facebook twitter rss vimeo

*
banner

Community spirit — Skegness Festival of Brass Bands

Brian Eggleshaw reports from an uplifting community festival based on a foundation of brass in Skegness.

Skegness
Taking the applause: Swineshead Silver on stage in Skegness

The inaugural Skegness Festival of Bands took place in and around the town’s Tower Gardens and Tower Esplanade seafront last weekend.

The day was planned and organised by Brian Eggleshaw and Steve Walker, with the valuable assistance of Andrew Taylor and Norman and Shirley Prime of Skegness Silver Band.

Raise profile


The aim of the event was not just to help raise the local Lincolnshire profile of many of the bands taking part, but to also increase awareness and funds for the St Baranabas Lincolnshire Hospice.

As a result, a host of supporting organisations took the opportunity to get involved – from the local East Lindsey District Council and the Skegness Town Centre Management to the Skegness East Coast & Wolds Hospitality Association and the local Partnership Group.

25,000 people

All the bands taking part gave their services freely to help provide wonderful entertainment to close on 25,000 people who packed out the venues.  

For this first year, the undertaking was incorporated as part of the popular ‘Skegness Switched On’ celebrations, which sees the town increase their electricity consumption tenfold with the switching on of their illuminations.

The flicking of the switch was performed in inimitable fashion by Stavros Flatley and Son, and was further enhanced by a superb firework display, to bring the event to a close.

Throughout the day the musical entertainment took place in various locations around the seafront area, centred on the Tower Gardens and Esplanade venues.

Skegness
Joint effort from Skegness and Alford Brass

Proms


By the time Market Rasen Band performed as part of Skegness’s version of ‘The Last Night of the Proms’, it appeared that every one of those 25,000 visitors was packed into the area to hear them play.

Earlier, Skegness Silver under Steve Walker and Alford Silver under the baton of Richard Walker performed admirably before combining forces to perform items as a joint band on the Esplanade - mirroring the spirit of cooperation and musical harmony that was on display (no pun intended) throughout the day.

It was also highly encouraging to see other local bands play their part in full too, with Silver Sounds Brass from the small village of Dunston, near Lincoln, deliver a highly enjoyable 45 minute programme under the direction of MD, Roy Duncan.

Dunston is a small village with a population of approximately 700, but the band has managed to develop 20 very young and talented musicians, ably directed by Roy and assisted by his wife, Helen.

Starbucks

Meanwhile, Swineshead Silver under MD Baz Starbuck (no relation to the famous coffee shop brand unfortunately he said!) also delivered an enjoyable and varied programme, whilst Skegness and Alford maintained the quality of the easy listening music making (including the obligatory ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’) under Richard Walker’s command.

Market Rasen RPC rounded off the day’s featured playing under the baton of MD Alan Needham.

One of the areas most progressive musical organisations, they provided high class entertainment programming in what was the first of their two featured performances.  

They later returned for the evening’s ‘Switched On’ celebrations, where joined by two teams of dancers and a stage disco, they set the union jack flags waving with ‘Prom’ favourites such as ‘The Radetzky March’, Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Death or Glory’, and the rousing finale from ‘William Tell’.

Skegness
Market Rasen in full flow

Community inspired


It rounded off a wonderful day of community inspired music making – and all for an equally wonderful cause.

As one visitor later said: “I thought brass bands were a thing of the past. Not now I don’t. It was great to see and hear.”

Collections were taken throughout the day with all monies raised passed to the St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice.

A cheque for £2,500 was presented to the Mayor of Skegness, Steve Kirk to pass on to the Hospice administrator.

Goodwill and support

As I made my way home after an exhausting but truly uplifting day, I reflected on the fact that given all the recent inner city troubles, there is still a huge amount of goodwill and community support that brass bands can tap into to help others in towns such as Skegness.  

People like David Ashworth of Fanfare North who sponsored and supplied stand banners, or Butlins Skyline Resort who provided huge amounts of equipment, the local Embassy Theatre staff, photographer Paul Marshall, the Skegness Town Centre Management, the local East Lindsay Council and of course, the bands themselves.

No trouble and no petty problems – just community based co-operation, support and pride – all backed by the musical foundation of brass band music making.

No wonder so many people took the opportunity to enjoy it.

Brian Eggleshaw



Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Chamber Ensemble

Friday 23 February • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ


The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Chirst Church Ilkley

Saturday 24 February • Christchurch,. The Grove,. Ilkley LS29 9LW


Elland Silver Band -

Saturday 24 February • All Saints Church Savile Road Elland HX5 0NH


Milton Keynes Brass - "Blow away those Winter Blues"

Saturday 24 February • The United Reformed Church. High Street. Newport Pagnell MK16 0FH


The Cobham Band -

Saturday 24 February • The Vera Fletcher Hall . 4 Embercourt Road. Thames Ditton. KT7 0LQ KT70LQ


West Somerset Brass Band

February 23 • West Somerset Brass is looking to strengthen its cornet and baritone section. We are a community band playing all over Somerset and hope to undertake a tour to France later in the year. If you can play whatever standard please make contact


The Corsham Band

February 22 • Having now been promoted to the 2nd Section for the forthcoming Contest season, the band are now looking for a back row cornet player, 2nd or 3rd, to join our team


Thundersley Brass Band

February 20 • Thundersley Brass, a Championship section band based in Benfleet, Essex are welcoming applicants for the following positions (seats negotiable)from April 2018:. Eb Bass. BBb Bass.


Nigel Seaman

ARMCM ARNCM
Conductor, band trainer, teacher and adjudicator