2018 Butlins Mineworkers Festival
As it happened

All the action from the 2018 Butlins Mineworkers Festival — As it happened.

Sunday 14, 21:47:48

You can't beat Butlins in January

4BR catches up with First Section winners Eccles Borough

4BR catches up with Fourth Section champion Stamford Brass

That's the end of live coverage from Skegness and its a weekend in the banding calendar that is so thoroughly enjoyable.

Warmest congratulations to David Childs and Flowers who take the spoils in the Championship Section, along with Eccles Borough, Haydock, Hoover Bolton and Stamford Brass for their triumphs in Sections 1-4.

Great to see 3BA Brass return and well done for taking the Youth Section title and to Gresley in the Junior Ensemble.

Finally, our thanks go to Festival Director, Steve Walker, Brian Eggleshaw and the army of volunteers for not just a warm welcome, but their help throughout the weekend.

News reports will come in the days ahead, but for now, its goodnight from Skegness.

Sunday 14, 21:11:55


Championship Section

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Paul Holland & Ian Porthouse (Music on both disciplines)
Paul Andrews and Kevin Wadsworth (Entertainment)

(Set test + Quality of Music Entertainment + Entertainment) = Total

1. Flowers (David Childs): 2 + 2 + 1 = 5
2. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles): 1 + 3 + 4 = 8
3. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs): 4 + 6 + 2* = 12
4. Friary Guildford (Chris King): 5 + 4 + 3 = 12
5. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise): 3 + 5 + 5* = 13
6. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke): 6 + 1 + 6 = 13
7. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea): 7 + 7 + 8 = 22
8. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby): 8 + 8 + 7 = 23

*Entertainment placing takes precedence in event of tie

Highest Placed Mining Band: Desford Colliery (LCITWF)
Set Test Winner: Desford Colliery (LCITWF)
Most Entertaining Band: Flowers
Test Piece Soloist: Nikki Longden (Flugel) — Desford
Geoff Dove Soloist Award: Paul Richards (soprano) — Flowers

Sunday 14, 19:22:14


Youth Section and Junior Ensemble:

Adjudicators: Mark Walters

Youth Section:

1. 3BA Brass (Benjamin Markl)
2. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
3. Shirland Welfare (Lyndon Cooper)

Other competitors: Enderby Youth (Trevour Hounsome) & Gresley Youth Band (Duncan Jackson)

Best Soloist: Sophie Stevenson (Xylophonist) Youth Brass 2000

Junior Ensemble:

1. Gresley Youth Band B (Duncan Jackson)
2. Wigston Enterprise Band (Matthew Davis)
3. Shirland Training (Jack Newborough)

Sunday 14, 17:04:38


The results will be announced around 9.00pm during the halftime break in the evening concert given by the Superbrass ensemble.

We will get them posted as soon as possible.

Sunday 14, 17:03:34

Championship round up:

We have enjoyed a fine day today with the entertainment provided by the eight bands. Lots of variety but also some varied performances. The best were excellent, led by Flowers with a well constructed programme that was played with slick execution.

Close behind today came GUS who really upped their game and Desford who just fell short of yesterday.

Enjoyable stuff from Woodfalls and Redbridge with very different approaches and Friary who did something different. Lots to enjoy from them all in fact.

Overall though it's Flowers for us, closely followed by Desford, GUS, Redbridge, Woodfalls and Frairy for the top six,

Entertainment prediction:

1. Flowers
2. Virtuosi GUS
3. Desford
4. Woodfalls
5. Redbridge
6. Friary Guildford
7. Jaguar Land Rover
8. Haverhill

Overall Prediction:

1. Flowers
2. Desford
3. Virtuosi GUS
4. Redbridge
5. Woodfalls
6. Friary Guildford
7. Jaguar Land Rover
8. Haverhill

Sunday 14, 16:19:01

Championship Section:

8. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Enter the Galaxies (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael)
Soloist: Kevin Lea (trombone)
Moondance (Van Morrison)
The Lake of Tenderness (Ben Hollings)
Two movements from Fragile Oasis (Peter Meechan)

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On Stage — Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Paul Lovatt-Cooper's celestial opener sees its second outing of the day with JLR Band also delivering the second space themed programme of the contest. It's a touch loose in places though with the rhythmic ostinato passages not always pristinely tight and the detail not clearly audible.

A welcome reprise for a classic trombone solo with Kevin Lea in the spotlight and demonstrating a lovely sound. This just needs a touch more languid fluidity at times though.

From trombone to three flugel horns as the trio of soloists sit on the edge of the stage. An effective arrangement by John Barber although its not without one or two uncomfortable moments along the way on the stage.

The glowing tones of Ben Hollings deeply felt music provide both the emotional fulcrum of the programme but also emerges as the most successful piece of Jaguar Land Rover's performance so far, played with both warmth of sound and depth of feeling.

The closing section of Peter Meechan's work can take the stuffing out of any band and this doesn't quite engage us today. It's a tired sounding band that concludes the programme and the contest.

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In Performance — Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Sunday 14, 15:33:08

Championship Section:

7. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

Ride (Samuel Hazo)
On the Track (Jack Simpson)
Soloist: James Foster (xylophone)
Memories of a Lost Child (Ben Hollings)
12th Street Rag (Bowman arr. Daniel Hall)
To Boldly Go (Peter Graham)

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On Stage — Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

A jazzy, white knuckle ride of an opener that portrays a journey in a car at full speed; a racey opening number and a breathless introduction to Woodfalls programme of tenuous transport links.

A blast from the past this (most recently to Fodens) with a classic xylophone solo that James Foster despatches with impressive virtuosity and more than a dose of fun. The audience loves it!

Played out in burnished tones from an opening that gently pulses with vibraphones and subdued vocals from the band, a sonorously moving evocation of grief that demonstrates playing of deeply felt emotion from the band. The hush in the hall speaks for itself.

A new take on a ragtime classic featuring the band's cornet section but disrupted by a dismantled trombone and complete with basses with dust bin lids as wah-wah mutes….you'll have to take our word for it!

In one of only two duplications of music today, Woodfalls closes its programme with Peter Graham's To Boldly Go in common with Desford. It really is a Graham fest, chock full of self references but also with hints of Star Wars and that reference to the song classic 'Feelings' once again! It's despatched in bold colours and tones in a barnstorming end to a well constructed programme.

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In Performance — Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

Sunday 14, 15:14:19

Youth Section:

Youth Entertainment Bavarian style....

The Youth contest closes with the defending champion, 3BA Brass from Bavaria taking to the stage and taking them into the rehearsal room. Once they have finished warming up and the MD has called for order, straight into practice with the March, Army of the Nile, which is taken at a great tempo and the obligato sop is like the 4BR Editor in his hey day — classy stuff that brings smile to the face.

So does the mobile phone going off to stop the M.D. conducting Flying Mallets only to shoo away the impromptu conductor upon his return.

Even the opening to Amazing Grace is vocally harmonised and in tune.

Entertainment Germany style, but slick and so polished....bravo, could be another title here....

Sunday 14, 14:59:18

Youth Section:

War theme from Gresley...

Gresley seniors (their junior band played earlier) have played homage today to 2018 being the centenary of the end of World War I.

It's all been played with vigour especially their closing number, 'British TV at War' which is a medley of comedy programmes from the 1970s and 80s, Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Allo, Allo. Don't half make you feel old.

