It’s been a busy week for the massive marching band community in Ulster, with the pinnacle without doubt being the Twelfth celebrations.
Venues across the whole of the Province on Monday saw close to 700 bands on parade, including dozens from Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland.
It was also used as the ideal opportunity for some bands to unveil new uniforms, with one of the most striking that of Dunamoney Flute Magherafelt. The carnival atmosphere was underlined via the appearance of many bands in fancy dress, without doubt the ‘first prize’ going to Steeple Defenders Antrim, who truly kept the theme ‘orange’, as they were dressed as Oompa Loompas!
Further from home, the Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Markethill were the sole Ulster band to make the trip to participate in the weekend Twelfth celebrations in Liverpool, before making their way to the main demonstration in Southport. Tens of thousands witnessed the band on parade, along with dozens of bands and lodges from across the length and breadth of England. Back in Northern Ireland, band processions continued as normal, with one of the most notable that which took place in Ahoghill, Co Antrim. The occasion was the remarkable 100th anniversary of the Glenhugh Flute, and as well as bands, it also featured the loyal order organisations, with whom the hosts have a close relationship. Despite atrocious weather, large numbers turned out to watch proceedings, eventually viewing an impressive total of 38 marching bands. Last Wednesday night was the unique jointly organised band procession for the Desertmartin Accordion and Cranny Pipe in Desertmartin, Co Londonderry.
In all, 17 bands participated. Ballyneal, Aughrim, Ballyronan and Lisnagrot Accordion bands were all going well, as were the flutes of Lisnamorrow, Moneymore Bible, and Crown Defenders, along with the distinctive Curran. The past week has also seen the launch of several new band recordings. East Belfast Protestant Boys and the Edgarstown Accordion Portadown CDs are available from any band member or via the usual outlets. The Twelfth was also the launch of this year’s Ulster Bands Forum and Belfast News Letter Festival of Marching Bands. More details of the Festival and a changed format will be unveiled in the coming weeks. If your band wishes to publicise an upcoming event you can contact Drumbeat by text or ringing 07835624221.
You can also keep up to date on the band scene through the Drumbeat Facebook page. Drumbeat - the voice of Ulster’s bands!