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Contest hopes dashed at Weston super Mare

Despite a £15 million renovation, there is not enough space to fit in a popular brass band contest in Weston super Mare's Winter Gardens.

Weston
  The refurbished Winter Gardens doesn't have room to host a brass band contest over 35 bands

Despite the completion of the £15 million refurbishments to the famous ballroom at the Winter Gardens in Weston super Mare, the South West Brass Band Association has had it hopes dashed that its popular brass band contest can return to the venue.

Half capacity

Unfortunately, the venue, which includes a new Law & Finance Centre only allows for less than half of its capacity to be hired for functions and events, meaning that hosting a contest which has traditionally attracted upwards of 35 bands or more is now impossible.

SWBBA had hoped to restage its annual own choice contest at the venue in 2018 to take advantage of the neo-Georgian ballroom with its domed ceiling and improved acoustics, but this is now unfeasible.

Concert not contest

"The ballroom is a super venue now for a brass band concert," Weston Brass Secretary, Gill Rogers told 4BR.

"Unfortunately, with less than half the overall site now available for hire it's apparent there is insufficient space to run a contest of 35 bands or more."

SWBBA Chairman John Woods also confirmed the news: "In addition, the rooms available for band changing and registration, control room and catering are not ideally located for running a successful contest," he said.

"We have major concerns for the smooth running of the event and an expectation that all bands would need to use a single staircase to access a band room twice; once to perform and again to leave after performing. Coupled with the fact that this is adjacent to the public entrance to the auditorium we feel this is unworkable."

Unfortunately, with less than half the overall site now available for hire it's apparent there is insufficient space to run a contest of 35 bands or moreGill Rogers

New venue

4BR was informed that the SWBBA will continue to work with Weston Brass to seek a more suitable alternative venue in North Somerset.



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Phil Lawrence

ARCM PGRNCM MFTCL ARCM B.Mus.
Composer and conductor