquerors, Ballyclare Protestant Boys and Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster each will be appearing.

This weekend has a broad range of band events taking place right across the Province. In Moneymore Presbyterian Church Hall on Friday night the Ballybriest Flower of the Heather Flute are hosts. A diverse line up includes Sgt White Memorial Flute Bush, Sandholes Accordion Pomeroy, Matt Boyd Memorial Pipe Pomeroy and the organisers themselves.

In north Belfast, heat two of the Sons of Kai 2013 Battle of the Bands will feature Moygashel Sons of Ulster, Lambeg Orange and Blue and Pride of the Shore Flute.

Further south, Co Down has band events in Newry Orange Hall and Banbridge Orange Hall. In Banbridge Downshire Guiding Star are hosts with a programme including Castle Defenders Tandragee, Bessbrook True Blues and Armagh True Blues. The Newry event is for the South Down Defenders and among bands performing are Synotts True Blues Newtownhamilton and Rising Sons of the Valley Kilkeel.

On Saturday afternoon Ahoghill Sons of William hold a fundraising poker day in the Diamond Bar beginning at 2.30pm.

Lambeg Orange and Blue Flute host a night with a difference that evening with a ‘Stars in their eyes’ karaoke event, with individuals encouraged to come along and mimic their favourite singers from today and yesteryear. A more traditional event takes place in Limavady for the Macosquin First Flute, and will include performances from Freeman Memorial, Vow Accordion, Cullybackey Maine Defenders and Ballyquin Loyal Sons of Ulster.

If you would like to publicise fundraising, competition, cultural or indeed any events related to the large Ulster marching band fraternity, Drum Beat will endeavour to use all information supplied where possible. Drum Beat needs your contributions to continue to promote what is easily Northern Ireland largest voluntary arts grouping, and one of the most unique musical movements in the world. You can contact Drum Beat by ringing or texting 07835624221 or emailing, with all contributions, opinions and news from the country’s thriving band movement very welcome. During the winter months Drumbeat welcomes the submission of band histories, old photographs and details of band practices for inclusion.