Frequently Asked Questions
Click on the questions below:
- Can I bring my bouncy castle / ice-cream van / burger van?
Catering, entertainment, etc are not organised centrally. They are handled entirely by the individual contests. The smaller contests tend to either provide their own catering or rely on local businesses who have supported them over the years. Even at the larger contests, the scope for outside catering or entertainments is very limited and they tend to have well established suppliers. Whilst I can pass on email enquiries, if you are interested in tendering for any such services, you would be best advised to identify the most appropriate contest and make direct contact with the corresponding organising committee. I have no contact details for individuals who would handle such enquiries.
- What date are the contests on next year / the year after etc?
The dates of Whit Friday for the next few years are shown here.
- How does my band register to take part in the contest?
Just turn up, sign in and follow instructions. Most contests charge a nominal entry fee - £1 or £2.
Bring photocopies of your test piece for the adjudicator. Don't annotate these with your band name.
Remember that this must be a published march (not necessarily published in the UK).
It is helpful if you bring a s.a.e. for the results.
Please ensure you sign in with your band name spelled exactly the same at each contest.
Warning: You might get hooked on the buzz.
- Which is the best place to go to see the bands?
You'll understand if I refrain from saying such-n-such a contest is the best.
A hint of bias might creep in, since I've been heavily involved in my own local contest.
But I can say:
- The results pages show the number of bands who played at each contest.
- It is only Delph and Uppermill contests where you'll see the police horses. Police horses are there because there are a lot of people.
- Friezland contest is restricted to 3rd & 4th section bands.
- Delph, Dobcross and Lydgate are conservation
- Where/when can I see my favourite band?
None of the contests have any idea which bands will turn up and when. Delph is a popular contest for bands to finish up, with the result that there are long queues to play and the contest goes on until the early hours.
- When will the results be published?
Hopefully sometime Saturday afternoon. The organisers are pretty shattered after the contests and have to help clear the sites first. It is very easy to make mistakes in assigning the prizes. So all the results have to be checked and double-checked. Does such-n-such a band fall within our catchment area for the local prize? Are so-n-so entitled to the local prize as well as the 3rd section prize? Who's Braghouse? Is Whatsit School Band the same band as Whatsit School Year 6?
Then it takes quite a while to phone around the contests and collate all the results.
- What are the start and finish times?
Start and finish times are on the prizes pages. See the Youth prizes page for contests which restrict sign-on times for youth bands.
- Why don't you finish later?
First: The adjudicator can't take a break all night.
Second: Some sites are pretty exposed and it gets very chilly late on.
- What are the contest rules?
Each contest sets its own rules. These cover the number of players (28 max), providing an un-marked copy of your music, playing a published test piece, not signing in before the band is there, etc.
- How many can play in a youth band and is there an age limit?
There are no restrictions on how many can play on the march. But for the test piece, each contest sets its own rules and these can change. Please check with the individual contests. Most contests allow upto 35; at Greenfield, only 30; at Uppermill, upto 50. There may be other variations. Most contests allow up to 4 seniors in a youth band. The age limits are 18 or 19 years. Some contests impose time restrictions for youth bands see Youth prizes page).
- Can woodwind instruments take part?
Sorry, no. It is a brass band contest. Percussion is OK on the march but not when playing the test piece.
- Is there disabled access?
To my knowledge, all the contests have disabled access. Please see the information on the Disabled Access page and the separate pages for each individual venue. The contests are all open-air. The march usually takes place in the street. The test piece is played in a field or possibly a car park. Car parking is the problem. The only advice I can give is to get there before the start if you need a disabled parking spot.
- Where can I stay?
This page lists accomodation.
Warning: Book early. Rooms for the Whit Friday weekend get booked up well in advance.
The local tourist information office in Uppermill may be able to help: (+44) 14570 870366
- Where can I find rooms for an entire band?
There are no large hotels in the immediate area. If you are looking for 30 bedrooms I suggest you consider somewhere about an hour's drive away such as Southport or Buxton.
- I'd love to play. Is there a local band who needs a trombonist?
You'll appreciate I don't have contacts with all the local bands. You will have to approach the bands directly.
- Can I get there by bus / train?
See the travel page
Bus: There are buses to Uppermill from Manchester and Oldham. They pass Greenacres, Lees, Lydgate and Greenfield.
Train: Greenfield station is OK for the Greenfield, Friezland and Uppermill contests.
You can even get thare by canal boat.
- Do you have any information on the Tameside contests?
I'm afraid I only cover the Oldham & Saddleworth contests on the web-site. Tameside MBC provide some information .
- Are there any similar contests anywhere else?
To my knowledge, no. It's unique. 4BarsRest have information on brass band competitions, festivals etc.