Whit Friday - merits of each venue for spectators

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DRW, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Apologies if there is already a thread on this. I searched, but nothing jumped out at me.

    I've been to the Whit Friday marches as a spectator for the last few years visiting Delph, Uppermill and Greenfield so far. Each has its merits and downsides. My perception so far...

    Pros - good accoustics down a built-up street and in the contest area. Enough refreshment caterers (but not a huge choice). Lots of bands including the 'big boys'.
    Cons - limited viewing space for the contest area

    Pros - plenty of space to view the march and contest area, lots of refreshment choice, usually lots of bands including the 'big boys'
    Cons - attracts unsocial behaviour (not particularly family friendly if you have young children)

    Pros - good accoustics on the march, plenty of spectator space at the contest area, enough refreshment caterers (but not a huge choice), family friendly
    Cons - uphill march arguably doesn't give you the bands' best performance.

    I'd like to try a different venue this year and I'm interested in people's suggestions. My main requirements are: -
    • a family friendly place where it's easy to find space to place a camping chair for both the march and contest
    • plenty of bands including the 'big boys'

    Any thoughts / suggestions?
  2. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    I Love Delph. I am there for the bands; and Delph get more bands than anywhere else.

    Also viewing is good if you get there early enough ;)

    It is a great Day.

    I go to uppermill for the marches in the morning. Find some lunch then Delph for 16:30.

    However my dad used to go to Heyrod at Tameside.
  3. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    I allways loved Dobcross, Ok its on a hill (a steep one) but the village green surrounded by all those stone houses is a beautifull venue with not too bad accoustics.
  4. euphman1

    euphman1 New Member

    forget Heyrod, it's the pits of a place, a short and pointless march (you will not get to the "Fine" first time round of most marches) and all you get is a coating of dust from the playing arena
  5. backrow

    backrow New Member

    Greenfield -Uphill, I don't think the slight slope on Chew Valley Rd counts as uphill!
  6. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    I dont go there myself, think My dad went (around 18/19 years since he died) because its Not very busy/popular (which would kinda tie in with your points) and he liked the mini meat pies they sold (knowing my Dad this might have been the main reason!).
  7. tat

    tat Member

    I've only managed to go and listen on the one occasion that I didn't play. I went to scouthead and thought it was a brilliant venue, mind you it was a nice evening with the sun out, might think otherwise if the weather was bad
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    It may not "count" as uphill, but it can certainly "feel" like it ... especially carrying a bass drum!
  9. classicbrass

    classicbrass Member

    If you want an uphill march try the Greenacres contest - not very long but enough to test the skill ( and the lungs) of both old and young .

    Held on the Dog & Partridge pub car park on Constantine street.

    It gets a fair proportion of the top level bands but is prone to lulls in the action between 6 & 7 ish.

    Not much parking though, this is more one for the locals especially if the weather's warm & sunny (fingers crossed for this year)
  10. classicbrass

    classicbrass Member

    A local conductor has a farm in Scouthead - his father used to say 'Scouthead - six months winter, six months bad weather' ( Acknowledgements to you, John)
  11. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Don't write off all of the smaller venues, or Tameside - a lot of them do still get the 'big boys' and as spectators the less busy venues can be a lot more enjoyable. Scouthead is lovely if the weather's good, Carrbrook and Broadoak both have a good atmosphere, decent pubs and a few food wagons, and all 3 have space to sit and relax.
    My personal favourite is Delph though.
  12. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Scouthead - avoid if the weather's iffy. The sun can be cracking the flags in the valley and it's still bleak up there. That said, plenty of stalls and things other than the bands.

    Lees - good fish and chips and a good place to listen, but getting parked can be awkward.

    Denshaw - Easy to get to (Straight off the motorway) and you can normally get parked up the hill somewhere. often experiences 'dead' periods mid-evening though as bands tend to either start off there, pass through on their way out or do a 'Denshaw shimmy' if delph is queueing.

    Delph - Always gets the most bands through and attracts the big names, but by crikey it gets crowded late on! You often can't get near enough to have a proper listen, the bands at the end of the night can barely get down the street - and expect to park over a mile away if you arrive beyond about 5pm. That said, there is a kind of indefineable 'je ne sais quoi' about Delph on whit friday even when you're packed in like sardines....

    Dobcross - alright, steep hill but a really charming venue. Lovely to play in, lovely to listen at.

    Grotton - really nice pork pies..... :biggrin:

    Uppermill - Unfortunately fills up with drunken chavs with no interest in the bands themselves very rapidly, and has on occasion been closed by the police due to medium-scale violent disturbances. A decent length road march, and a reasonable place to play - but there has been so much drink-fuelled trouble there in recent years, in all conscience I can't recommend it.
  13. whitewitch

    whitewitch Member

    This is an interesting thread. Thanks for bringing it up.

    As secretary of Uppermill Band I can agree on a lot of these points. We play Uppermill earlyish as we don't like to be out too late and the larger venues have the longest waits as the night goes on. It is a very long day for us. After playing in the Walks of Witness in the morning, 8.30am-1pm we then have a couple of hours rest and before heading out on the bus in the early afternoon. I can assure you though, the trouble makers that have been at the Uppermill Contest previous are not locals and are not band followers.

    That said, the later it gets, quite a few contests get uncomfortable. We played Lees last year after 10 and it was not very nice at all.
  14. Stracathro

    Stracathro Member

    I and my family are looking forward to our annual pilgrimage to Dobcross again in June. A wonderful and charming venue which usually does pretty well for big bands. A very knowledgable crowd too so always someone to have a chat with but quiet enough during playing. I have enjoyed Delph when I've been over but found it comparitively loud and not such a nice place to spectate. Also had a walk down to Diggle last year which was another very nice venue, plenty of space for a family picnic there.

    If you're concerned about the number/quality of bands at particular venues, best thing I can suggest is to have a look back through the Whit Friday Saddleworth website's archives. If you click on the 'Results' tab you can search the 'Band Ranking Archive' and see where 'big boys' have been in previous years so that helps build a picture. Also, whilst Youtube has it's faults, it could be helpful to reccy the venues on there to get a sense of location/atmosphere.

  15. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    I love Delph and Dobcross but as I rapidly approach middle age and become more discerning I have changed my strategy, which is usually something like:

    Greenfield to see a few of the more entertaining marching bands such as Cheshire Constabulary or any of the European bands. Listen to the contest for some of the big names and maybe walk round teh fair or watch a bit of cricket at the same time (it was wonderful a couple of years ago in the sun down there).

    Then a short walk to settle in at Friezland. It is restricted to 3rd and 4th Section bands but you can take in both the march and the contest from the one vantage point (usually a seat too). A few of the bands take advantage of the short road to do a bit of counter marching etc (eg Wardle school band). Always good food and good beer. A decent crowd without being 'crowded', no chavs, good family/banding atmosphere. Don't tell anyone though, 'cos its a secret.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I see that the Whit Friday March contest rules have been changed to attract more punters ... ;)

  17. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    Nice video!

    This is my favourite Whit Friday youtube. Not the best of video quality but the atmosphere is captured nicely. I like the dancing police horse on the left!

    Compare this to the more sedate but just as wonderful morning processions!

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