Butlin’s Mineworkers’ Contest

There’s nothing quite like arriving into Skegness on a dark Friday evening in January… but, as members of the band arrived, along with hundreds of other brass banders, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation at the annual gathering of the Butlin’s Mineworkers Brass Band Festival.

After locating the apartment amongst the maze of apartments that all looked alike, the night began, and ended, with some serious dancing to 80’s covers in the main venue – Centre Stage. As a relative newcomer to the band, this was the perfect way to get to know one another to the backdrop of Footloose. Several rounds of toast got everyone going the following morning and we were up and ready to see our MD Ben, and repiano cornet Becca play with 3rd Section Band, Ammington.

Staying to listen to some of the bands that followed demonstrated the interpretation of the test piece and the different strengths of each band.

Saturday afternoon was filled with amazing music as the Butlin’s Mineworkers Championship Section Contest got underway. We all listened with delight as technical and musical ability were demonstrated by the top-class bands. A varied choice of test pieces, both contemporary and more traditional kept all the audience in the packed Centre Stage hooked. Upon leaving the venue for the evening, we were all filled with excitement and motivation for improving our own playing and the overall standard of City of Birmingham Brass Band. Once some shared chilli had been devoured the evening was spent together playing card games and charades – some members of the band were certainly better than others but that might have had something to do with the alcohol consumed!

Sunday came around and it was time to head off to see the Entertainment Contest. These mini concerts from the Championship Bands were filled with skilful solos, varied programmes and musical chairs. The more relaxed performances on the final day of the Butlin’s Brass Band Festival reminded us that playing with a brass band is all about making a great noise and having fun whilst doing it. Overall, a fantastic weekend with great company and a wealth of wonderful music.

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