Northern Ireland

Open Championship curtails annual Portrush band parade

The Claret Jug at Royal Portrush Golf Club Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Open Championship's Claret Jug will be at stake at Royal Portrush Golf Club in July

An annual band competition and parade in Portrush will not go ahead as planned because of traffic fears surrounding The Open Championship.

Organisers have scrapped the parade on 20 July and replaced it with an outdoor concert.

Last year, 48 bands took part in the parade.

This year just six bands will perform at the town's amphitheatre on Kerr Street, in an event billed as a "celebration of marching bands".

In a statement, Portrush Sons of Ulster marching band said the decision was "several months" in the making.

Discussions were held with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the PSNI, Translink and the R&A, who organise The Open.

The band said that the main reason for the decision was that "all car parks in the town are occupied because of The Open" and that there was "simply nowhere available to park cars or buses".

Image copyright Pacemaker

"It was important that we came to some sort of compromise and had something happening in the town on the date of our parade.

"As much as we would rather have our annual parade go ahead as normal, it is simply not possible this year.

"Now, we must use this opportunity to show all those who will be visiting for The Open what our culture is all about."

Iain Carlisle, the chief executive of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, commended the band "for their willingness to adapt their annual event to not only minimise disruption, but also to allow visitors to enjoy the very best of local bands in an open-air concert environment".

"Marching bands are an important integral aspect of the musical life of Northern Ireland.

"As such, they are very much part of the authentic, cultural offering that visitors can experience here."

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