George Duddy, Deputy County Grand Master for Londonderry, told the crowd at the field that apathy is one of the main dangers facing unionism.
He said: “Apathy among the unionist electorate has come about because people are fed up with the constant fighting amongst our politicians.
“There has been a breakdown in trust between the unionist electorate and our politicians. They must work harder to regain the trust of the unionist electorate and this will help to rebuild their confidence in our politicians.”
However, most of the crowd yesterday were determined to enjoy one of the province’s biggest Twelfth demonstrations.
People had been arriving in the town since Saturday. They included Noel McGee from Portadown, who arrived with his daughter and son-in-law and their children.
A former member of 199 Black and 127 Parkmount Lodge, and a regular visitor to Portrush, he said: “We arrived up here on Saturday and the number of people has trebled. This has been a very good turn for the town.
“It has become a bit run down over the years, a lot of the shops are boarded up. Portstewart is outstripping Portrush so this will have done the local economy the world of good.”
Lodges from Limavady, Londonderry, East Donegal and Coleraine were joined by visiting bands from Cumbernauld in Scotland. In some places the sun chairs were two deep as thousands of people lined the route.
The crowds were treated to a mixture of tunes, some traditional and some modern, including the theme tune to the movie The Great Escape, a firm favourite among English football fans.
Mr McGee said: “You can see a lot of preparation has been done by the bands. The turnout of the bands is magnificent, the uniforms, everything they have.”