THOUSANDS of music lovers came out into the sunshine to welcome back the traditional Whit Friday band contests for the first time since 2019.

Although Foden’s yet again won the Tameside Open title, continuing the dominance they have enjoyed since the turn of the century, the competition was one of the closest for many years and a tie-break was needed to separate the two leading bands.


Foden’s and Rothwell Temperance both scored four firsts and two seconds in their highest six placings. That meant the band with the highest combined points score from their six best rankings won, which meant Foden’s finished on top by 1,183 points to 1,179.

Stalybridge Old Band also found themselves affected by a rarely-used regulation. The one-prize rule, which states that bands can only win a single monetary prize, meant they received the prize for coming third in the competition for local bands – due to its higher value – rather than for winning the fourth section.

Mossley Band narrowly beat Ashton to be crowned local champions.

Cllr Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for culture, heritage and digital inclusivity, said: “Judging by the size and enthusiasm of crowds at the nine contests, Whit Friday was badly missed. The good weather served to make their return even better.

“They may have been away for three years but the Tameside Whit Friday band contests clearly remain the greatest free show on earth.”

For a full list of results visit: