The band was formed in 1934 under the name of Councillor Cole but, in 1935 it was changed to the Ballymacarrett Defenders. Although still an all-male concern, the first president was Mrs S. Barker a very generous lady who supplied the band with its first uniform. This consisted of 12 Crown AZ flutes, four side drums, bass drum, together with drum straps, mace pole, cymbals, triangle, music pouches, lyres and side caps, some of which were second-hand.
Some of the instigators who got together to form the band were John Matthews, Arthur Baker, Tommy Elwood and Eddie Cumming. One of the first recruits to the ranks was a D. Best, father of the famous George who found fame at Old Trafford and elsewhere.
Through the years the band has went from strength to strength and now is well known as one of the best melody flute bands in Northern Ireland.
The band decided to join the N.I.B.A. in December 1989 and became members of the Flute Band League. Their first contest was the “Own Choice” in February 1990 and gained fourth place, the band was conducted by Ken Brown. This was the first time a fourth place was recorded in the F.B.L because of the record amount of entries that year, it has never occurred again.
Fred Johnston took over as Conductor and led the band to further successes including being crowned International Marching Band Champions in 1995 in Limerick.
In 2018, the band produced a new CD entitled “On Parade”
Ballymacarrett Defenders Flute from East Belfast playing at Glencree Peace Centre in the Wicklow Mountains 1999 in front of Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums from USA and Brookeborough Flute Band from Co. Fermanagh and members from the Fife and Drum Bands in the Republic of Ireland.
Ballymacarrett Defenders Flute Band plays “Children of the Regiment” by J. Fucik. Recorded during the 88th Championship of Ireland Bands’ Contest on 22nd October 2005. They Won the Melody Flute Grade playing this piece.