to the Whit Friday Band Contests

Saddleworth Whit Friday Brass Band Contests are pretty bewildering to the uninitiated! We have put together some information on this site to help you make the most of your visit.

We are thrilled to finally be working on the planning for the 10th June 2022. Are you? Have a look around our site and remind yourself about this fantastic day- it has been a long time!

As you will realise, some of the Whit Friday Band Contests are finding getting organised is taking a little longer after two years. We will keep this site up to date as soon as information is available, so please keep checking back here.

Youth Band Rules

You won’t be surprised to learn that for various historical and physical reasons ( some spaces are restricted) the rules around Youth Band numbers and the number of adults allowed to play with them, vary from contest to contest. Rules have been highlighted on some of the contest pages, or are included in the Rules that are supplied in pdf form. If you have any queries please use our Contacts page. Bands can still play if they are eligible and may be eligible as an unregistered band or can play for the experience and receive adjudication. Please speak to Registration at each contest for clarification.


We have worked with Brass Bands England and the Oldham Council Safeguarding team to find a solution to manage these regulations within the Whit Friday Band Contest setting. We are required to return two pieces of information to Oldham Council at the end of the Contests – the number of under 16 players with each band, and the number of adults who are accompanying them. This information is included in our TELL US YOU ARE COMING FORM , and will help us to manage this data, without having to collect anything on the night.

 Please TELL US YOU ARE COMING  We would like you to give us basic details about your band, so that each contest can use the information.  You don’t have to say where you are going, just that you are heading for the hills!

Talking of hills – have a look here at our map of the area.

Saddleworth and Oldham group of Whit Friday Band Contests receive

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The group of volunteers based in the Saddleworth and Lees Villages have been
honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is the equivalent of an MBE.

Each year, approximately 300 volunteers are involved in presenting the Whit Friday Band Contests at eleven venues in Denshaw, Delph, Dobcross, Diggle, Uppermill, Greenfield, Friezland, Lydgate,Grotton, Lees and Springhead and Scouthead and Austerlands; there are innumerable hours of commitment needed to provide this spectacular, unique event.

This year the group is one of 241 different category winners to receive the prestigious award. The QAVS aims to recognise work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, award recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Representatives of the group will receive the award crystal and certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Sir Warren Smith, later this summer.

Spokesman Bob Rodgers, the co-ordinator for the group said “Although contests have been in existence for 137 years this group has functioned since 1993 and we are honoured and obviously delighted to have been successfully nominated for this award, the work that is undertaken to provide the ‘greatest free show on earth’ is a twelve-month rolling programme. To the visitors who arrive on the evening, it appears to ‘just happen’. Throughout the area thousands of hours are put into planning and preparation. We are indebted to Oldham Council for the infrastructure and advice they provide that only those involved in the running are aware of and the financial support through the Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership, not to mention the numerous businesses who sponsor the individual contests.

Bob went on to say “The group were told they were being nominated for the award in the Autumn of 2019. It is ironic that since then we have been unable to function for the last two years through restrictions imposed by Covid. However, we are all looking forward to continuing with this great show in 2022, when hopefully all our banding activity will be back to normal.”

Saddleworth Whit Friday Brass Band Contests are supported by Oldham Council


Pre-registering will make sure your band is eligible for speedy sign in across more contests than ever. You can spend more of your #whitfriday *playing music* rather than filling in forms

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