Sunday 14, 14:45:41

Championship Section:

6. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Cherry Blossoms and Yagi Bushi from Japanese Tune (Soichi Konagaya arr. Christian Overhead)
Bushido (Christian Overhead)
Soloist: Matthew White (euphonium)
A Song for Japan (Steve Verhelst arr. Gustav Aaberg)
The Burning of Mount Wakakusa (Eric Guinivan)
Tale of the Dragon (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)

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On Stage — Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke) with Matthew White's euphonium solo

GUS's Japanese themed programme opens in subdued, evocative fashion with a twilit stage and the gentle enunciation of a folk song like theme that suddenly erupts into the furious Yagi Bush dance that propels the programme towards Matthew White's euphonium solo.

Christian Overhead's music takes the ancient Samurai code of Bushido as its starting point, weaving Japanese like melodies into a short but technically formidable showpiece that euphonium soloist Matthew White takes in his stride. Musical swordsmanship at its best!

A quintet of the band's principal players plays from the side of the stage in Steve Verhelst's poignant tribute to those that lost their lives in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. So touching and played with heart melting sensitivity.

A fast and furious musical picture of an annual Japanese event that provides another technical fulcrum in what is proving to be an inventive programme. This is impressive playing indeed and is GUS on a different level to the bands performance on Saturday.

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In Performance — Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Sunday 14, 14:29:06

Youth Section:

Lyrical stuff from Shirland....

Midlander's Shirland Welfare have been in lyrical mood throughout their programme.

It's been fun from the word go though with 'Punchinellie', a mix of Punchinello and Nellie the Elephant whilst elsewhere with the classic solo, 'Orange Juice' and 'Calon Lan', all wrapped up with a bit of circus fun from PLC in 'Big Top'.

Sunday 14, 14:00:58

Youth Section:

Enderby delivering

The familiar sight of Enderby Youth and Trevor Hounsome has been a joy today. Focused, neat, tidy and disciplined. There's a fair number of them on stage as well.

We've just heard the march, 'Red Castle' otherwise known in its mother tongue as 'Castel Coch' and they are now concluding with a tribute to the great David Bowie.

Sunday 14, 13:49:59

Championship Section:

5. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)

Nuevos Horizontes (Tim Pannell & Craig Saunders)
Wellington (Wilhelm Zehle)
Don't Dount Him Now (Leonard Ballantine)
Soloist: Tim Pannell (cornet)
Life on Mars? (Bowie arr. Pannell)
The Yompers (Craig Sanders)

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On Stage — Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)

Two of the band's own players co-write the opening number which translates as New Horizons and gives an immediate Latin twist to the programme. The segue into March Wellington that follows certainly proves to be one of the more unusual contrasts of the day!

A rousing outing for a barnstormer of a march in Wellington by Zehle that really isn't heard too often these days. It's good to hear it again, giving us the first traditional march of the day and played with appropriate swagger and bombast.

What a lovely, open sound cornet soloist Tim Pannell displays in the second hearing of the day for Ballantine's lovely Don't Doubt Him Now. There are fleeting intonation issues at times, a shame, but the lyrical solo line is delivered with sensitivity.

The home grown talents of principal cornet player Tim Pannell are once again at the fore in a new arrangement of David Bowie's classic Life on Mars. The band seems uncomfortable at times and tuning issues are at times very noticeable, including the last chord.

One of the band's percussionists Craig Sanders provides the Finale in the form of a six movement interlinked suite in tribute to the part played by the Royal Marines in re-claiming the Falkland Islands from Argentinian control. The six short movements are linked together effectively and the band gives a committed performance of a piece that plays to the strengths of its soloists. It doesn't all come off but the spirit of invention is certainly commendable.

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In Performance — Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby) with principal cornet player Tim Pannell to the fore

Sunday 14, 13:44:54

Youth Section:

Reds is bouncing......

No apologies if you can hear the noise in Reds from wherever you are on the camp, its the vibrant atmosphere for the enthusiastic listeners in the audience.

Sunday 14, 13:25:08

Youth Section:

Jeans and co setting the marker...

Youth Brass 2000 are setting a high standard for the rest to follow today. The clarity of their playing is precise and we are listening to a very talented six foot xylophonist (13) who has just brought the house down.

Sunday 14, 13:12:39

Youth Section:

Lots of more fun in store....

After the fun and frolics of the Junior Ensemble, we now have five bands in the Youth Section. It's twenty minutes playing time that has to include a march and a hymn tune.

Youth Brass 2000 under Chris Jeans are kicking this section off....

Sunday 14, 13:12:11

Championship Section:

4. Friary Guildford (Chris King)

With a Little Help from My Friends (Lennon & McCartney)
America (Leonard Bernstein)
People (Jule Styn)
Soloist: Richard Straker
Letter from Home (Pat Metheny)
So Nice to Come Home Too (Cole Porter)
ET (John Williams arr. Chris King)

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On Stage — Friary Guildford (Chris King) with Isabel Daws on solo trombone

Led by Isobel Daws on solo trombone, the trombone section walks onto stage one by one to give us an appetiser of Lennon and McCartney that forms a fine precursor to an arrangement of 'America' from West Side Story with a difference. This has been a very promising start to the band's programme.

The Barbara Streisand classic 'People' is given a starry account on trumpet by Chris Straker. Great playing and despatched with coolness and panache in equal measure.

Pat Metheny's glowing toned miniature is a moment of repose at the heart of Friary Guildford's programme, with Chris king and the band taking every opportunity to exploit the colours and gently shifting textures of Svein Giske's finely honed arrangement.

An augmented trombone section of four players led by Isobel Daws extends across the front of the stage and delivers a stylish, impressively balanced account of the Cole Porter classic from memory. So well done and another clever contrast within what is proving to be a cleverly put together programme.

As Frank Renton describes it, the ultimate friendship movie…and it's a blast back to a true classic of a John Williams film score in which the band's MD has skilfully melded together an array of the film's main themes. It's a finale full of contrasts and caps what has been a thoughtfully and intelligently constructed programme from the Southern Counties band.

Sunday 14, 12:50:26

Junior Ensemble:

Shirland to finish off....

So from the pbuzzers of Gresley (which makes you wonder how long it will be before the instrument is incorporated into a test piece. We've had bottles in pitch for the test piece Extreme Makeover in the past), we are now enjoying Shirland who'll bring this section to a close with their short programme.

Each band has played around ten minutes music. It's been delivered like the youngsters lives depend upon it. Top class commitment.

We won't be predicting a winner here. Yes there will be awards later, but that's for Mark Walters to decide upon.

Sunday 14, 12:32:17

Championship Section:

3. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)

Star Trek/Enter the Galaxies (Paul Lovatt Cooper)
Fly Me to the Moon (Bart Howard)
Soloist: Nick Hudson (trombone)
The Asteroid Belt (Andrew Stephenson)
Glow (Eric Whitacre arr. Jacob Vilhelm Larsen)
To Boldly Go (Peter Graham)

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On Stage — Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)

Desford's space themed programme launches with an introduction from Frank Renton and a fleeting glimpse of 'Star Trek' that isn't without an immediate uncomfortable moment before 'Enter the Galaxies' propels the band fully into its programme.

Here's one of the most controlled journeys through space you are very likely to hear. Nick Hudson's glorious tone and silkily smooth style are exploited to perfection with audience clearly appreciative in its generous response.

Andrew Stephenson's new piece 'The Asteroid Belt' is quite literally a belter as it hurtles along in dramatic, dynamic fashion. It's undeniably cinematic but also highly virtuosic in style and is given a driving, perilously fast account by the band. Great stuff.

