Battle of the Bands 2007: Grand Final - 17/03/07

Tonight was the climax of our Battle of the Bands 2007 indoor event, over the past month band from all over the country have played in 4 Heats and the winners of their Heats all gained a place into tonight Grand Final.

Tonight the Con Club would be graced with some of Ulsterís best Blood & Thunder bands all battling out for the £1,000 prize money.

The 4 finalists included last yearís winners Drumaheagles Young Defenders, Clogher Protestant Boys, Monkstown YCV and Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster. A truly great mixture of different styles in Blood & Thunder and this would mean a fantastic night ahead for all the spectators and also a very tough night for our 5 independent judges.

The crowds flocked into the Con Club early tonight and I have to say this was the biggest crowd that I have ever seen in the Con Club and at times we struggled to control the crowd at times whom got over excited when the bands where playing at times, keeping them back from the playing bands without to forceful was a nice headache to have.

It really surprised me how some people can not abide by the rules, at the end of the day we are trying to provide everyone with a decent view of the bands and also giving the bandsmen some room to do their drumming or fluting without someone breathing down their neck, Iím pleased that 99.9% of people abide by this but the other 0.1% just blatantly ignore you!

I would like to thank personally everyone whom has supported us over the past month, hopefully we have made many friends from all over the nation and we are very much pleased with all the comments we have received from since we started this event. Thank you all and we hope that our support in any of your events shall be some kind of payback.

It was a truly great contest overall with a great venue, great bands and great people! What else would you be doing on St Patrickís night other than watching Loyalist bands on display?

First band to play in the Grand Final where our very old friends Monkstown YCV, they turned out to be the real dark horses in the contest, they where the winners of Heat 4 and that surprised a few people!

Tonight they played with a full colour party, 4 side drummers, 15 fluters and 2 bass drummers. They looked very well in their full uniform and itís not easy in the heat of the Con Club. Also being the first band out isnít ideal but they done themselves very proud with a good set of tunes and both bass drummers really doing well. Well done to Monkstown YCV and thanks to them for supporting us in our 40th anniversary.

Below are some photographs of Monkstown YCV in action.


The second band to play where Clogher Protestant Boys, they where the winners of Heat 1 of the event and they played with 6 side drummers, 13 fluters and a bass drummer. The sound coming from them was fantastic, the bass drummers timing was spot on and Iím sure the flute section responded to this as the volume was first class.

Great to see Clogher in the final and thanks to them for supporting us in our 40th anniversary.

Below are some photographs of Clogher Protestant Boys in action.


Tonight we have the pleasure of introducing a band as haft-time entertainment, the Lord Carson Accordion band wanted to rattle out all the favourite Loyalist tunes to get the crowds vocal cords into tune and by golly they did so!

The Carson are one of the oldest Accordion bands in Ulster they always have been connected with out band down through the years and what can I sat old style accordion band playing Blood & Thunder tunes on St Patrickís night.

A joy to watch and Iím sure the many visitors who seen them for this first time enjoyed them, many thanks to the Carson for playing at our event and also for supporting us in our 40th anniversary.

Below are some photographs of Lord Carson Accordion in action.


After the half-time entertainment it was the turn of the third band of the night to play, Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster where also the finalists from last year and after winning Heat 3 they where ready for another bash at it! A lot has been expected from the Keel boys as they have been doing a lot of indoors over the winter months and nothing but good reports has been made around this.

Tonight the Keel played with 6 side drummers, 17 fluters and 2 bass drummers, they entered the floor the only way the Keel do, row by row they set themselves up and they where ready to go. They played a first class routine of jiggy style Blood & Thunder with old classics and a number of tunes.

The crowds tonight where brilliant and Iím sure all bands where lifted but this and I could tell that Ballykeel enjoyed getting the crowd going. Again like the heat this was a good display from Ballykeel and great to see them back in the Con Club and of course many thanks for their support in our 40th anniversary year.

Below are some photographs of Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster in action.


The last band to play where the winners of the 2006 event; Drumaheagles Young Defenders where back again after winning Heat 2 of this years event. What can I say a great band in every department not know much down this part of the world until last year when they took the event by outstanding displays and now they where ready to defend their title!

They played with 4 side drummers, 13 fluters and one bass drummer, a real joy to listen to, tunes only that they can play and to be honest I thought they where even better than last years performance, they are a very east listening band, full of great routines and ideas and I really loved their version of Last of the Mohicans.

The Heagles had brought a big support up from Ballymoney whom I must sat certainly let themselves be known with their great verbal support for the band throughout their set.

Again as with all the bands tonight I felt the bass drummers all played very well in all the bands on show. Its great to see so many talented people in our Final tonight thanks again to Drumaheagles for supporting us in our 40 anniversary year.

Below are some photographs of Drumaheagles Young Defenders in action.


Tonight the judges had the lovely task of deciding which band was the overall winners and by god it was going to be hard to do so, after nearly an hour of tallying up point and accessing notes it was decided that the winners of the Battle of the Bands 2007 event whereÖ

BALLYKEEL LOYAL SONS OF ULSTER

They received £1,000 prize money and they overall winnerís mirror. The 3 other bands received and token cheque as a kind gesture for their support. The overall results where:

1st Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster
2nd Drumaheagles Young Defenders
3rd Clogher Protestant Boys
4th Monkstown YCV

Thanks to everyone for supporting us in the Battle of the Bands 2007 event, we have had many a great night and without your support we wouldnít be able to host an event like this.

Hopefully we have made a few new friends our aim is to make money. Yes I know this sounds awful but we have made money but all this money to going towards the bands new uniform as part of our 40th anniversary year and every pound makes a difference. A band of our size costs a lot of money and unfortunately we donít have any millionaires in our band to help us out.

To be honest making new friends is my goal as wherever we play we always see faces that we know from events we have taken part in and its great to have a wee yarn in their own home towns etc and the reception we get is first class from everyone.

Itís not long now till the season starts and we have already practicing away and getting ready for our own bands Annual Parade and Competition on Saturday 12th May 2007.

Good luck to all bands in this 2007 season and many thanks to everyone for their support of our wee indoor event.

John Keenan
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman

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