Drumbeat: Rainy weather fails to deter bands

Blair Memorial on parade in Newtownstewart
Blair Memorial on parade in Newtownstewart

Despite some truly abysmal weather at the weekend, bands across the Province still came out in number to support traditional processions

Friday, May 1 proved an immensely successful night for North Tyrone flute band the Newtownstewart Red Hand Defenders.

In all 35 bands participated in their traditional band procession, a very appropriate number given that 2015 is the band’s 35th anniversary on the road.

The parade began with the diverse musical combination of Ballinamallard Accordion, Sinclair Memorial Pipe and Brackey Flute, followed by a steady stream of bands from across Ulster.

Unsurprisingly the bulk came from Tyrone, with highlights including Pride of the Village Beragh, Tamlaghtmore Tigers and a massed band of present and past members of Blair Memorial Flute Omagh bedecked in a uniform harking back to their formation some 40 years ago.

Also on Friday night the Ballycraigy Sons of Ulster annual event saw 18 bands process through Antrim town, with Derryloran Boyne Defenders and Pride of the Maine Ballymena catching the eye.

Saturday evening brought with it some abysmal weather, but despite the conditions venues right across the Province hosted band processions, showing the dedication and support levels for the movement.

In Kilrea 19 bands battled the elements for the Lisnagrot Accordion, including local pipe bands Grove and Kilrea joined by the accordions of Vow from Co Antrim and Eden from Co Londonderry.

In Co Armagh Craigavon Protestant Boys Flute held their 45 year anniversary dinner on Friday night, with their long established parade and competition on the Saturday night. Donaghadee Flutes and Drums were regarded as one of the best on show.

In North Down the Newtownards Protestant Boys were also up against harsh weather, but 30 bands ignored the driving rain to support the hosts. Ballymacarret Defenders were welcome additions in the melody flute category, while Gortagilly Coronation travelled all the way from Moneymore.

On the north east coast, Larne saw 20 bands on the march for the Cairncastle Flute, with stand-out performances coming from Dunloy Accordion, Dunamoney and Ulster Grenadiers Carrickfergus.

A Cookstown Orange Lodge is currently seeking to engage a band to accompany them at this year’s Twelth of July procession in Benburb.

For further details including terms please contact Maurice on 028 86 764 132.

If your band wishes to publicise an upcoming event, or indeed would like to share details of any upcoming plans, you can contact Drumbeat by text or ringing 07835624221; or visit our facebook page and leave a message.