The future of whit Friday

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Neillyboy, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Neillyboy

    Neillyboy Member

    So after some thought and deliberation on the subject, we all know that this popular contest is bunder threat with the cut in funding from Tameside council and policing restrictions. However it's always good to discuss these kind of things and see what solutions come up.

    I personally think the marches are top class and great fun. The last few years I have played with tartan brass and the whole weekend is based around the saddle worth march on a Friday.

    However this year there were a few things that stood out for me to make it a tad frustrating. The queue at upper mill for the busses getting through wasn't great as they allowed two through at a time. Not ideal. Do cross had a rather large queue for bands leaving off from the top of the hill but the carnival atmosphere was outstanding. However my main bugbear was at greenfield where we were informed that our runner couldn't book us in to play because our bus hadn't arrived in the queue by 10 pm. For the record we arrived ther at 4 minutes past 10.

    Uppermill closed earlier due to yobbish behaviour and there was a lot of policing trouble.

    So I've come up with a few thoughts regarding the marches.

    If the contests are closing earlier due to policing and stewarding problems, bring the start time to 2pm and close at 10 pm, therefore bands are not losing out the extra time that was there the last few years. If policing is an issue, then have the police train the stewards and if there is drinking issues like uppermill etc put a designated area for families to actually enjoy the marches without the yobs, or better put a drinking ban on streets and leave them to drink and watch from outside the pubs.

    It would be a shame to see these marches get the life squeezed out them till they are forced to give up.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    The problem with an earlier start time is that the majority of competing bands are local-ish - NW and Yorkshire - and they generally have to wait for players to finish work and get to the meeting point, especially bands with a few teachers in the ranks.

    I'm speculating a bit but I think the iron control of bus traffic is in an attempt to avoid the RTA tragedy of a couple of years ago.
  3. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Whilst that may have been the thinking behind it (seemed to be rigidly enforced as 2 coaches at a time, including service buses) - 4 coaches wouldn't have been any more dangerous.

    Had we known that was being enforced we would have planned a route around it or missing Uppermill altogether. There was lots of traffic information provide on the Whit Friday site but no mention of this restriction.
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    It did however say

    "High Street Uppermill will be closed to traffic other than band buses and public transport buses. There will be no taxis"
  5. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    We noticed the Uppermil bottle neck and altered our route on the night, we had a smooth run around, and would have probably managed another contest or two with a bus that had turned up on time, and if our driver hadn't spent 7 mins trying to find reverse!

    I don't see the problem with starting earlier.. . . even if it's 3pm not 2pm. . Most players (that can) take at least an afternoon off work for the occasion so start time wouldn't be an issue I believe. Maybe encourage youth bands to compete earlier on the evening. . .
  6. John_D

    John_D Member

    Did it? We arrived at 10:30, probably 10:45 by the time we had registered and we finished on the stand at around 11;10.
  7. Oodle Bugler

    Oodle Bugler Member

    No offence Neillyboy but you should join one of the contest committees and put it to them directly. If you fancy a 2pm start then join one of the committees and talk to the local council and police on their behalf and tell them that you need road closures (and the village effectively shutting off) from mid-morning so you can get all the traffic controls in place for a 2pm start. I wish you good luck with that!

    The problem with Whit Friday is that its an excuse to go out, get drunk and have a fight. We played at Uppermill probably about midway through the evening. There must have been about 200 people in the park. There were about 30 or so stood round the stand listening to us play and about 170 with their backs turned to us, loafing in the park ignoring the music, shouting, balling and letting fireworks off.

    A lot of the people that want to come to the villages, listen to and enjoy brass bands, don't bother now because they have become no-go zones thanks to the thugs and idiots.

    We have to think ourselves lucky that the contest committees still get these events on at all any more.
  8. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    You cant Tar all of the contests with the same brush because of what goes on at Uppermill. Delph for example is very well attended, and there is hardy any trouble at all. Its all quite good natured and very busy around the ring with people listening and enjoying.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Have a look at where he is based. Not really a practical suggestion, is it?
  10. Oodle Bugler

    Oodle Bugler Member

    I don't know, we have mobile phones, e-mail, all sorts of stuff now. If you have genuine ideas about "improving" Whit Friday then get involved. Contact one (or several) of the contest committees and get involved. I'm sure they wouldn't need you to travel to an actual meeting if you were prepared to take something on and try and sort it out. I'm sure they have e-mail, phone numbers and such like for council, police, etc.