'Glow' is an appropriate title given that's exactly what the music does in what is a classic piece of Whitacre musical reflection. The harmonies are typically lush and it's impossible to resist the appeal of Whitacre's music when played with the sensitivity that Desford have lavished on it here.

It's undeniably bold to include a reference to the song 'Feelings' in a piece that forms the conclusion to a space themed programme but it's also quintessential Peter Graham as fragments of Shine as the Light and a handful of other pieces hurtle through distant galaxies in Desford's equally boldly delivered Finale. It was a programme with a clear concept that the audience has responded to vocally.

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In Performance — Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles) with Nick Hudson

Sunday 14, 12:27:34

Junior Ensemble:

What an atmosphere.....

There's a great buzz in Reds with the audience building. There are some people with bleary eyes and sore heads, but they are joined by a host of people who are enjoying just listening to youngsters enjoy themselves.

Gresley have got their players playing pbuzzers — how good is that to just get them used to what they have to do and the creative Jonny Bates has even written a piece involving the buzzers.

It's all in many ways what Butlins is about: enjoyment and have fun.

Sunday 14, 12:20:58

Junior Ensemble:

Wigston's cracking start....

Great stuff from the youngsters of Wigston in Reds with a varied programme that offered the 'Magnificent Seven' through to 'Mr Sandman'.

Sunday 14, 11:47:32

Championship Section:

2. Flowers (David Childs)

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On Stage — Flowers (David Childs) showcase Paul Richards in a gloriously evocative solo.

Blackbird Special (Dirty Dozen Brass Band arr. Reid Gilje)
Let Freedom Ring
Soloist: Paul Richards (soprano)
La Fiesta (Chick Corea arr. Philip Harper)
Nobody Does it Better (Marvin Hamlisch arr. Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
Featuring: Emily Evans (horn) and Joanne Childs (flugel)
Legends (Peter Graham)
Toss the Feathers (trad. arr. Peter Graham)

Flowers re-create the band's Brass in Concert programme of last year with a funk fuelled and choreographed dose of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to open.

Paul Richards is the gloriously evocative soloist in Jonathan Bates tribute to Martin Luther King. What a player! You'll never hear a soprano cornet played with greater sensitivity and lyrical ease than this. Simply magical stuff.

The programme gets an injection of Latin rhythm laced with a 1970's feel as a succession of soloists take to the front of the stage to despatch their solos.…with some more successful than others.

Flowers' tribute to the late roger Moore has an appropriately feminine touch about it as a quartet of the band's ladies, including a mellifluously toned Joanne Childs on flugel and Emily Evans on horn, take the flowing melodic lines of Marvin Hamlisch's classic and deliver them with style.

Drawn from On the Shoulders of Giants Peter Graham's somewhat unlikely yet undeniably effective meeting of Anton Bruckner and Sousaesque Americanism is given a rousing if not totally pristine account to round off Flowers' programme before the accent switches from the USA to Dublin in Toss the Feathers and a fleeting toe tapping final number that has the audience cheering the band, now lined up across the front of the stage.

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In Performance — Flowers (David Childs) has the audience cheering with the band lined up across the front of the stage.

Sunday 14, 11:40:03

Youth Section:


Venue: Reds
Sunday 14th January
Commences after Ensemble Section

Programme of Music not to exceed 20 minutes but must include a march and a hymn tune
Adjudicator: Mark Walters

1. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
2. Enderby Youth (Trevor Hounsome)
3. Shirland Youth (TBA)
4. Gresley Colliery Youth (Duncan Jackson)
5. 3BA Academy Brass (TBA)

Sunday 14, 11:38:36

Ensemble Section:


Venue: Reds
Sunday 14th January
Commences: 12.00 noon

Programme of Music not to exceed 10 minutes but must include a hymn tune
Adjudicator: Mark Walters

1. Wigston Enterprise Band (Matthew Davies)
2. Gresley Colliery Youth (Duncan Jackson)
3. Shirland Youth (Lyndon Cooper)

Sunday 14, 11:34:59

Junior & Youth Sections:

Getting Ready for the off...

At 12 noon in Reds there will be just as much fun to be had as in the Championship Section with the Juniors and Youth bands competing in two competitions.

Mark Walters will be sat in the open to judge everything, so come and have a listen.

Sunday 14, 11:01:35

1. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)


Bali Ha'i (arr. Colin Skinner)
Don't Doubt Him Now (Ballantine arr. Woodland)
Soloist: Cliff Pask
Alone Again Naturally (Gilbert O'Sullivan arr. Leonard Paul)
Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra (John Williams)
Stars (Eriks Esenvalds)
Shostakovich Symphony No. 12

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On Stage — Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)

South Pacific with a hint of Stan Kenton courtesy of Colin Skinner opens Redbridge's programme in bracing style, complete with opening dissonances and a rampant rhythm section.

Cliff Pask is the cornet soloist in the lyrical classic 'Don't Doubt Him Now' and demonstrates a wonderfully mellow tone and a gentle, fluidly lucid delivery of the melody line.

Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'Alone Again Naturally' probably shouldn't work for brass band but when the arrangement comes courtesy of Mnozil Brass's Leonhard Paul it's time to think again. Three flugels, three trombones and a lone Eb bass give us something quite different, replete with bluesy harmonies and a laid back feel.

Echoes of 'Harry Potter' in the form of Indiana Jones takes the programme in a different direction as Andrew Wainwright's arrangement of John Williams gives a touch of cinematic fun that trips along in engaging fashion.

Glowing sounds and lush harmonies emanate from a starlit stage as the back row cornet section accompanies the band on wine glasses….it's a strangely evocative and involving sound world aided by deeply felt music arranged superbly by Phillip Littlemore. It's a shame that the balance was a little too weighted towards the glasses but this has held the audience enraptured.

The grave opening bass tones herald a powerful, cruelly driven account of Shostakovitch's October 1917. We can sense the crushing power of the revolution in its full force as the palace is stormed aided by biting, snarling sounds from around the band before the final push. What a great conclusion to a very well thought out programme packed with contrasts.

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In Performance — Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise) on a starlit stage as the back row cornet section accompanies the band on wine glasses

Sunday 14, 10:36:20

Championship Section:


Music Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse
Entertainment Adjudicators: Kevin Wadsworth and Paul Andrews

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Music Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse with Entertainment Adjudicators: Paul Andrews and Kevin Wadsworth

1. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
2. Flowers (David Childs)
3. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)
4. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
5. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
6. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
7. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
8. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Sunday 14, 10:24:37

2019 test pieces:

From Benvenuto to Brexit...

Lots of discussion about the test piece choices for 2019 — with widespread agreement that Stan Lippeatt has given potential competitors plenty to think about — and enjoy.

The classic Frank Wright arrangement of 'Benvenuto Cellini' is one of a triptych that also includes the equally testing Dvorak 'Carnival' courtesy of Geoffrey Brand's sharp invested arrangement (a tester for the fingers) and 'Rienzi' by Wagner arranged by Howard Johns — not the Lorrimer one used at the Areas a few years back.

'The Force of Destiny' and 'Le Corsair' will test the First Section contenders for certain, whilst 'Academic Festival' and 'The Frogs of Aristophanes' are gems that will take some playing in the Second Section.

'Egmont' and 'Rule Britannia' (William Rimmer) will keep the Third Section bands happy — the latter especially so if they are Brexiteers, and Nigel Farage is in the box, whilst 'Overture to Youth' and 'A Saddleworth Overture' will keep the Fourth Section contenders on their toes.

