ROSE COUNTDOWN: 13 Marching Bands To Bring The Noise During Festival

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Marching bands always bring a great atmosphere to the Roses parade. File Photo

UPLIFTING, inspirational, nostalgic and entertaining are just some of the adjectives to describe the 13 marching bands comprising 600 people that will perform at the 2018 Rose of Tralee International Festival.

Nine bands will take part in the Parade of Roses on Saturday 18th August, two of which will be travelling from overseas, while the Garda Band will lead the Sunday parade before their annual recital on the Denny Street stage on the same day.

The Operations Manager for the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Oliver Hurley, said: “We are honoured that so many marching bands from Ireland and abroad have chosen the Rose of Tralee International Festival as their primary tour event of the year. It’s a major undertaking for the bands, many of whom rely on the goodwill of their local communities to help finance their travel and accommodation costs associated with performing at the Rose of Tralee. We are grateful to our friends in the KDYS, the Scouts Hall and Austin Stacks GAA Club for providing accommodation for a number of the visiting marching bands.”

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Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums (Éireannach Toirneach) is part of the AOH, Notre Dame Division 1 of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a 35-piece group who will perform in Tralee with support from a further entourage of 60 people who also make the journey across the Atlantic to be at the Rose of Tralee.

The band, led by Pipe Major Cullen Kirkpatrick, along with Pipe Sergeants Joe Cassidy, Bob Kirkpatrick, and Frank Larkin, Drum Sergeant Andrew Duncan, Band President Sean Murray, and Drum Major Pete Hand, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Irish Thunder performs in the greater Philadelphia area, but also has travelled to other states and here in Ireland as well.

The band performs in exhibitions, festivals and parades including two of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S., New York City and Savannah, Georgia. Irish Thunder prides itself on giving back to the community including donating their time, talent and money to various charitable organizations and benefits.”

In addition to the nine marching bands that will have taken part in the parade on Saturday night, The Blarney Brass and Reed Band from Cork, The Gleneagle Concert Band from Killarney, and the Garda Band will join them for the Sunday parade.

Another group, the Wild Rovers Accordion Band, will be in Tralee for some street performances as well as some indoor gigs in a few local pubs over the weekend of the Festival.

“Our Festival has long been associated with travelling marching bands who enjoy the pageantry and excitement of the Rose of Tralee,” said Oliver Hurley.

Full details of all parades routes, starting times and band recitals are available from, the Rose of Tralee Web-app which can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play Store or from the Official Festival Brochure which is widely available.

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