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Radio 5 Live to discuss the future of banding tonight

News of Grimethorpe's possible demise has brought brass bands to the airwaves tonight on the BBC...

Audience at Albert Hall


BBC Radio 5 Live will be hosting a discussion about the future of brass banding on the Tony Livesey Show this evening at 10.30pm.

Grimey report

It follows a report on the BBC earlier today that suggested that the future of Grimethorpe Colliery Band was under threat following the loss of sponsorship support.

The programme will feature a pre-recorded interview with Grimethorpe Band Manager Nigel Dixon, as well as live studio music provided by an ensemble from the Fairey Band.

Fairey Band Manager Martin Gernon told 4BR: "We have been asked to provide music throughout the programme—and even though it was short notice, we are delighted to offer our support."

Not sustainable

The initial BBC report quoted Nigel as saying that Grimethorpe’s schedule of between 40 and 50 concerts a year was 'not sustainable for a long period of time', and that if the band could not find additional funding it was possible it could close.

He was quoted as saying: "There is absolutely no doubt about that, and we're having to work to survive. How long can we sustain 40 to 50 concerts a year? Not for too long I would guess."

Real message

However, Nigel was keen to point out that the initial report under the heading ‘Brassed Off's Grimethorpe Colliery Band in danger of closing’ didn’t really paint a totally accurate picture of the message the band was trying to put across.

"All bands are having to work hard to survive—Grimethorpe included," he told 4BR. "However, this is more about Grimethorpe also working to ensure future generations of young players enjoy the opportunity of playing a brass instrument without parents having to be forced to pay for lessons."

All bands are having to work hard to survive — Grimethorpe includedBand Manager Nigel Dixon


He added: "We are trying to highlight that this is happening throughout the country and that Grimethorpe is being proactive in trying to offer an alternative with projects such as the Grimethorpe Besson Youth Band and our work with local primary schools such Birkwood Primary School in Barnsley.

Hopefully, that will be the story that will come out of this high profile feature this evening."

Nigel will also be appearing on BBC ‘Look North’ at around 6.30pm.

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