In summary - another great year and the weather was kind.
There were one or two incidents such as a holdup due to a coach collision (Greenfield?) and Uppermill being closed down earlier than expected due to a fight of some sort (drunken 'kids' with no interest in Whit Friday or brass bands whatsoever). Little changes.
The morning Whit Walks were as magnificent as ever and Uppermill, although maybe not with the crowds from previous years, was still very busy. The bands from the continent added an international flavour and were made very welcome. Over the years similar Whit Friday processions have died out in other parts of the country and we should be thankful that the village suburbs areas of Oldham and Manchester maintain their tradition and their faith. Brass banding in the UK would be very much the poorer without this whole event. Those of us not from the area must remember that without the Whit Friday ceremonies of the morning, there simply would not be a Whit Friday evening. I do recommend that if you haven't been, then next year make a whole day of it and visit Uppermill for the morning. It is a very different place as many of us see it during the evening.
Uppermill this year during the evening had a strong police presence and the various troublemakers from outwith the area managed to mar the scene again, to some extent. Police Quick Response units were kept busy. The brought in security folk did a great job and, for example, one on each corner walked the buses along the procession route making sure the crowd were kept clear. I note that the police horses were at Uppermill whereas other years I have seen them at Delph.
Delph, there was little visible police presence. Again, the security firm did a good but difficult job keeping the crowds off the road. A necessary job and I am sure that their work freed up the police for the task of keeping trouble at bay in other places. The crowds must have been down because whenever I went for a pint in the Bulls Head it was just a case of a two minute queue and taking a seat in the window to watch the bands head off from that vantage point. How often can you do that?
The Olympics brass were good fun, dressed as various sporting characters. I've certainly never before seen anyone march down the street in a pair of flippers.
Tartan Brass eeked every drop of emotion from the crowd and the 5 minute wait before they headed off wasn't wasted. A quick verse of "Flower Of Scotland" and the Proclaimers "500 Miles" let anyone in doubt know exactly where they were all from.
The continental bands I saw were from Bavaria, Sweden and Switzerland and were well received by all. I hope they return home with good memories and experiences of Saddleworth.
Down at the contest area. I thought Dronfield Band had that unenviable task of playing before Black Dyke, apparently not for the first time that evening. They played well, probably better than ever, and I am sure it was an experience they will never forget. Well done to them.
I managed a quick visit to Dobcross and would have loved to go to Greenfiekd and Freizland too, but with so many bands to watch and so much good beer to drink time was too valuable to spend travelling through the roadblocks etc.
Whit Friday 2012 - fantastic as ever. Anyone else have their thoughts to share?