Fine choices for audience friendly banding — and that is what Butlins is all about.

Sunday 14, 10:07:25

Championship Section:

Welcome back...

We are sure everyone had a fantastic time last night thanks to the great entertainment that was put on — from the Black Dyke Reunion band in Centre Stage to the great rhythm and blues band in Reds.

There were also plenty of bands celebrating their success too — especially the winners in each section, Eccles, Haydock, Hoover Bolton and Stamford. Three others will join them today with the Ensemble, Youth and Championship Section titles being decided.

The top section contenders kick off at 11.00am with the cracking youth events at 12 noon.

Saturday 13, 20:37:47


First Section:

Test Piece: Rennaisance (Peter Graham)
Adjudicators: Martin Heartfield & Nicholas Garman

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1st Place — Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)

1. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
2. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
3. Skelmanthorpe (Charles Fyffe)
4. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
5. Blackburn & Darwen (Tariq Ahmed)
6. Sandhurst Silver (Andrew Porter)
7. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
8. Bedford Town (Steve Phillips)
9. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)
10. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
11. Foresters Brass (John Davis)
12. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
13. Enderby (Simon Gresswell)
14. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
15. Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Colum O' Shea)
16. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
17. Old Silkstone (Owen Wedgewood)
18. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
19. Colchester Band (David Maddocks)
20. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
21. Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
22. Alder Valley (Lee Woodward)
23. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)

Withdrew: East of Engand Co-operative (Nigel Cooper)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Strata Brass

Second Section:

Test Piece: Variations for Brass Band (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Adjudicators: Paul Andrews & Alan Morrison

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1st Place — Haydock (Mark Quinn)

1. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
2. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
3. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
4. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
5. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
6. Besses Boys (James Holt)
7. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)
8. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
9. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
10. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
11. Middleton (Martyn Evans)
12. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
13. Old Hall Brass (John North)
14. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
15. City of Coventry Brass (Stephen Cooper)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Haydock

Third Section:

Test Piece: Henry V (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Adjudicators: Anne Crookston & Kevin Wadsworth

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1st Place — Hoover (Bolton) (Craig Mann)

1. Hoover (Bolton) (Craig Mann)
2. Dodworth Colliery MW (Eliot J. Darwin)
3. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
4. Emley Brass (Garry Hallas)
5. Epping Forest (Mark Ager)
6. Dronfield Genquip (Damien Wileman)
7. Stalybridge Old (David W Ashworth)
8. Shirland Welfare (Lyndon Cooper)
9. City of Norwich (Andrew Craze)
10. Amington (Malcolm Read)
11. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
12. Ellington Colliery (Clare Winter)
13. Dinnington Colliery (Lyndon Bolt)
14. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
15. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Dodworth Colliery MW

Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Second Suite in F (Gustav Holst)
Adjudicators: Allan Holdsworth & Mark Walters

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1st Place — Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)

1. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
2. Sale Brass (John Anderson)
3. Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)
4. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
5. Deepcar Brass (Cathryn Rogers)
6. Maltby Miners Welfare (Terry Clifford)
7. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
8. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)
9. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)
10. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
11. Tingley Brass (John Belton)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Maltby Miners Welfare

Saturday 13, 20:17:24

Saturday in Skegness

A photo diary...

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A blast from the past?

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Dave Lea in performance with Jaguar Land Rover

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Martin Brint performing with Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

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A stern Bob Childs taking Woodfalls

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Bedford Town get ready through the door window

Saturday 13, 16:32:04

Championship Section:

It's all over in the first leg of the Championship Section and Philip Sparke's 'Year of the Dragon' has certainly been the piece of the day with five performances, ahead of just two performances of 'Contest Music' and one of Marcus Venables' 'Concerto No. 1 for Brass Band'c

We have a feeling that there could be some divided opinions in the hall as to which band is taking the lead into the entertainment leg of the contest tomorrow, but there is certainly still everything to play for on Sunday for the Championship Section bands with a whopping £10,000 first prize at stake.

We are going with a top four going into day two of:

1. Desford Colliery
2. Flowers
3. Virtuosi GUS
4. Redbridge Brass

Saturday 13, 16:20:03

First Section:

The end...

It has been an interesting and at times frustrating six hours contesting to say the least. A piece that was not beyond bands today, but bizarrely caused a number a few too many problems, which will encourage them to dust themselves down and go again before The Regionals. Peter Graham's music tells the MD, player all they need to know, but its been interrupted in a different way, countless times today.

The dynamics were pushed by many, beyond written and those alone could cost places and an increase to the band's bank balance.

Those that opted for less is more could fair well today. There may not be much in it at the top end though between Eccles, Stannington and Sandhurst with the likes of Oldham (Lees), Enderby and Knottingley scrapping it out for top 6 places.

4BR Prediction:

1. Eccles Borough
2. Stannington
3. Sandhurst
4. Oldham (Lees)
5. Enderby
6. Knottingley

Saturday 13, 16:14:51

Championship Section:

8. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

A rhythmically incisive opening and there's a spiky edge about the initial bars. Just tends to the aggressive at times but it has both purpose and drive. The tempo works well and the ending is effective. Just one or two minor tuning issues in the early stages.

Relaxed solo trombone in the central movement with the solo being played a touch quieter than some today. Slightly shaky opening to the chorale but it settles and the dynamic level is good. The MD measures the music well and the pacing to the climax is effective, with the dynamic controlled. A fine repose of the trombone solo and the closing bars are well handled.

Runs at the opening of the final movement are not totally uniform but the tempos are again good and energy is evident. There are moments of scrappy ensemble along the way which fleetingly undermine the momentum but there are also some excellent individual contributions (solo cornet). The ending is again well paced and leads to an exciting final flourish.

Overall: Solid and competent account of Year of the Dragon from Jaguar Land Rover with only brief moments of ensemble and tuning detracting.

Saturday 13, 15:52:35

Championship Section:

7. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

The opening bar is not rhythmically clear and there is a spare entry from the cornet section in the first few bars. It recovers but this doesn't quite have the greatest clarity of the 'Dragons' we have heard so far today. As it approaches the close of the first movement the ensemble is ocassionally ragged.

Tuning is problematic in the opening bars of the slow movement. Solo trombone gets through generally unscathed and the MD takes the dynamic level down impressively in the chorale although not without cracks becoming evident and individual voices sometimes too prominent in the balance. The climax is effective if not over wrought with emotion and tuning is not consistent in the closing bars.

Detail in the finale is often scrambled with clarity often suffering as a result. Individual entries are not always clean but the band drives on to a solid conclusion.

Overall: Some uncomfortable moments for Haverhill Silver with rhythmic clarity and tuning being the most problematic factors in the band's Year of the dragon. Full marks for effort though.

Saturday 13, 15:34:16

Championship Section:

6. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

Quality opening and there are no histrionics about this. It motors on and the dynamics are effective, notably in the final bars which fade away so effectively.

The central movement is the slowest of the three 'Dragons' we have heard so far today, and although the trombone soloist does well, this perhaps just needs to move along and flow a little more. Impressive lower dynamics in the chorale a the atmosphere here is so effective as the dynamic level builds and the MD shapes the music with care. A fine climax, although the final reprise suffers from tuning issues and sight hesitation from soloist.

