Drumbeat: Hundreds attend the News Letter/Ulster Bands Forum Festival of Marching Bands

Festival of Marching Bands 2015 - Ulster Hall - Belfast''Quincey Dougan, Ben Lowry (Newsletter), Diane Dodds MEP, Arlene Foster, and Gary''Picture by Philip Magowan
Festival of Marching Bands 2015 - Ulster Hall - Belfast''Quincey Dougan, Ben Lowry (Newsletter), Diane Dodds MEP, Arlene Foster, and Gary''Picture by Philip Magowan

Last Friday night the iconic Ulster Hall, nestled in the centre of Belfast, once again vibrated to the sound of Ulster’s marching bands.

Hundreds of people flocked through the doors of the hall from 6.30pm, all eager to see some of the finest marching music Northern Ireland has to offer, and none were disappointed.

At 7.30pm sharp compere Gary Wilson took to the stage and welcomed all, and soon the music began.

Ballymacarret Defenders Flute had the task of starting proceedings, and didn’t disappoint with sharp yet sweet fluting tones.

Dummigan’s Accordion impressed with the depth of their melodies, while Blackskull Orange and Blue brought the sound of blood and thunder to the stage proving volume can be produced without loss of melody.

The first half came to a close with Newry’s Commons Silver producing what can only be described as a ‘crowd pleasing’ and entertaining set.

In the second half Lisbeg Pipe, in massive number, brought the strains of the pipes to the stage, the drum major stealing the show for many.

Next came Ballylesson Old Boys, whose melody flute set was of such energy that for many it was the evening’s highlight.

The Lord Carson Accordion reminded all of the origins of our bands with orange and ‘loyal’ anthems in one of their renowned vibrant performances.

Final band on the stage was Pride of Lagan Valley, who contradicted the sometime detractors of blood and thunder by clearly illustrating both original and complex musical arrangements played with power and yet musically ‘tight’.

The evening then was brought to an end with the entrance of Rathfriland’s Ardarragh Accordion from the front doors, playing up the aisles before forming at the front of the hall and making their way through a list of crowd pleasing tunes. In all a musically diverse and truly entertaining night, and already thoughts are being cast to 2016 and what will be brought to the Ulster Hall Festival of Marching Bands.

This Saturday night the Newtownabbey Flute are hosting a band night in 1st Newtownabbey Linfield Supporters Club in Rathcoole with several bands set to play.

As indoor events now take precedence, if you have a function or concert you wish to promote please contact Drumbeat by text or ringing Drumbeat at 07835624221; or visit our facebook page and leave a message. Drumbeat- The Voice of Ulster’s Bands!