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Bands on the Beeb!

Barnsley Metropolitan help local MP to get more funding for bands.


Barnsley Metropolitan Band under conductor Alex Francis was on primetime BBC television this morning doing their bit to try and get the Arts Council to stump up more funds for community brass bands.

Funding differences

BBC reporter Richard Westcott interviewed MDs John Grinnell and Alex Francis, as well as a number of players to highlight the differences in funding between the general banding movement and that of opera. With over 700 active bands it was suggested that the movement, although contracting (cue grainy old film of un-named colliery band) still had an important part to play in British cultural life.

In defence, the Arts Council suggested that bands had in fact dome rather well out of funding over the years and that it was somewhat disingenuous to compare brass bands to opera, which they said, is much more expensive to stage4BR

Support needed

The band was playing (in uniform at 8.30am in the morning too) in support of local Barnsley MP Jeff Ellis, who is due to meet the Government Culture Secretary this week to try and gain further financial support for bands. At present it was suggested that for every pound given to bands through the Arts Council (discounting the National Lottery), some eleven hundred is given to opera.


In defence, the Arts Council suggested that bands had in fact dome rather well out of funding over the years and that it was somewhat disingenuous to compare brass bands to opera, which they said, is much more expensive to stage.

Last Post

With the sound of the Last Post in the background (who says the Beeb doesn’t dumb down?) it was announced that some sort of decision would be made this coming Friday.

The response from the feature saw Sky News contact 4BR to gain further details for their programmes — so keep your eyes peeled for coverage!

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John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor