Tonight the band travelled to one of the biggest band parades in the country, I understand that this year 99 bands took part so itís a hell of a turnout for a parade.
Our own band took the decision to travel late to this parade as with the large number of bands attending there is a lot of queuing up at the start and it turns into a big problem but to resolve this we came late to get a quicker start and at 9:45PM we where the 97th band to take part in the parade route.
The main route of the parade was jam packed in places with 6 and 7 rows of spectators deep and at times the crowds seemed to stop the bands so they could invite them to play, really good night for the Protestant marching culture.
Of course there was a few of the Blue Bag Brigade and their associated idiot friends but this is something that we all have to cope with and its not easy for any band running a parade but Iím not going to let things like that spoil a good night for everyone attending and Iím pleased to say the marshals done a fantastic job.
As we arrived late I can only make comment on the few bands that we managed to see as we passed them in the street that the bands turn back on themselves. On this short route I seen Kinallen who where looking well in their new uniform, the best band was the South Down DUP whom where playing and looking very well.
Sons of Ulster from the Shankill Road also where playing well and at the end of our route Pride of Knockmore from Lisburn whom where out in force with a massive band, they are a good outfit whom donít get the rewards that they deserve.
The last competing band of the night was the Dervock Young Defenders who travelled from a parade in Limavady to attend this parade, this is a 2-hour drive for them and I must take my hat off to the lads for making this great gesture. I was really impressed with their young lead tip whom was playing to a very high standard in front of the thousands of spectators.
I will let the other websites, forums etc comment on the other bands in the parade as I did not see too many myself and it would not be fair to make any kind of judgement.
Our own band on the night walked with 18 side drummers, 29 fluters, 2 bass drummers, colour party of 6, 5 cymbal boys, 2 marshals and a drum major. Tonight we all played out of this world, it was the best performance of the season.
The band captain called a couple of our new tunes on the back road going out this settled us down as we where up for this parade and we have been attending this parade for many years now but this performance on the night must rate by our own standards as one of the best ever.
The whole band from top to bottom played and marched our hearts out, the big crowds and the atmosphere on the night was awesome.
We stopped up the main street and played Gunrunners which is a tune that never fails to impress the crowds whom where cheering louder than we could play at points it was a great sight to hear Iím sure anyone doing this parade for the first time will always remember this as a highlight of the night, if not the best moment of the marching season.
Below are a selection of photographs and video clips of the band in action.
The band where presented with the following awards during last nights parade competition results:
1st Blood and Thunder Band
1st Blood and Thunder Bass Drum
1st Blood and Thunder Marching & Discipline
1st Blood and Thunder Style and Appearance
1st Blood and Thunder Junior Drum Major
2nd Blood and Thunder Drum Corps
1st Best Overall Band
The band done very well when the judges called out all the prizes etc, winning first prizes for Blood & Thunder band and Overall band is some going to achieve this out of a total of 99 bands.
Yes we where pleased not just by winning prizes but by the feel good factor of the whole night.
It really was a good night for us, all the participating bands and spectators and indeed the Kilcluney Volunteers band on running a brilliant parade on a brilliant sunny night.
Good luck for the rest of the marching season.
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman
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