The final movement opens bracingly, although the inner detail and rhythmic subtleties are not always heard with absolute clarity. Good percussion and bells, but the actual bell notes are not entirely uniform as the dynamics increase and there is something astray in the final couple of bars.

Overall: A creditable performance from Friary Guildford, full of energy and with a bluesy, if slightly slow, central movement at its heart.

Saturday 13, 15:18:55

First Section:

Entering the final Renaissance hurdle...

We are almost at the end of the contest with just the last few bands to play. We are wondering though if some bands will look back on today thinking of missed opportunities?

Oldham really nailed the piece, but had blemishes (including sop having minus blindness on last note!) that could count against them, whilst the trio of Bedford, Old Silkstone and Foresters offered lots of potential that was never quite maintained after promising starts.

Saturday 13, 15:05:06

Championship Section:

5. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton)

A convincing opening and the tempo is spot on the money. It possibly needs a touch more underlying urgency at times but the playing and interpretation possess both character and poise.

Sonorous trombones to open the central movement, but we don't quite feel that distant, austere detached atmosphere that is crucial to this most sparse and exposed of slow movements. The textures warm impressively as the dynamics level builds and as it subsides once again the discords are finely enunciated. Solo cornet does well and the top C sharp is achieved comfortably leading to well handled close that fades finely to silence.

The final movement opens well and we sense the underlying momentum of the music. This is fine playing but it that vital of electricity that we don't quite get. The approach to the conclusion is fine and the ending effective.

Overall: A quality account of Wilfred Heaton's classic from Redbridge but perhaps not quite enough to propel it to the top of the pile today.

Saturday 13, 15:00:41

Second Section:

A cultured bear trap that took its fair snap of victims...

An engaging if at times variable contest closes with a trio of hard working accounts — each with merit in their approach even if the end results were mixed.

Besses produced a wonderful sound when they kept a lid on things, but the agressive intent spoilt things for us. What a pity as the MD had this one bang to rights.

So too Mark McLaughlin with Horhsam — who brought out the subtle changes in tempi and dynamics with aplomb. Just the problems with intonation and annoying slips took the glow off things, whilst a hard working Greenfield gave it their all in battling through with purpose and enthusiasm to the end.

4BR Prediction:

1. Haydock
2. Whitworth Vale & Healey
3. Milton Keynes
4. Pemberton Old

Dark Horse: Eagley

Saturday 13, 14:48:17

Third Section:

What a fine close and an English victory...

What a fine end to the contest, with a trio of performances that all brought something a bit different to the table.

Shirland deliver possibly the best opening of the contest day with a well weighted sound and good intonation. There were a couple of slight individual slips in the more exposed passages but nothing major. A fine ending means that for us this has to be right in the mix.

Emley deliver a powerful account. There's no doubting the energy and direction, but this perhaps got a little harsh in places. Sop certainly let us know what he was capable of! A well directed performance that just had the sparkle taken off by the excessive dynamic.

Ellington just fell into the same traps as many others. A well directed account was just undone by tuning and little slips around the ensemble.

Overall, it's been a very engaging contest that reminded us how difficult this piece can be.

No bands really struggled with the technical aspects, but all had moments of poor intonation. If the pair in the box are looking for the same things as us, then some will have just spoiled their chances by trying too hard!

4BR Prediction:

1. Shirland Welfare
2. Hoover Bolton
3. Amington

Dark Horse: Dinnington

Saturday 13, 14:45:38

Championship Section:

4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

A driving, dynamic opening progresses well, although there are one or two little slips that just get in the way. The momentum and forward motion certainly impress though and the dynamics are handled so effectively, leading to a fine close.

Solo trombone is oh so stylish and sings the melody with refinement, particularly at low dynamic levels which are beautifully done. As the chorale commences it could be a touch more hushed perhaps. We want to be holding our breath here, but the increasing intensity of emotion is certainly powerfully done with the climax effective. There are occasional fleeting hesitations in the closing stages but the final panel opens well.

This really drives on and again the energy impresses. The detail sometimes appears rushed but the pacing is well handled towards the close and its a breathlessly exciting dash to the final bar.

Overall: Another Year of the Dragon of energy and rhythmic propulsion. Not without the odd fragilities along the way though and detail was not always pristinely clear.

Saturday 13, 14:25:08

First Section:

Two thirds of the contest complete, well almost...

We have had sixteen performances so far with just seven to go, although originally it was eight with East of England drawn ten.

This segment of the contest has been a real pick and mix affair, with only a couple getting close to delivering performances that really caught the ear. Some bands will be glad this is not the Regionals and they have six weeks to get into shape.

Both Knottingley and Eccles both delivered impressive readings, but where will they finish today we wonder?

Top 3:

1. Sandhurst Silver
2. Eccles Borough
3. Stannington

Saturday 13, 14:20:55

Championship Section:

3. Woodfalls (Robert Childs)
Concerto No. 1 for Brass Band (Marcus Venables)

So we have heard all three choices of test piece from the first three bands as Woodfalls open Canadian Marcus Venables' Concerto in bracing, bright and breezy fashion. The style is rhythmic and accessible with more than a hint of Sparke, and the band is committing itself to this impressively, driving on with taxing solo parts generally despatched adequately although occasionally on the edge.

The energy dissipates into a lyrically involving, but slow movement in which the intertwining instrumental lines are finely done. A little more transparency is needed but this is a piece that presents very different challenges to those that have preceded it.

The final movement is breathless and played out with bold, bracing colours and rhythmic drive. Again the textural layers and transparency through the band are not perhaps always as clear as it could be, but it's a big ending that shakes the rafters and bristles with power.

Overall: Playing of undoubted energy and commitment from Woodfalls on a piece that provides an interesting contrast from the familiar.

Saturday 13, 14:12:44

Third Section:

Still up for grabs here Henry...

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This year's lucky robin courtesy of Dinnington!

A few slightly different accounts now, but all interesting.

Brighton & Hove City give an engaging take that could have been right up there if the changes in style had settled a little quicker than they did.

Both Pleasley and Dinnington then give performances that sat back a little on the dynamics — and be fitted form it. This improved the tuning in the opening sections and it was easier for the detail to come across.

Plenty to admire in both performances and they may just be in the frame if the adjudicators are looking for the same things as myself!!!!

Three bands to go and it's still up for grabs.

Top 3:

1. Hoover Bolton
2. Amington
3. East Coast Brass

Saturday 13, 14:08:55

Second Section:

Variations on Variations...

A trio of engaging performances from an excellent Haydock, a slightly misfiring Horwich and a cultured Eagley.

Haydock set out their stall with confident vigour — led with insight by their MD Mark Quinn. Subtle changes in dynamic and tempi were heard from start to finish in a performance that will surely make a mark with the judges.

Horwich had their moments good and not so good, with the former outweighing the latter, whilst there much to enjoy with Eagley — with a reading of VW culture from the MD. Just a pity about the intonation and balance issues.

Top 3:

1. Haydock
2. Whitworth Vale & Healey
3. Milton Keynes

Saturday 13, 13:56:32

Championship Section:

2. Flowers (David Childs)
The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke)

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David Childs on stage with Flowers

The opening could be tighter but the excitement factor is high as the first movement progresses and the central section dances with some lovely dynamic subtleties and inflections. Not without a few tiny insecurities within the textures but the playing is generally clean and impresses in its energy and rhythmic drive.

Trombone solo opens well in the second movement but hesitates momentarily at top of register. Lovely dynamics though and we feel the pathos and emotion in the music. Beautiful use of the low dynamics at the heart of the movement and and as the dynamic builds so does the emotion. Fine soprano and the reprise of the trombone solo is finely done leading to an impressive opening to the finale.

