Brighouse & Rastrick Band has announced that it will not be performing as part of the forthcoming 'Best of Brass Festival' being held at Halifax Theatre on Saturday 3rd July.
In a statement issued on Tuesday 29th June they cited that the requirement that they had to use bell covers on instruments for their stage performance had informed their decision.
In it they said: "On Friday evening, Brighouse & Rastrick were informed that to play at the Best of Brass festival they would have to use bell covers, as well as other points as part of the risk assessment.
B&R contacted the organiser and other bands with concerns on the Saturday citing worries of the ability to perform musically with these, problems of intonation and the negative affect this would have to perform at the high level we wish to give to the festival. We informed them that we were not able to match this requirement at this late stage.
After an online meeting with the organiser on Sunday, the committee agreed to try bell covers at the next possible chance to give as much opportunity as possible to play at the event.
The band rehearsed with these on Monday and feedback was taken from the band and the guest musical director.
It was unanimously felt that B&R could not contribute to the festival at a musical level which they feel would match the high standards expected by ourselves, supporters and audience. Soloists were particularly worried about the new challenges this extended.
B&R and Russell Gray have worked hard over recent times to prepare this performance and it is with deep regret that now we cannot take part in the festival as we would have wanted to.
We wish all of the bands involved in the festival the best of wishes for a safe, musical and enjoyable day."
4BR was informed that the band had been contacted by the event organiser Brasspass.tv through IBB Media Ltd on Friday 25th June, to inform them (and those taking part) that following a risk assessment agreement having been undertaken (stated as being on 1st June), certain requirements had to be put in place.
The 21 page document was issued to the bands in accompanying correspondence.
4BR understands that this included that not only should non-professional performers be spaced 2 metres apart, but that all band performers had to use bell covers with allowances made for playing with mutes.
It was highlighted in the risk assessment that this was in line with Calderdale Public Health requirements, whilst an air purifier capable of cleaning and filtering air at 800cbm per hour would also be placed on stage.
It was also stated that all performers and broadcast crew must present evidence of a negative lateral flow test, duly registered and taken a maximum of 24 hours prior to the performance.
This action and information was being monitored and supported by IBB Media personnel supported by Brass Bands England.
4BR further understands that the event organisers had sought clarification of risk assessment requirements from Calderdale Council prior to the issuing of their risk assessment to the bands on the 25th June.
IBB Media were informed on 19th June that their attention be drawn "...to the requirement that performers (whom we understand to be mainly brass bands), have a requirement to not only use social distancing with audiences and avoid participation with said audiences, are required to have bell covers in operation during the event whilst on stage.
This is a stipulation of Calderdale Council Public Health Department."
4BR understands this response was issued following consultation by the management of Victoria Hall with the Council's Public Health and Council Senior Management.
this included that not only should non-professional performers be spaced 2 metres apart, but that all band performers had to use bell covers with allowances made for playing with mutes.4BR
It is also understood that Calderdale's Consultant in Public Health had also advised that the requirement to ensure distance of at least 2 metres between household groups attending performances would stay in place and that the maximum audience capacity for the event was restricted in line with legal requirements to 262 people.
4BR also understands that it was stated that the Theatre and Council were required to follow the Government's Roadmap (up to 19th July) , and as such any event taking place at the Victoria Theatre before that date had to comply with legislation in force and subsequent guidance from Public Health.