THE ninth `Gig'n The Bann' cross community Music and Dance Festival took place last Saturday in the lovely village of Portglenone.
This festival is quickly becoming one of the major events on the Summer Festival Calendar, building up a great reputation for offering a most impressive line-up of top performers spanning Traditional, Scottish and Fold Music circles.
In the pipe band section, 17 pipe bands battled it out over the four grades to win the lucrative prize money, and to enjoy the final play out in this season's competitions.
In the top section A, Grade 2 Ravara Pipe Band under Pipe Major Sam Connolly, lifted the first place prize with Seven Towers in runner up spot.
Two Grade 3 bands played up and Cottown took the third placing and McNeillstown the fourth.
In Section B Cottown lifted the top prize with McNeillstown in runner up place. Section C was won by Moneygore, followed by Convoy, Bellaghy, Cleland Memorial, Cullybackey, Dr.Wright Memorial and Tamlaght O'Crilly.
And in the final Section D, Cleland Memorial was placed first followed by Thiepval Memorial, Bellaghy, Upper Crossgare, McNeillstown, Brocagh and Tullywhisker.
A novel idea for adjudicating at the pipe band competition is that the judges are picked from experienced pipers and drummers - not qualified adjudicators.
David Middleton from Letterkenny, Harold Brownlow from Kilrea, Mark Faloon from Portadown and Stephen McWhirter from Aghogill were the men responsible for the judging at the Festival.
All these men played in Grade 1 bands, with David Middleton and Mark Faloon playing in the Field Marshal Montgomery, and Stephen McWhirter, who competed with this year's world Grade 1 champions - the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver.
The Celtic Thistle Festival of Piping and Drumming incorporating the solo piping and drumming championships will take place on Friday September 12 and Saturday September 13 in Monkstown Community School Newtownabbey.
This year's festival and championships, under a new title, will be the twelfth annual event organised and promoted by the Competing Soloists Organisation.
With an increased prize fund of approaching £2000 for more senior grade competitors, the 2008 Celtic Thistle solo championships should prove to be both stimulating and rewarding for the dedicated solo player.
The All Ireland. Solos will he held on September 20 in Rathfriland High School. For further information please contact Mervyn Herron. 02840624849 or 07702 681189.
There is a meeting of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA on Saturday September 27 and Saturday October 25 commencing at 2pm in the Trinity Methodist Church Hall Knockmore Road Lisburn.
The Annual General Meeting of the branch is on Saturday November 8 starting at 11.00am.
Please note this date, as this is a very important meeting for all pipe band representatives.
A date for your diary is the week-end of November 13 -16 when the Armagh Pipers Club will hold their 15th William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh City.
A great line-up of musicians from all over Europe will be performing at this Festival, which is made up of concerts, session's workshops, and the second William Kennedy piping conference. One of the bands attending the Festival will be this year's world Grade 2 champions - Bagad Cap Caval from Brittany.