This sets off at a blistering pace but the detail, particularly at lower dynamics levels, is always evident. This is building all the time and the pacing to the close is superb as the excitement levels raise. What an ending!! Bristling with energy and vigour.

Overall: Detail, energy and excitement from end to end. A Year of the Dragon that breathed power from Flowers.

Saturday 13, 13:46:10

First Section:

A cooling off period...

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1st Section Registration

We have just heard three slightly indifferent accounts as the battle for First Section honours hots up.

That said, its also cooled off a touch on the quality stakes at the moment and this contest is very much up for grabs from one of the last 8 bands to take to the stage. Don't quite think Ibstock, Harborough and Alder Valley will be in the mix today, although they can look forward to better days at the Area.

The atmosphere in the hall has flattened a touch too, but the lure of the elite bands in Centre Stage is bound to pull them in.

Top 3:

1. Sandhurst
2. Stannington
3. Skelmanthorpe

Saturday 13, 13:34:56

Championship Section:

1. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)
Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton)

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Nick Hudson with Desford Colliery open the Championship Section

A refined opening to the first movement with thoughtfully controlled dynamics — and this immediately has an air of confidence and interpretative integrity.

There's a sense of musical dignity that impresses as the movement progresses. Just the slightest of cornet slips reveal fleeting intonation issues but the pacing is masterful and this builds so well to a powerful but controlled climax ahead of a delicately despatched close.

Fine trombones and the austere atmosphere and sparse textures are achieved with aplomb. Just the briefest moments of fragility and tuning in individual lines but there's an eerie, distant and detached style to this that suits the music so well. Principal cornet does well and the ending is effective.

There's an urgency and energy about the opening of the final movement and the MD shapes the music so well. This is an intelligent and finely thought through account. Great use of the dynamics and the shifting moods and colours are played out so well and again, the control and shaping allows the symphonic structure of the music to shine through.

Overall: A convincing and engaging account of Contest Music from Desford, so intelligently put together and despatched.

Saturday 13, 13:29:54

Third Section:

Fine lines...

There’s a fine line between powerful playing and overblowing, and some bands are pushing the limits in the fanfare sections here. It's not really needed on this piece.

There have been some great band sounds, led by solid bass sections, but the overblowing is leading to intonation problems.

Stalybridge took a while to settle — which spoilt an account that showed great potential. A nearly one. Epping Forest started out well but insecurities set in and it never recovered, whilst East Coast Brass produced a solid account that was full of style and power.

Again, it was on the verge of being too loud to let the articulation speak, but just stayed on the safe side of things.

We’re still waiting to hear an account that has good tuning combined with clear articulation and effects, but it's been enjoyable and engaging contesting.

Top 3:

1. Hoover Bolton
2. Amington
3. East Coast Brass

Saturday 13, 13:18:18

Second Section:

Good intentions...

The contest continues with so many good musical intentions from the bands and MDs, although not quite suggesting that anyone has quite fully mastered the score.

The closest for us came from a fine effort by Whitworth & Healey — led with mature understanding by Jonathan Binns. This was solid no nonsense stuff — and a credit to good musical common sense.

Middletown fell into a few too many self administered traps to really feel comfortable — although when it did click it had real warmth and balance.

Waterbeach couldn't quite deliver with the consistency a super reading from MD Andrew Kershaw deserved. His was perhaps the closest we have come to hearing the essence of Vaughan Williams seep through the music. What a pity it was blighted by the errors.

Top 3:

1. Whitworth Vale & Healey
2. Milton Keynes
3. Pemberton Old

Saturday 13, 13:03:52

Third Section:

Henry V continues to challenge in battle...

We are racing through the bands here but it's been very good. Very litte percussion means minimal set up time so we’re managing four bands an hour. Great music too!

Crystal Palace deliver a well thought out account that just suffered with individual slips. Plenty to admire but just lacked that extra sparkle, whilst Hoover Bolton give a very good account that puts them right up there. Lots of style and best intonation on the opening so far.

Dronfield bring a lot of power in another performance full of style, but individual slips were all too apparent and will have cost. Tuning issues are really giving so much away.

Top 3:

1. Hoover Bolton
2. Amington
3. Dronfield

Saturday 13, 12:58:20

First Section:

Has Sandhurst raised the winning standard...

The contest resumed after a short comfort break with a tasty account of Renaissance from Sandhurst Silver and Andrew Porter.

Then we have a touch of confusion with East of England pulling out although it was still announced by the MC that it was band 10 on stay correct of course but the multimedia screen was right stating that it was draw number 11.

It was Rushden which didn't quite come off under Adele Hudson whilst band 12 Gresley never maintained the potential it offered.

Top 3:

1. Sandhurst Silver
2. Stannington
3. Skelmanthorpe

Saturday 13, 12:48:41

Championship Section:


Saturday 12th January
Draw: 11.30am
Commences at conclusion of the Fourth Section

Test Piece: Own Choice from Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton); The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke); Concerto No 1 for Brass Band (Marcus Venables)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse

1. Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)
2. Flowers (David Childs)
3. Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)
4. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
5. Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
6. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
7. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
8. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)

Saturday 13, 12:44:55

Fourth Section:

A great Holst taster...

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Stamford's Basses exiting Warm-Up

It's been a a really enjoyable Fourth Section contest to start things off here at Cebtre Stage. Congratulations go to Stan Lippeatt and his team for the choice and to the bands and MDs who tried their very best to capture the light style and character of the music.

The best were very good, and the rest not far behind.

4BR Prediction:

1. Stamford Brass
2. Maltby Miners
3. Sale Brass
4. Deepcar

Dark Horse: Thurcroft Welfare

Saturday 13, 12:43:20

First Section:

The first drop out of 2018...

It appears that whilst East of England band was drawn number 10 at the draw, they are not here today which ,means a field of twenty three now.

It was announced from stage it was band 10 about to start, but it was in fact band 11, Rushden.

Saturday 13, 12:37:03

Fourth Section:

Good intentions pay off...

Once again the admirable approach of the conductors to the score have been rewarded here. Holst demands a lightness of touch and that is what we got with both Sherwood and Maltby, even if the interpretations were markedly different.

The wide layout of Sherwood with two sops worked nicely with super troms a feature, whilst there was confidence and a coherence about Maltby from the word go — with the euph a pearler. Good stuff.

The last band on was Deepcar who also gave us a performance of real musical merit, although it was a little inconsistent in places. Just a pity the intonation wavered, but what a Trojan tuba team.

Saturday 13, 12:16:13

Second Section:

VW emissions raise an eyebrow or two...

A trio of hard working performances from Crofton, Old Hall Brass and Pemberton Old Wigan DW B have highlighted just how hard 'Variations for Brass Band' is.

These are three solid, well led outfits at this level, but they really found it to be right at the edge of their capabilities. Some lovely stuff in places from all of them though — with Crofton warm and rounded if a little uneven in their execution and just losing concentration at times.

It was followed by an oddly engaging one from Old Hall — a very specific interpretation from John North that raised an eyebrow or two you suspect in the box, whilst Pemberton had a refinement and cultured ensemble sound that suited the music, but was marred by too many little errors and moments of unease.

Bravo to all the MDs so far though — they have really tried to bring the style of music through.

