Arts and Culture

WATCH: Oldham welcomes return of Whit Friday Brass Band Contests

The Whit Friday band contests returned to Saddleworth on June 10 for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dubbed the “greatest free show on Earth” by locals, the event sees brass bands from all over the UK and abroad compete in a series of contests held in the villages of Saddleworth and Oldham. 

Now in its 137th year, the Whit Friday band contests have only been cancelled once prior to the pandemic, during the Second World War. 

This year, 106 bands took part in contests in 11 villages, including Uppermill, Delph, Denshaw, Diggle, Dobcross, Friezland, Greenfield, Grotton, Lees and Springhead, Lydgate, Scouthead and Austerlands.

Mancunian Matters went to the contest in Delph, the largest contest and location of the 1996 film Brassed Off, to find out more about what the event’s return means to the community.

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