2006 Pontins Championships - General introduction


The fun and games, great music, good prize money and the chance to dress up as a a nun in the night. Pontins has it all.

PontinsThe fantastic jamboree that is the Pontins Brass Band Championships are back with us again and after all the very serious high brow competitive stuff that has gone on at Birmingham and London in the last few weeks, it is always nice to be able to go to a contest where enjoyment is every bit as important as the playing on stage.

That of course doesn't mean that the taking part here isn't of secondary importance, but there is always a sense that even victory wouldn't taste anywhere near as nice if you were not able to enjoy yourself late into the night listening to the ageless Bavarian Stompers or appearing in the bar dressed as a naughty nun. Try doing that at the Royal Albert Hall.

Pontins continues to do what it does and do it rather well. It is a family engineered event with something for everyone and even though the weather tends to be on the cold side at this time of year, there is always a warm welcome and the organizers do try and make sure the performers and supporters are well catered for.
That this year means another fine selection of works for the bands to play – from ‘Blitz' for the Championship Section right down to ‘Facets of Glass' in the Fourth. James Scott instinctively knows what is right and what will appeal to bands after a near year long slog of contesting and this year is no different.

The standard of the accommodation too has improved over the years (gone are the chalet conditions that would have tested the mettle of Scott of the Antarctic) and Pontins have upped the prize money to keep it very competitive (especially in the lower sections) as well as helping the bands with those ever increasing travel costs.  

It is also important to note that Pontins are pushing the Youth Contests once more – a real bonus and are prepared to listen to advice and comment from all interested parties on this and the main event here to see how both contests can be improved.

The result of their active involvement is another healthy turn out of bands, and even though the Harry and Margaret Mortimer contest doesn't attract the very cream of the banding world it is still an important title to win and can be a very accurate barometer of current form and possible future trends.

That contest should round the whole weekend off in style and there could well be a little bit of history made if Staffordshire become only the second band in the contests history to make it a hat trick of title wins. That is a some achievement by anyone's standards.

In the other sections it is more of a question who can stop the North West juggernaut, but it is great to report that the contest will see a couple of Scots bands making a rare journey south to their Celtic cousins homeland, whilst London and the Southern Counties also sends up a few representatives too.

The best news though is that Europe stakes its claim this year with the appearance of Brass Band Bacchus in the Second Section. We do wonder what they will make of the traditional Saturday night party atmosphere here though!

4BR will be out and about and will be reporting back with retrospectives on all five sections. Malcolm Wood will be leading the team and as always we will listen to all the bands. Hope to see you all there. We will certainly be enjoying ourselves.


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