Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster parade - 23/05/09

After doing a parade earlier in the day at Ballysillan the band made our way to Ballymena, i must add in good time to attend the host bands parade.

Did we get shock? The amount of bands lining up to parade was brilliant in one sense and bad in another with small hold ups, my own band waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes to parade. None the less it was great to see 70 odd bands. The Ballykeel band must have been taken by suprise.

It was the best parade i have attended at Ballymena in years. Crowds, stalls, bands and even great weather. But maybe next year an earlier start perhaps, maybe around 7pm to cope with the bands. If this amount of bands is expected next year this parade will most certainly become the main parade in Ballymena, co Antrim by far.

The marshalls done their best to cope, well done lads. I hope they enjoyed the march up at the so-called "flashpoint". Lucky them getting to watch the best bands in the country free of charge. I hope they appreciate the efforts of the Ulster Marching family.

It was brilliant to see the cream of Ulsters bands on parade. The likes of Dunloy Accordion, Dunamoney, SBYC, the mighty Mourne Young Defenders and Ballinran. The Purple Guards also going well as were Montober. Other bands in attendance ill mention is Castlederg Young Loyalists, Giants Causeway Protestant Boys who were back up in numbers. Steeple and Pride of the Maine also.

Good to see Drumderg up tonight and playing to their usual high standard. I also seen the Ulster Grenadiers coming in aswell as the Finaghy True Blues. Great to see the recentley re-formed Tullycarnet FB enjoying themselves also.

Tonight our own band paraded with 6 of a colour party, 11 drummers, 3 bass drummers and 32 flautists. A decent turnout for 2 parades on the one day. We played well in my view and the new tunes and new members are really starting to blend in.

The parade route was a great length and im sure all bands took full advantage and played a good selection of their tunelist. Yes a few of the "BBB" about but they were well outnumbered by the people out to watch the best of Ulsters bands on one of the best parades of the year so far.

Well done Ballykeel, your nights hard work has paid of.

John Keenan
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman