The week leading up to the 12th July was not a good one weather wise, but on the 12th Saturday it was forecasted to be good and this proved to be the case. The weather brought the crowds out in very large numbers and this alone helped make the day that little bit better!
The band met at our band hall at 8am and it wasnít long before I seen the first band of the day parading; the Black Skull making its way down the Hollywood Road to their bus bound for the Ballyclare parade.
The Skull where decked out in a new uniform, back to their Scot Guards uniform which I must say suits then to a T, and as you can guess they where playing in top form and great band to watch them marking and hearing their crisp and delightful music.
We headed off to pick our lodge up in Templemore Avenue to join the main parade in Belfast City centre. Some great bands on show today parade always swelled by the large number of Scottish bands in the parade, I caught sight of the Pride of Govan whom where fitted out in kilts! What a sight to see and Iím sure the crowds loved it and especially the ladies seeing all those legs!
Brighton Loyalists playing first class as where Harthill flute band decked out in white shirts and trousers, also seen the KAI and Shankill Star where going great guns as where most bands on parade. Queen Elizabeth Accordion is a real cracking outfit and I could listen to their music all day.
Some first class bands on show and the weather really des lift the spirits on the 12th for both the spectators and participants in the big parade!
One thing I did notice today was the PSNI stopping people and taking alcoholic drinks off them, I for one am in favour off this action and for far too long has our parades being plagued by people not on parade running the whole day by being drunk, this is a start and I hope that the message starts to sink in and would welcome this action at any parade across the country.
Some of the other bands I seen today where the South Belfast Young Conquerors, Upper Falls Protestant Boys, Sandy Row Ulster First Flute and another great Scottish band Townhead Young Defenders whom where all really playing well and all enjoying the big day with the spectators.
By this time the parade was well under way and what a sight to see our people enjoying the day, the parade usually takes 2 hours to pass from any given point on the route and we reached the field at around 1:30pm to make our way back to the Conn Club in East Belfast for a bite to eat and a drink or two before the return route started.
Below are some photographs of the band performing on the route to the field.
Our own District 6 was second from last coming back and I was again able to see a lot of bands; whom some where dressed up for the parade back I found this strange as I was told that the entire parade was under strict orders not to dress up as sometimes it has been done in bad taste and thus has been portrayed badly by the media and used as a tool against our band, lodges and our culture!
Personally I donít like this dressing up of bands but some bands do it and others donít!
Our own band today walked with 19 side drummers, 34 flute corps, 3 bass drummers, 2 cymbal boys, 2 side marshals and a colour party of 7. So indeed a good turnout for us and we where in my opinion in top form during the whole way to the field and we played our entire playlist and got to the field in good time and form.
On the return journey we played okay but again a long parade and bands form can dip at times the Belfast parade is a long day and that I am sure is the case of a lot of bandsmen today as they shall be nursing sore feet and Iím sure sore heads!
Below are some photographs of the band parading on the return route.
On the return parade our District stops in Middlepath Street for a wee breather before what is know in East Belfast as the ĎWelcome Homeí parade back into our own back yard to the parade finish line.
The Newtownards Road was jam packed with 10 deep at places all cheering the parade home, the usual hot spots where covered by the PSNI but gladly I can report no serious incidents developed.
We played with two bass drummers on the way home and even let our new recruit young Davy have a wee rattle on the big drum, he done well for a 15-year old lad.
When the parade turned into Templemore Avenue the parade was slowed down by the crowd as it was that large in places it was hard to fit us all in! This atmosphere was electric and lifted all the bands and lodges on what was to be a really good 12th July day. Below are some photographs of the band on the Welcome Home parade into East Belfast.
We ended the day in Frank Street were we even sang the Lodge a wee tune to finish a 12th to remember for a lot of good reasons.
I shall finish this report by thanking all our members, lodge and our growing number of helpers for their time and effort in making today a great success, many thanks once again from the East Belfast Protestant Boys.
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman
If you would like to give your own opinions on the above parade please register and use the EBPB Online Forum, your contribution to the Forum is always welcome.