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2011 London & Southern Counties Regional Championship — Stevenage preview

Banding south of the Watford gap is bucking the trend it seems — numbers are up and there are successes to boast about too.

StevenageWith the rest of UK banding feeling the pinch it seems the long awaited green shoots of recovery may well be sprouting in the London & Southern Counties region.

No double dip

It’s still a little hit and miss in places, but overall things are looking encouraging – no double dip recession for certain.  

Amazingly, numbers have increased (just the one extra, but a great effort considering there are 77 bands taking to the stage). It’s good to see City of Oxford and Cottenham return to the contesting fold after a period away.

Harrogate success

Success has come on the contest stage too - especially at the lower sections in Harrogate last year.

Friary Guildford came back as First Section National champions, whist there were seven other bands claiming top 10 finishes.

The top section bands didn’t make an impression on the tent at the Royal Albert Hall, but their counterparts certainly did at the International Conference Centre.

Healthy numbers

Hopefully that will continue this year, although the problem with having such a large entry list is that some of the contests here are pretty unwieldy beasts – with a bloated Championship Section contest of 12 bands.

There is still a great entry list in the lower sections with a number of bands starting to gain success at other national events in the last couple of years.

And whilst there is currently no regional representative at the British Open, the likes of Redbridge, Aveley and Zone One have started to make an impression on their travels – from Butlins to Brass in Concert, Blackpool to Yeovil.

Amazing job

Dave Hobbs and his team do a quite amazing job in keeping things ticking over at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, and whilst it is not the prettiest contest venue in the world, it certainly does its job.

The region may not have the strength in depth of others, but the organisation of local events has been revitalised of late – especially with the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association events at Folkestone and Hove.

Could it be that ‘southern’ banding is starting to lead the way into the second decade of the new Millennium? It may well look like it is.

Iwan Fox



Foden's Band - St Michaels & All Angels Church

Saturday 25 May • Egerton Road, Ashton on Ribble, Preston PR2 1AJ


St Pinnock Brass Band - Rock Choir Cornwall

Sunday 26 May • Sterts Theatre, . Sterts, . Liskeard, . PL14 5AZ PL14 5AZ


Contest: All England International Masters

Sunday 26 May • The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering Conference Centre, Thurston Drive NN15 6PB


Lewes, Glynde and Beddingham Brass Band - Eastbourne Bandstand - 1812 concert

Wednesday 29 May • Bandstand, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3AD


Black Dyke Band - George Lawton Hall, Mossley

Thursday 30 May • George Lawton Hall, Stamford St, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0HR


Lindley Band

May 24 • FRONT ROW CORNET required to join our friendly band who enjoy a sensible mix of engagements and contests. Our inspirational MD Mike Golding takes rehearsals on Monday and Wednesday evenings in our own modern bandroom located only 1m from M62 Jcn 24.


Littleport Brass Band

May 24 • Littleport Brass are currently a second section band in Cambridgeshire and rehearse every Wednesday evening 7.30-9.30. We are looking for an Eb bass and tuned percussionist. We are a friendly, active band playing at a variety of exciting concerts.


Stannington Brass Band

May 23 • A rare opportunity has arisen to join one of Sheffield's leading bands with a vacancy for an EEb TUBA PLAYER to complete our bass section. We have a good band room atmosphere and a calendar of interesting concerts and contests.


John Durrant

MA LLCM TD CertEd (Dist)
Conductor, Band Trainer, Composer, Trumpet and Cornet Soloist, Arranger, Adjudicator