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Dereham Band broke new ground in 2022 by playing at the world renowned Saddleworth Whit Friday Marches for the first time.  And they're back for 2024.

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The Whit Friday Marches are known as the Greatest Free Show on Earth, and viewers of the film “Brassed off” will be familiar with the sight of bandsmen hopping on and off a coach - with some getting steadily more ‘refreshed' as the evening progresses.

The aim is to attend as many villages as possible in one evening and perform a street march in each one, followed by a contest march which is marked by an anonymous judge. Cash prizes are available and can be sizeable for the top bands.


We were happy just to attend and be in the same company as some great bands, such as the world famous Brighouse and Black Dyke bands. We ended up with playing in seven villages, which was very pleasing.

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Band chairman Patrick Nichols said ”It was a great experience for the band to get out amongst such hallowed company. Especially after being unable to play together for 18 months during Covid. We shall return to build on this years performances and we are looking forward to it already”.

Conductor Tony Hampton said “ it has always been an ambition of mine to take a band to the Whits, having played myself many times. I couldn’t have asked for a better team for what I’m sure will be the first of many.”

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