    Where you live isn't an issue any more. I could live in New Zealand and post on a forum about what Whit Friday committees should do to make it a better event for those taking part. What good does that do?! If I said to them "I live in New Zealand but I have some good ideas for you, who should I contact" then that is a good start.

    It sums up brass banding that we turn up to contests and say this isn't right, this is wrong, they should do this, they shouldn't do that. Then, when it comes to getting involved to actually try and change it....
  11. Oodle Bugler

    Oodle Bugler Member

    What do you mean by "hardly any trouble at all"? I've encountered problems at many contests over the years, including Delph. You can guarantee now that wherever you finish for a well-deserved pint (we finished at Denshaw this year, hardly a renowned hotbed of trouble) you'll find that the Police have closed the pubs. They must be doing that for a reason.

    The truth is many people who came to listen to a night of brass bands don't any more because of what goes on.

    And bands haven't helped. There is (or was) a classic video on YouTube of a band from one of our foremost musical colleges that dressed up as cavemen or something and treated it as night on the lash. The video was taken at Lydgate, their performance was so bad, with staggering around changing positions on the contest stage, that the adjudicator came out of the box and told them to go away! Yes, the adjudicator came out of the box and told them to go away! That is unbelievable, but sadly true!

    Then we do a concert in our local church and wonder why 12 people turn up....
  12. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Yes it was true, I was there (not dressed up but with another band).

    It was FUN, everyone (that I saw/heard) watching loved it.

    Maybe bands need to look for a new audience, and to do that maybe we should change what we play and how we play it?
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    That's a more practical suggestion for him than joining one of the committees. So, go on then, who should he get in touch with? If I recall correctly (not sure from exactly where though, so I may be wrong), you're from the area, so you're likely to have a better idea than most whose ears are worth putting words into.
  14. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Can only speak as I find.

    Ive been at Delph every year since goodness knows when.

    There was a time when there was trouble but that has been sorted years ago.

    There was no trouble this year as far as I know; neither the preceding few years (or if there was it didnt affect the contest ring in any way shape or form).

    As far as closing the pubs - Delph Club open quite late but does shut - but not at the instructions of the police.

    And your point about the University band was discussed at length last year. I am in the 'Entertainment' camp. If you want to know why thousands of people turn up to this event; rather than the 12 at your concert? ask yourselves which provides a better evening out for the masses?
  15. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member


    Saddleworth: click on venues and each one has committee contact details.
  16. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    and with reference to the OP,
    I honestly don't think changing the start and finish times will make any difference, except perhaps making it harder for players and bands from out of the area to get there at the beginning (I know we'd struggle). The problems with drunks & yobs are widely acknowledged to be caused by people coming into villages for the evening, and I suspect most of them don't know the start and finish times anyway so I can't see how it would affect their behaviour.

    Your other suggestions are great, but they all seem to involve extra work for the Police either before or on the night and the contests are already suffering the effects of cuts in Police Force budgets and staffing levels..... not sure what the answer is to that one!
  17. Oodle Bugler

    Oodle Bugler Member

    You miss my point, you can "join" a committee without having to physically attend meetings. How many brass band committees have a full house at every meeting? In my experience much of the business is done through phone calls and e-mails. It doesn't matter if the people you need to speak to live two miles from the bandroom or live in Outer Mongolia. The fact is, they are involved.

    And "So, go on then, who should he get in touch with?" I don't have contact details for all contests but if you PM me I will do my best to find out and get back to you.
  18. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    or folks could just use these links.... ;-)
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry Oodle Bugler, I tend to get a little fed up of people responding to debates with "Go and tell that to somebody who can do something" (such sentiments tend to come across as shutting down the debate, whether or not they were intended that way), and I let that show, a little unfairly. There's not much point sending me the contacts - but maybe PMing some to Neil could be a useful thing to do?
  20. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I don't think those comments are ever intended to shut down debates, I usually see them as attempts to point people in the right direction so their strong views and often good ideas about how to change things actually get heard by the right people.
    Debate is all well and good, but sadly on here its also often pretty pointless. Surely contacting the relevant organisers/committees is going to be more productive than just posting here?