Future of Whit Friday contest under review as complaint made

A WHIT Friday Brass Band Contest organising committee admits it is reviewing whether to keep on going as it complains over this year’s event.

Those running the Scouthead and Austerlands event say they are writing to Oldham Council to voice their displeasure at what went on.

They have since withdrawn comments that sparked social media speculation about what occurred and what will happen in future.

Scouthead Whit Friday 2023. Image by Phil Howard

But secretary David Needham hinted there will be discussions over whether to keep it going at Dawson’s Field in Scouthead.

He told Saddleworth Independent: “We have since withdrawn the post and will be submitting a letter of complaint to Oldham Council.

“I withdrew the post because of all the speculation.

“We may make an announcement when the committee either confirms the end of our contest or otherwise.”

Overall Saddleworth winners Brighouse and Rastrick came out on top of this year’s Scouthead and Austerlands contest, taking the Village Rosebowl trophy.

Scouthead Whit Friday 2023. Image by Phil Howard

They were followed by WFEL Fairey, Hepworth and GUS.

But Oldham borough Councillor Luke Lancaster said the talk that followed was a concern.

He said: “I am most alarmed by these reports from the contest held at Dawson’s Field.

“The authorities, be that Greater Manchester Police or Oldham Council, ought to deal with these situations delicately, and in a spirit of understanding and respect.

“Our Whit Friday band contests are vital to Saddleworth’s community life, but they only take place because of the sterling work of volunteers, who should be supported in their efforts, not undermined.

“I have privately received positive comment from a couple of bands who participated in the Scouthead and Austerlands contest this year, and they were very complimentary about its efficient organisation.”


12 Replies to “Future of Whit Friday contest under review as complaint made”

  1. I have been very concerned about all of the village closures with the recent moor fires. What if a major moorland fire happens and fire engines can’t get through the villages because they are impassable?.
    It’s very clear that GMP and the local council cannot get the deliberate moorland fires under control.
    Definitely a review is much needed in my opinion.

    1. All events got security and of course let emergency vehicle through.

      There was an ambulance in uppermill and space was made and road cleared to let them through very quickly.

      Its a great event. One day a year of people being outside enjoying themselves. Building community spirit.
      A great way to get to know more people.

      1. Yes. Let’s review it because of nonsensical reasons.

        Whit Friday has been a tradition for 140 years and it has never been an issue.

        You people complain about the lack of community but then complain and Karen out whenever things like these occur.

    2. There is a procedure in place for emergency which is why there are police and stewards monitoring the roads.

      This is only an issue because you are creating it. There has not been a scenario where emergency services have been unable to pass, precisely down to the police and road stewards at the walk locations.

    3. Frankly you’re just making up far fetched excuses to find any reason to complain ?

      The moors have burned almost every summer for as long as I can remember, (I’m 66,) without there ever being an issue like that and the Whit Walks haven’t made a blind bit of difference; ever !

      There are also several alternative routes for the emergency services to access the moors anyway, were that ever actually necessary and even if there weren’t the parades have always been well organized and well stewarded and that’s exactly what the stewards are for.

  2. The band contest is a traditional celebration of our brass bands and is enjoyed and eagerly anticipated every year. The Scouthead and Austerland contest was, as usual, well organised and enjoyed by hundreds of people. I know because I was there. Long may it continue.

  3. There’s a lot of crapiness around at the moment with the price of everything being battered by inflation. The whit Friday walks are one of the only free and brilliant things we get in life. Long live whit Friday band night. Fun fun fun.

  4. In all 23 years I’ve lived in Scouthead, this was the Best Band Contest weve had so, Why is the Band Contest at Scouthead & Austerlands always in the firing line, non of the other villages seem to be criticised. What complaints have been made?

  5. What exactly was the problem, I have read all the post but tha reason for the complaint was not mentioned.

  6. The complaint leaves me amazed. Has the person who dreamed this “problem” up never heard of risk assessments?
    I sincerely hope the Committee gives this the short shrift it deserves. They do a fantastic job, and I am really disappointed they feel they have to consider their position.


  7. As a regular Adjudicator at these contest for over 20 years and a Saddleworth resident, I can confirm that contingency plans for emergency vehicles have always been in place and refined every year.

    The various organising (voluntary) committees continue to make safety a prime concern.

    Someone out there really needs something to complain about! This is s year was a brilliant event, the best in years. Let’s face it, we all needed cheering up!

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