Top 3:

1. Milton Keynes
2. Pemberton Old
3. Crofton

Saturday 13, 12:02:17

Third Section:

Henry V proving a noble challenge...

Three bands in here at the Crazy Horse venue and Henry V is proving to be a difficult piece to overcome. The intonation in the opening phrases is showing bands up, and this could be a key feature throughout the contest.

Amington set a solid marker from the dreaded number 1 draw and so far still hold the advantage. Power was well balanced with lots of contrast and effect. City of Norwich just didn’t settle quick enough — and what a pity as it so much style. Dodworth also delivered a decent performance but tuning issues were apparent throughout and just spoilt was such a well laid out approach by the MD.

So far then for us...

Top 3:

1. Amington
2. Dodworth
3. City of Norwich

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday 13, 11:57:14

First Section:

A third of the way through...

We have reached the first comfort break after band 8 in Reds. It's been a slow burner with a mixed bag of renditions so far. It's not the hardest piece for this level, but its sorting them out and as already mentioned, some of the dynamics are being pushed.

There's a good atmosphere that has built over the two hours though, with more bums on seats from those who have already played, or listening ahead of their performance or floating between sections.

In the last two though we heard a really good show from Skelmanthorpe under Charles Fyffe — and yes, the audience did go bananas (sorry but couldn't resist that one).

Tariq Ahmed (not Neil Samuel in programmes) led Blackburn & Darwen through a measured reading that offered a lot of potential, but did it resonate in the box?

Top 3:

1. Stannington
2. Skelmanthorpe
3. Colchester

Saturday 13, 11:57:11

Fourth Section:

Two different approaches to Holst...

It's been very intersting to hear the different approaches taken by the MDs here this morning — and it was summed up with the contrasting takes of Whitwell and Tingley.

Ryan Stacey gave the music pulse and pace with Whitwell especially at the start and it made the music feel light and breezy, with the flugel a real star. John Belton and Tingley were a little more reserved — and although nerves and errors were heard it was well delivered, built on a solid bass foundation.

Saturday 13, 11:43:16

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Championship Section:

Borrowed players....

Yep — some bands have been rumoured to have borrowed some extra help today...

Saturday 13, 11:28:26

First Section:

Getting into Renaissance...

It's been a bit of a slow burner for us here in Reds this morning, but the bands are finally getting to grips with Graham's piece.

Stannington and Derek Renshaw wasn't flawless, but they didn't half give the piece a really good go with lots of control and attention to the dynamics. North of England challenger Dunston perhaps left its best in the rehearsal, but there was lots to admire from Shirebrook under MD, Colum O' Shea.

One thing that has struck us early doors though is dynamics. Some bands are pushing things a little more than written. Careful folks, the judges can hear every note from their box.

There should be a quick comfort break after band 8, all being well.

Top 3:

1. Stannington
2. Colchester
3. Shirebrook

Saturday 13, 11:23:19

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A relaxed Scott Lloyd before the action started with Ifton....

Second Section:

It's been a bit of a varied assortment here at the Royal Arthur Suite — and we have already heard that despite its age, 'Variations for Brass Band' remains a very stern test.

The marker came from an inconsistent Ifton that at times played with stylish intent but were undermined by small, noticeable errors, whilst Milton Keynes gave a splendidly confident performance. Their MD, Jonathan Mott used all his years of experience to ensure the nuanced differences in tempo and dynamic were displayed.

Finally, came City of Coventry with another inconsistent effort, but one that also was rich in stylistic intent and warm band sounds. Just tired to close.

Top 3:

1. Milton Keynes
2. City of Coventry
3. Ifton Colliery

Saturday 13, 11:16:09

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Sale Brass take on Holst in Centre Stage

Fourth Section:

Stamford bridge the gap...

More performances of merit and musicality here at Centre Stage — and there was much to enjoy with both Royston and Stamford.

Steve Earley's band top and tailed things with real aplomb, although the inner movements just didn't sit as comfortably (despite superb trom), whilst Stamford upped the ante with a performance that had bags of style and verve. Fine ensembe aided by a perc team that added just the right texture and drive.

A fine choice of music is bringin out the best in the contenders here.

Top 3:

1. Stamford
2. Sale Brass
3. Great Yarmouth

Saturday 13, 11:06:55

Second Section:

Standing room only...

Great music attracts good brass band crowds it seems — and its standing room only at the moment at the Royal Arthur Suite. It's nice cosy too.

The judges have the type of whistle that could command and a sheep dog as far away as Leicester. That's a real thunderer lads...

Saturday 13, 11:04:52

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Dunstone wait their Renaissance turn

First Section:

Three intriguing ones...

We have had some intriguing accounts so far in Reds with bands certainly blowing away those post Christmas cobwebs.

Colchester looked delighted at the end of their well structured offering that grew in confidence as it went along, whilst Hebdon Bridge and Cawston were a touch hit and miss at times.

Saturday 13, 10:49:28

Fourth Section:

Holst a little more testing...

A pair of contracting performances to follow here at Centre Stage from Banovallum Brass and Great Yarmouth.

What a pity a few too many little slips and nerves showed with Steve Ingham's band as they certainly had the style and intent from the start, whilst Great Yarmouth showed a fine sense of musical unity from start to finish under Colin Swaep. Confident playing that — led by a splendid euphonium.

It's becoming a very enjoyable contest this...

Saturday 13, 10:44:19

Third Section:


Venue: Crazy Horse
Commence: 11.00am

Test Piece: Henry V — Ralph Vaughan Williams
Adjudicators: Anne Crookston and Kevin Wadsworth

1. Amington (Malcolm Read)
2. City of Norwich (Andrew Craze)
3. Dodworth Colliery MW (Eliot J. Darwin)
4. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
5. Hoover (Bolton) (Criag Mann))
6. Dronfield Genquip (Damien Wileman)
7. Stalybridge Old (David W Ashworth)
8. Epping Forest (Mark Ager)
9. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
10. Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
11. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
12. Dinnington Colliery (Lyndon Bolt)
13. Shirland Welfare (Lyndon Cooper)
14. Emley Brass (Garry Hallas)
15. Ellington Colliery (Clare Winter)

Saturday 13, 10:27:49

Second Section:


Venue: Royal Arthur Suite
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 10.30am

Test Piece: Variations for Brass Band (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Adjudicators: Paul Andrews and Alan Morrison

1. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
2. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
3. City of Coventry Brass (Stephen Cooper)
4. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
5. Old Hall Brass (John North)
6. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
7. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
8. Middleton (Martyn Evans)
9. Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)
10. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
11. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
12. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
13. Besses Boys (James Holt)
14. Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
15. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)

Saturday 13, 10:26:35

Second Section:

Ready for a few variations...

A stern test awaits the bands in the Second Section with the classic 'Variations for Brass Band' by Vaughan Williams. First heard 60 years ago at the Albert Hall, it remains one heck of a test of musical character, poise and warm middle band sound beauty.

It wouldn't have been out of place here in the top section, so let's see how the 15 keen contenders here cope with its timeless musicality.

Saturday 13, 10:24:39

2019 contest date and test pieces

The date for next year's Butlins Festival will be Friday 11th January through to Monday 14 January with the contests Taking place on the Saturday and Sunday.

The test pieces have been announced with Music Advisor, Stan Lippeatt chossing some golden oldies.

