East Belfast Prod Boys
East Belfast was the venue was the venue for one of the best competitions of the year hosted by the Prod Boys in and around the Newtownards Road area of the City.
The 'Big Blue Music Machine' as they like to be known clock up quite a few miles over the year and their efforts were rewarded with a fantastic turnout of almost 60 bands.
The parade moved off at 8.00 on the button, I was late and missed the first band (who I'm told were the Pink Ladies from Scotland?) but I did manage to catch a glimpse of the Fifes and Drums from Shore Road in Belfast as they set off playing very well as they always do.
Many local East Belfast bands were out in support while others had made long journeys from as far as Glasgow (Cambuslaing Britannia) Fermangh to be at the parade.
The Melody Section included ourselves, Pride of Ballinran, East Belfast UVF Regimental who were playing very well, our good friends at Pride of the Raven, the Fifes and Drums who were going well as I mentioned and another East Belfast Band called the Blues and Royals.
Huge crowds lined the route as we made our way from the starting point onto the Newtownards Road and Bloomfield Avenue. We paraded with a Colour Party of 10 girls, 12 Drummers, and 24 flutes. Cutter and Willie John were of course in attendence on percussion while our drum major Darren was excused after his football team secured their first league title for over 20 years in the Ballymena Saturday morning league.
It has obviously come as a huge shock to most of us that a team with Big Darren between the posts could win anything. And there's a bigger shock to come, they've also reached the cup final.
Anyway, Craig McAllister, a good friend of the band and drum major of the excellent Ballymacarret Defenders Flute Band was our guest drum major for the night. At this point we should thank Craig and his band for helping us out. It is deeply appreciated!
The band played well, even overcoming the distraction of an ambulance driving through the band when we were stopped in front of the judges.
When it came to the awards, the band won 1st prize in every category that it was possible for us to win, an outstanding performance. The Magnificent 7 results were as follows.
Melody Flute: 1st Mourne Young Defenders 2nd
UVF Regimental 3rd Pride of Ballinran
Melody Drums 1st Mourne Young Defenders 2nd UVF Regimental 3rd Pride of Ballinran
Senior Drum Major: 1st Mourne Young Defenders 2nd UVF Regimental 3rd Fifes and Drums
Style and Apperance 1st Mourne Young Defenders 2nd UVF Regimental
We also won best Colour Party, Best Visiting Band and Best Overall Band.
Well done to all who attended, excellent performance.