Whit Friday
Oldham & Saddleworth
Date of next contest 25th May 2018



Brass band graphic




Whit Friday Milestones

Greenfield Contest is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. And Scouthead & Austerlands are celebrating their 40th.

BBC Music Day Brass Band Award

The BBC are holding their third annual BBC Music Day in June. In celebration of this, they will be giving away a special BBC Music Day brass band award on Whit Friday in partnership with BBC Radio 2. They would like to invite all those taking part to enter.

BBC Music Day is back bigger than ever and this year we’re celebrating the POWER of music!

To help us celebrate we’re presenting a BBC Music Day award as part of the Whit Friday Contest on Friday 9th June to the brass band who best illustrates our theme of ‘the power of music’. This could be a story about how music has changed your lives as a band, it could be a story about how your music has had a positive impact on your community, or it could anything that links to our power of music theme.

Although BBC Music Day will fall on Thursday 15th June, the band chosen will be given the award at the Whit Friday Contest on the 9th June by Radio 2’s ‘Listen to the Band’ presenter, Frank Renton. As part of the award, ‘Listen to the Band’ will interview and pre-record a performance of the winning band which will be broadcast on Tuesday 13th June on Radio 2, leading up to BBC Music Day.

To be eligible to enter you must:

To apply for this award please click on this link or visit the BBC Music Day page and click on The Power of Music: brass band competition.

Paul Ashworth Trophy

Paul Ashworth at Lees contest

Scouthead & Austerlands contest is introducing a new trophy this year. The Paul Ashworth Memorial Trophy will be awarded to the champions of the fourth section, in tribute to their late chairman who died just a week before Whit Friday last year.

Paul was their Contest Chairman and a popular member of the Oldham & Saddleworth Area Committee. He had been a mainstay of the contest for many years. He completed 33 years on the Scouthead & Austerlands committee and became its chairman in 1998.

2017 - New Mayor of Austerlands

Scouthead & Austerlands will be celebrating its 40th brass band contest this year and to mark the occasion "Golden Girl" Anita Aspinall, in her capacity as the new Mayor of Austerlands, has been asked to lead up the first band on Whit-Friday.

The band contest committee specifically wanted a lady mayor this year, as the first band to play at their 1978 inaugural contest was Kingsway High School from Rochdale and they had a woman Musical Director.

The decade's old mayoral tradition will continue with Springhead resident Anita's appointment at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, 23rd May, at Saddleworth's oldest hostelry - the Old Original Inn. With the silver clog-iron as her chain of office she will become the civic head of Oldham's smallest municipality. The installation will take place at around 9.00pm when the retiring mayor Mike Platt will pass on the ceremonial chain after he has presented cheques to a number of charities.

Ex-mayor Roger Fielding - complete with red tailcoat and white bow tie - will conduct the formal proceedings which will be attended by previous Austerlands mayors, wearing miniature clog-irons presented to them on their retirement.

One of a trio of retired band contest workers, Anita becomes the 18th mayor since the tradition was reintroduced in 1998, following the discovery of the clog-iron at the former Red Lion pub on Huddersfield Road. The Mayor of Austerlands origin dates back to the late 1940s with the clog-iron being introduced in the late 1970s.

The investiture traditionally takes place shortly before the annual Whit-Friday brass band contest and Anita is only the third woman to hold the Mayor of Austerlands title. As part of the proceedings she will also receive a Yorkshire emblem scarf from Michael Hall of the Saddleworth White Rose Society.

National Press Coverage for Saddleworth Whit Friday

See this excellent article - Whit Friday Brass Band Contest: a spectacle to treasure - in the Daily Telegraph. Don't omit to page through the photos.