With the main July commemoration events now well behind us, the Ulster Band scene is continuing on with its ‘2015 Band Season’.
Last Friday night the Ballyclare Protestant Boys Flute held their annual parade in their home town, with 24 participating bands despite poor weather. Visiting bands travelled from as far afield as Bessbrook in the form of the True Blues, and Limavady in the form of Star of the Roe; with highlights of the night including performances from Gertrude Star, Drumaheagles Young Defenders and Finaghy True Blues.
Further south the Moneyslane Flute was the host band in Rathfriland, where an unavoidable change from their normal date affected turnout. Despite this, however, the procession was well-supported and proved enjoyable, with Ballyrea Boyne Defenders among those providing energetic performances. On Saturday night there were several band processions, including the long-established band parade in aid of Cancer Research in Garvagh. A massed pipe band started proceedings, followed by a further 13 bands from across Counties Londonderry and Antrim. In Comber the Goldsprings True Defenders parade attracted a large crowd of spectators, each person suitably entertained by a high quality selection of bands. The melody Flute of Ballyhalbert stood out for many, while in Blood and Thunder South Belfast Young Conquerors and Flutes and Drums Donaghadee both excelled. The Red Hand Defenders Flute
Downpatrick were very strong for small numbers, while Braniel Loyal Flute were looking very smart in their new uniforms.
The weekend’s largest parade took place in Portrush for the Sons of Ulster, and despite occasional heavy showers still had a massive showing of 56 bands.
Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster headed the procession, with some of the finest bands in the entire Province closely following. Several bands were at the evening for the first time including William King Memorial and Bruces True Blues Accordion Bellaghy; while the distinctive skeleton drums of Moneymore Bible and Crown Defenders were much enjoyed by the crowds.
Several bands travelled a great distance to take part, including Moneyslane Flute Rathfriland, Sons of William Flute Auchnacloy and Downshire Guiding Star Banbridge. A single trophy was awarded to the best overall band on the night, with the Margaret Rose Brown Memorial Cup going to the Omagh Protestant Boys. If your band wishes to publicise an upcoming event you can contact
Drumbeat by text or ringing 07835624221. Drumbeat - the voice of Ulster’s Bands!