IT was another glorious days sunshine for the pipe bands last Saturday when the North West Championships took place in Portrush.
There is always a carnival atmosphere at this event when crowds of holidaymakers and piping enthusiasts throng the pavements and streets to watch the pageant of pipe bands parading through the town. One of the biggest ever procession of bands, led by Councillor Robert McPherson Mayor of Coleraine, marched through Portrush displaying their winning trophies, to receive the tremendous welcome and applause of the waiting crowds.
Field Marshal Montgomery, Ballinderry Bridge, Finvoy and Seven Towers, winners of the recent European Championships grades 1, 2, 3A and 313, kept up the pressure on other challengers and succeeded in adding the North West championship titles to their silverware.
Gortaclare in 4A and McNeillstown in 4B were the worthy new winners in their grades.
The people of Glasgow have the chance on Saturday August 14 at Glasgow Green to catch some of the finest pipe bands from across the world as they gather to take part in the ultimate "Battle of the bands" - the 2004 World Pipe Band Championships.
The event, organised by Glasgow City Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, has been associated with the city since 1948 and last year at least 40,000 spectators thronged to Glasgow Green for the competition.
Over 8,000 musicians take part in over 200 bands, travelling to Glasgow from all over the world. In 2003 54 bands representing 13 countries competed at the championships with Scottish band -House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead, taking the Grade 1 title.
This year they will be under strong pressure from Field Marshal Montgomery who have already won the Scottish and European titles, and with Pipe Major Richard Parkes back at their helm, all Irish hopes are pinned on them taking the ultimate world championship crown once more.
The Ulster Pipe band Championships take place in Newcastle on Saturday August 21 starting at 11.40am. There are 63 bands entered for this event including 5 in grade 1. Adjudicators include A. Ronaldson, W. Goodall and N. Russell.
Then the following week the last pipe band competition of the 2004 season takes place with the Cowal Highland Games in Dunoon Scotland on Saturday August 28.
Grade 1 - 1st FM. Montgomery (also best pipes and best drums) 2nd Bleary & District. 3rd Ballycoan. 4th Ravara (also M&D)
Grade 2 - 1st Ballinderry Bridge (also best pipes) 2nd Killeen. 3rdCullybackey. (also M&D) 4th Howard memorial. (also Best Bass & Best Drums)-
Grade3A. 1st Finvoy (also best pipe) 2nd Quinn Memorial. 3rd Bready Ulster Scots. (also M&D) 01 Tullintrain. Best Bass & Best Drums - North Belfast.
Grade 3B - 1st Seven Towers (joint best pipes). 2nd Marlacoo (also joint best pipes) 3rd Leapoughs. 4th Cottown. Best Bass Best Drums & M&D Augharonan.
Grade 4A - 1st Gortaclare. (also M&D) 2nd Battlehill. (also best pipes) 3rd Queen Elizabeth. 4th Aughintober. Best Drums Corps Gransha. Best Bass Castlerock. Best North West Band - Castlerock.
Grade 4B - 1st McNeillstown. 2nd Letterkenny & District (also M&D). 3rd Cullybackey. 4th Thiepval Convoy. Best Bass & Best Drums - Monkstown Mossley.
Novice Drum Majors - 1st Craig Clydesdale. 2nd Natasha Cherry. 3rd Gary Scanlon. 4th Kiera Wilson. 5th Lauren Muldrew.
Junior - 1st Laura Jane Lawson. 2nd Elizabeth Sloan. 3rd Samanatha Gordon. 4th Linzi Hamilton. 5th Sharon Martin.
Juvenile - 1st Donna Gillespie. 2nd Ryan Ferry. Joint 3rd Ian Scott and Alicia Dickson. 5th Laura McComb.
Senior - 1st Brian Wilson. 2nd Ian Young. 3rd David Brownlee. 4th Alastair Patterson. 5th Paula Braiden.