Championship Section:
Choice of Benvenuto Cellini (Berlioz arr Frank Wright); Carnival Overture (Dvorak arr Geoffrey Brand); Rienzi (Richard Wagner arr H Johns)

First Section:
Choice of La Forza el Destino (Verdi arr Frank Wright); Le Corsair (Berlioz arr Geoffrey Brand)

Second Section:
Choice of Academic Festival Overture (Brahams arr Denis Wright); The Frogs of Aristophones (Bantock arr Frank Wright)

Third Section:
Choice of Egmont Overture (Eric Ball); Overture to Rule Britannia (William Rimmer)

Fourth Section:
Choice of Overture to Youth (Eric Hughes); A Saddleworth Overture (Richards)

Saturday 13, 10:15:06

Fourth Section:

Two crackers to open...

Well we have got off to a great start here in the Fourth Section with two performances from Thurcroft Welfare and Sale Brass that had precision and plenty of detail.

It's a diffuclt piece this, but Matthew Wright with Thurcroft captured the style right from the start and there was a boldness and verve about Sale Brass led by John Anderson that brought character to each of the movements.

More like this please...

Saturday 13, 09:56:46

First Section:

Let the 2018 contesting season commence

Off we go then with the First Section here in Skegness and good luck to all bands this weekend. Remember to enjoy yourselves, its a hobby, after all.

Saturday 13, 09:52:41

Fourth Section:


Venue: Centre Stage
Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 9.30am

Test Piece: Second Suite in F (Gustav Holst)
Adjudicators: Allan Holdsworth and Mark Walters

1. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
2. Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
3. Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)
4. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
5. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
6. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
7. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)
8. Tingley Brass (John Belton)
9. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)
10. Maltby Miners Welfare (Terry Clifford)
11. Deepcar Brass (Cathryn Rogers)

Saturday 13, 09:51:50

Fourth Section

Ready for the off in Centre Stage

The last minute adjustments are being put in place,before action starts at 10am.

Saturday 13, 09:44:26

First Section


Venue: Reds
Draw: 9.00am
Commence: 10.00am

Test Piece: Renaissance (Peter Graham)
Adjudicators: Martin Heartfield & Nicholas Garman

1. Colchester Band (David Maddocks)
2. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
3. Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
4. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
5. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)
6. Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Colum O' Shea)
7. Skelmanthorpe (Charles Fyffe)
8. Blackburn & Darwen (Tariq Ahmed)
9. Sandhurst Silver (Andrew Porter)
11. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
12. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
13. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
14. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
15. Alder Valley (Lee Woodward)
16. Knottinglley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
17. Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
18. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
19. Bedford Town (Steve Phillips)
20. Old Silkstone (Owen Wedgewood)
21. Foresters Brass (John Davis)
22. Enderby (Simon Gresswell)
23. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)

Withdrawn: 10 East of England (Nigel Cooper)

Saturday 13, 09:43:34

First Section

Morning from Reds....

The last minute setting up is going on in Reds ahead of the 10am start.

The judges, Martin Heartfield and Nicholas Garman are in the box so we can post you the draw.

Saturday 13, 08:31:03

Competing bands

The competing bands for the 2018 Butlins Mineworkers Festival from the Skyline Resort, Skegness, 13-14 January.

Championship Section:

Saturday 12th January
Draw: 11.30am
Commences at conclusion of the Fourth Section

Test Piece: Own Choice from Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton); The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke); Concerto No 1 for Brass Band (Marcus Venables)

Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Ian Porthouse

Desford Colliery (LCITWF) (Michael Fowles)
Flowers (David Childs)
Friary Guildford (Chris King)
Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
Redbridge Brass (Jeremy Wise)
Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)
Woodfalls (Dr Robert Childs)

First Section:

Venue: Reds
Draw: 9.00am
Commence: 10.00am

Test Piece: Renaissance (Peter Graham)
Adjudicators: Martin Heartfield & Nicholas Garman

Alder Valley (Lee Woodward)
Bedford Town (Steve Phillips)
Blackburn & Darwen (Neil Samuel)
Cawston (Leigh Sharpe)
Chalford (Steve Tubb)
Colchester Band (David Maddocks)
Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodgson)
East of Engand Co-operative (Nigel Cooper)
Eccles Borough (Mareika Gray)
Enderby (Simon Gresswell)
Foresters Brass (John Davis)
Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)
Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
Old Silkstone (Owen Wedgewood)
Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
Sandhurst Silver (Andrew Porter)
Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Colum O' Shea)
Skelmanthorpe (Jim Davis)
Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)

Second Section:

Venue: Royal Arthur Suite
Draw: 8.30am
Commences: 10.30am

Test Piece: Variations for Brass Band (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Adjudicators: Paul Andrews and Alan Morrison

Besses Boys (James Holt)
City of Coventry Brass (Stephen Cooper)
Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
Eagley (Chris Wormald)
Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
Haydock (Mark Quinn)
Horsham Borough (Mark McLaughlin)
Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
Middleton (Martyn Evans)
Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
Old Hall Brass (John North)
Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
Waterbeach Brass (Andrew Kershaw)
Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)

Third Section:

Venue: Crazy Horse
Draw: 8.40am
Commence: 11.00am

Test Piece: Henry V (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Adjudicators: Anne Crookston and Kevin Wadsworth

Amington (Malcolm Read)
Brighton & Hove City (Matthew Hackett)
City of Norwich (Andrew Craze)
Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
Dinnington Colliery (Lyndon Bolt)
Dodworth Colliery MW (Eliot J. Darwin)
Dronfield Genquip (Damien Wileman)
East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
Ellington Colliery (Clare Winter)
Emley Brass (Garry Hallas)
Epping Forest (Mark Ager)
Hoover (Bolton) (Criag Mann))
Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
Shirland Welfare (Lyndon Cooper)
Stalybridge Old (David W Ashworth)

Fourth Section:

Venue: Centre Stage
Draw: 8.30am
Commence: 9.30am

Test Piece: Second Suite in F (Gustav Holst)
Adjudicators: Allan Holdsworth and Mark Walters

Banovallum Brass (Horncastle) (Steve Ingham)
Deepcar Brass (Cathryn Rogers)
Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
Maltby Miners Welfare (Terry Clifford)
Royston Town (Steve Earley)
Sale Brass (Alan Seymour)
Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)
Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
Tingley Brass (John Belton)
Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)

Saturday 13, 08:26:37


The first of the draws today will take place at 8.30am. Sections 1 — 4 will be announced with the Championships Section at 11.30am.

The action starts at 10.00am with the First and Fourth Section in Redz and Centre Stage respectively. The others sections start after that.

We will put the draws up as soon as the judges are in the box.

Saturday 13, 07:16:43

Good morning from Skegness

Good morning to everyone either at, or on their way to the Butlins Mineworkers Festival here at Skegness.

Lots to look forward to over the next two days — so make sure you get following us on 4BR as we bring you our opinions and views on the contesting action as it all unfolds.

Draws will be made later this morning.


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Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

July 13 • Our welcoming non-contesting band, based near Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks: . Solo Euphonium . 1st Horn . Percussion, kit and tuned: we have a lovely pair of timps! . Solo Cornet to complete the front-row line-up. 2nd Cornet

Newtown Silver Band

July 12 • Musical Director. Following the retirement of our current Musical Director after 40 years of loyal service the band is seeking a new Musical Director to take the band forward. We are a 3rd section band with a busy programme and enthusiastic members. .

Epping Forest Band

July 12 • Required: We are a friendly 2nd section band in Essex. We are in need of a Tenor Horn , cornet (position negotiable) and a Kit player. We have our own band room and full percussion is provided

Stephen Tighe

Adjudicator / Music Director / Arranger


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