Ballymoney’s own version of ‘The Proms’ was the order of the day on Saturday 28th July as the members of Dunloy Accordion band staged their annual Ulster Scots Festival and Parade.
Castlecroft proved to be the ideal venue for the Festival as unsettled weather remained over the area which was a hive of activity from 10am onwards as band members prepared the area for the day.
By midday the stage was set and the area transformed with bunting and flags in anticipation of the 1pm kick-off. A capacity crowd filled the covered Castlecroft area as the concert began and this year again the audience were treated to the very best entertainment the province has to offer. Hosted effortlessly by Fermanagh man Gary Wilson the concert program delivered by Ballyboley Pipe Band, Dunloy Accordion Band concert group, Maiden City Beat and the Mourne Young Defenders proved to be a hit with the audience who remained in place all day despite the inclement weather.
Fortunately as the Festival came to a close, a change in the weather produced a beautiful evening in which music was again the focus but this time at several venues throughout the town centre.
Already the town centre was bustling in anticipation of the parade and as spectators made their way between the coffee shops and restaurants which had remained open they were again treated to outstanding performances from the legendary Baillies Mills Accordion band at Castlecroft and Maguiresbridge Silver and Omagh Protestant Boys Flute band at High Street.
Beginning sharp then at 7.30 pm the fantastic parade of 72 bands made its way along a packed route where many spectators had taken up their vantage points from as early as 11am.
The visiting bands this year again were delighted by the fantastic welcome they received from the townspeople and commented that they particularly enjoyed the real family friendly atmosphere around the town. Indeed there was a real carnival atmosphere as the town was awash with colour from the balloons and flags which the members of the Dunloy band had given to the many children present to watch the procession.
A band spokesperson noted that the members of the band were delighted with the response to the festival and the parade and particularly that the spectators had remained in place for the duration of the entire parade despite the often inclement conditions.
The band are extremely grateful to the spectators, bands and everyone else who once again came out this year to make the event an unrivalled success. A fantastic sum of £8084.05 was raised for band funds from the street collection throughout the day and the evening and the band would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed in any way.