Delph Whit Friday Band Contest

About Delph Contest

Delph contest started in 1946 and so is relatively old and traditional. It was established by a few local, worthies, councillors, business owners and servicemen who had served their country in World War 11. They were full of enthusiasm and got off to a good start with solid backing. Volunteers have worked hard over the years to emulate this enthusiasm and kept the contest as traditional as possible – difficult in these changing times.  The logistics are good and bands are able to hop off their coach, book in and if lucky line up right away ready to march the short stretch of the village. Those who love the atmosphere of the street and the often zany street marches line King Street, the serious listener usually makes for Gartside Street, directly off King Street, finds a seat and settles themselves for an evening of serious listening.



A Contest to Remember

As organisers we are proud to say that in addition to that popular movie ‘Brassed Off’ filmed in 1995, which really set the trend for bands coming to Delph, the contest has on several occasions been a live feature on BBC North West News, a main feature on the One Show, on several occasions on BBC Radio 2 including the ever popular Listen to the Band and latterly, along with other contests in Saddleworth a main feature of the documentary Battle of the Brass Band, in which Delph was described as the ‘Iconic Contest’.

Since the filming of “Brassed Off” at Delph in 1995, the contest seems to have become increasingly popular and queues of coaches get longer every year. A system is now in operation whereby one band waits at the end of Gartside Street where the contest ring is situated while a band is playing in the ring. This way almost twice as many bands can be turned round in the time is used to take for one. 

Obviously in the ideal conditions often enjoyed mid-evening, where one coach at a time is arriving, we revert to the old method of one band at a time and one lining up. Players and conductors were consulted before this system was adopted and it was on their recommendation that it went ahead. We can assure bands that we are doing everything possible to cut down their waiting time, which we know is extremely valuable to get in the required number of contests.



Our start off point – the Millgate Centre, housing Delph Library and Saddleworth Theatre. A historic building that once housed several Co-operative stores, which were the mainstay of the village.

Delph Whit Friday Magazine

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Pictures from 2023 – events for the day – articles