Whit Friday Challenge introduced to ensure future of Saddleworth’s Whit Friday Band Contests

With rising costs, hosting The Greatest Free Show on Earth can be challenging. Each contest is made possible by its volunteers before, during, and after the event – from stewards to display board carriers. It also requires cooperation with local businesses, local authorities, and residents. It is a mammoth task, one that draws visitors from Denshaw to Friezland, and Top Mossley to Denton.

The cost of hosting Greenfield’s Whit Friday Band Contest is £9,000. Though Greenfield’s contest is one of Saddleworth’s most popular contests, its future in hosting their part of The Greatest Free Show on Earth is far from secure. In the last decade, we have seen Whit Friday Band Contests discontinued in Roundthorn, Scouthead, and Greenacres.

In Saddleworth, eleven villages host Whit Friday brass band contests. Tameside also has eleven Whit Friday brass band contests with Dukinfield’s second contest at The Albion Hotel its newest arrival. Each contest, and the Whit Walks prior to then, brings extra money into Saddleworth’s bars, chippies, and supermarkets. For more than a century, the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests have attracted visitors to Saddleworth. Even with the temporary inconvenience of packed trains, cancelled buses and busy taxis.

Without any of the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests in Saddleworth, Chew Valley Road wouldn’t be the same. Its absence would be akin to watching a Rolling Stones gig without Mick Jagger.

Hence Boarshurst Silver Band’s Whit Friday Challenge.

Hot off the heels of the Jingle Bells Challenge’s success, Boarshurst Silver Band have followed this up with the Whit Friday Challenge. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to play a popular Whit Friday contest march with any given musical instrument.

By musical instrument, you don’t have to play Mephistopheles with a tutti cornet. You could play The Waltonian on a kazoo; Ravenswood on a tiny Casio keyboard from the 1980s. Even Knight Templar in chip tune style on a Commodore 64. Or you could play Castell Coch on an Eb Bass. Anyone from solo performers to orchestras can take part.

Whether you could blow it, pluck it, or tinkle the ivories, it must be a popular Whit Friday contest march. (If you are spoilt for choice, our very own article on contest marches is worth a browse). All you need to do is video yourself performing the march and donate £5.00 – or more. Then share your performance far and wide and challenge three of your friends to do the same.

By doing that, you have played a part in ensuring the future of Saddleworth’s Whit Friday Brass Band Contests. All eleven contests have a combined prize money of £31,580 – each one funded by local communities and businesses. With Boarshurst Silver Band’s Whit Friday Challenge, this not only offers another fundraising source for the contests. It also aims to raise the profile of Whit Friday even further – ensuring that The Greatest Free Show on Earth will be enjoyed by future generations.

What to do

  1. Post a video of yourself, or a group, performing a popular Whit Friday Brass Band Contest march. New or existing videos are welcome.
  2. Share your post via the WHIT FRIDAY CHALLENGE Facebook page and other suitable sources (i.e. YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat) then challenge three of your friends to do the same.
  3. Go to the Whit Friday Challenge GoFundMe page and donate at least a fiver or more to the cause. Please share the link with the three friends you have chosen to take part in the challenge.

S.V., 04 May 2019.

3 thoughts on “Boarshurst Silver Band Introduces The Whit Friday Challenge

  1. Talking of packed trains, Stu, I always remember the Whit Friday where I bumped into you and your dad on the train between Greenfield and Mossley. That 5 minutes of fun with you was the highlight of my day!


    1. Hi Andy,

      That is going back a bit: Whit Friday 1999 – 20 years ago would you believe…

      Cannot wait for this year’s Whit Friday: it’s a very special one for me.




      1. 20 years ago, eh? Can I ask why this year’s a special one for you? BTW , train travel between Mossley and Greenfield now takes 20 minutes and involves a change in Stalybridge…


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