On Friday night 30 bands made their way through the streets of Omagh to support the annual procession of the Omagh True Blues Flute.
The hosts have been working hard over the past 12 months to push themselves on musically, and beyond their own performances they were rewarded on the evening with an incredibly high standard of bands on display.
The melody section was approaching the highest quality possible and included William King Memorial, Mourne Young Defenders, Cookstown Sons of William and Omagh Protestant Boys.
In blood and thunder local band Blair Memorial were out in large numbers, while Portadown Defenders, Gortagilly Coronation and Loyal Sons of Ulster Ballyquin were among the stand outs.
In the accordion category Ballinamallard were exemplary. On Saturday afternoon the Lisburn Young Defenders held their 16th Annual Melody Contest in Lisburn Orange Hall, with one of the best line-ups ever appearing.
Ballycoan, Pride of Ballinran, Shankill Road Defenders, Sir George White Memorial, Pride of the Raven, Ballylesson Old Boys, Ballyhalbert, Brookeborough and Omagh Protestant Boys each provided some top class melody flute.
Competition winners on the day included Ballyhalbert for sacred/hymn piece and percussion categories; Shankill Road Defenders for traditional piece; Pride of Ballinran in the entertainment section and again with best overall band. Tonight Poyntzpass Silver hold their annual concert in Poyntzpass Royal British Legion, with admission £5 starting at 8pm; while tomorrow night the 2015 Sons of Kai Flute Battle of the Bands competition reaches a finale in the Nortel Social Club.
The four bands in the final are Steeple Defenders, Pride of the Bann, Freeman Memorial and Pride of the Hill Carnmoney.
This Saturday morning the Burntollet Sons of Ulster will be dedicating their new uniform, with a short parade beginning at Claudy Orange Hall at 10.30am, followed by a parade in Londonderry from Bond Street to the Memorial Hall.
From 2pm the Larne No. 1 Club will host a cultural day for Cairncastle Flute, with 8 bands scheduled to play through to 8pm. That night City of Belfast Fifes and Drums have a hypnotist evening in the Crues Club Shore Road.
If you would like to publicise fundraising, competition, cultural or indeed any events related to the large Ulster marching band fraternity; you can contact Drum Beat by ringing/ texting 07835624221 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, with all contributions, opinions and news from the country’s thriving band movement very welcome.