THE North West Piping Festival took place last Saturday - and despite the heavy rain thousands lined the main street to welcome and applaud the bands.
Ballycoan finished the local season on a high note when they took runner up place to Field Marshal Montgomery - and also won the best drums and best bass section in Grade 1. This gave them the overall Champion of Champions in piping and drumming for 2008.
Ballycoan have been under a new Pipe Major this season - Glenn Cupples - and he must be delighted with the overall performance.
Glenn brother's Robert, who is Pipe Major of rival band Cullybackey, took the third place.
In Grade 2 Ravara took six trophies, winning first place in the grade, as well as best pipes, best drums, marching and deportment and Champion of Champions in both piping and drumming.
This has been a great season for the band who were runners up at the Worlds last Saturday.
A new name is on the winning trophy in Grade 3A, after the Howard Memorial from Dungannon, under Pipe Major Gareth Currens, took top honours. The band tied on piping with Cottown Pipe band who were placed third behind Aughintober who took runner up place.
Another Tyrone band, winning for the first time this season, was Augharonan with Pipe Major Jim McElrath who took the title in Grade 3B. Raffrey were runners up and winners of the Champion of Champion in piping for 2008.
Gransha Pipe Band under new Pipe Major Trevor Connor were first in Grade 4A, beating last week's world champions band Colmcille into second spot.
And finally the top title in Grade 4B went to Upper Crossgare who also won the trophy for best pipes.
Winners of the North West drum major's titles were Lauren Abraham (Novice), Stephen Gilchrist (Junior), Linzi Hamilton (Juvenile) and Brian Wilson (Senior)
The curtain comes down on the final pipe band competition of the year with the Cowal Highland Games in Dunoon, Scotland on Saturday 30th August - the last of the big five major championships of the season.
The annual 'Gig'n the Bann'event will be on Saturday 6th September in the Playing Fields, Portglenone Community Centre commencing at 1 pm.
The Celtic Thistle Festival of Piping and Drumming incorporating the solo piping and drumming championships will take place on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th September 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,
The All Ireland Solos will be held on 20th September in Rathfriland High School. Entries are in the post now and close on 30th August.
If anyone still needs an entry form please contact Mervyn Herron 40624849 or 07702 681189.
Grade 4B. 1st. Upper Crossgare. (Also best pipes) 2nd.Wm.Kerr Memorial. (Also best drums. 3rd.Bellaghy. 4th. Tullylagan.
Grade 4A. 1st. Gransha. 2nd. Colmcille. (Also best pipes) 3rd.Moneygore. 4th. Manorcunningham. (Also best drums and best bass section)
Grade 3B. 1st. Augharonan (Also best pipes). 2nd.Raffrey. 3rd.McNeillstown. 4th.Castlerock(Also best drums and best bass section)
Grade 3A. 1st. Howard Memorial. (Joint best pipes) 2nd.Aughintober. 3rd.Cottown. (Also joint best pipes) 4th.Killen. (Also best drums and best bass section)
Grade 2. 1st. Ravara (Also best pipes and best drums). 2nd.Killeen. 3rd.Seven Towers. (Also best bass section)
Grade 1. 1st. FM Montgomery (Also best pipes). 2nd.Ballycoan. (Also best drums and best bass section) 3rd.Cullybackey.
Novice Drum Majors. 1st. Lauren Abraham. 2nd. Emma Barr. 3rd.Rachel Caldwell. 4th.Zoe McDowell. 5th. Matthew McKinney.
Junior. 1st. Stephen Gilchrist. 2nd.Lauren Muldrew. 3rd.Elizabeth Morrow. 4th.Dale Fisher. 5th.Victoria Catterson.
Juvenile. 1st. Linzi Hamilton. 2nd.Samantha Gordon. 3rd.Emma Chambers. 4th.Jemma McKinney. 5th.Craig Clydesdale.
Senior. 1st. Brian Wilson. 2nd. Alicia Dickson. 3rd.Andrea McKeown. 4th.Kathy Megarry Calvin. 5th.Paula Braiden.
Grade 4B. Pipes-Thiepval Memorial. Drums- Cleland Memorial. Grade 4A. Pipes and Drums. Manorcunningham.
Grade 3B. Pipes- Raffrey. Drums- Castlerock.
Grade 3A.Pipes- Aughintober. Drums- Killen.
Grade 2. Pipes and Drums - Ravara
Grade 1. Pipes and Drums- Ballycoan.
Novice. Lauren Abraham.
Junior. Lauren Hanna.
Juvenile. Samantha Gordon.
Senior. Kathy Megarry Calvin