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Championship Section Band.
The town of Bedworth, in Warwickshire, can trace its brass band roots back nearly 100 years – but despite the rich mining heritage of the area, the brass bands in Bedworth have their origins in the local churches.
In 1927, the local Wesleyan Reform Church Band was formed, later becoming the Bedworth Silver Prize Band which during the 1970s and early 1980s was successfully competing at Championship Section level.
In the late 1960’s, a second band had been formed in the town - Bedworth Parish Church Silver Band - and for a number of years the town could boast of 2 bands.
Unfortunately, the town band fell into decline during the 1980s and the 2 bands eventually merged to form the Bedworth Town and Church Silver Band, later becoming Bedworth Brass.
In 1989 the band began contesting in the Fourth Section, achieving immediate success by qualifying for the National Finals at their first attempt. The band progressed through the sections, being promoted to the First Section in 2001 where they have remained to this day, some 15 years later. The band has now qualified for the National Finals on 6 occasions, the most memorable being to play at the Royal Albert Hall in the Second Section finals in 2000.
Their most recent success, through again qualifying for the National Finals in 2016, has resulted in promotion to the Championship Section from 2017 – the band’s highest ranking since 1982.
The Wychavon Festival of Brass was the result of an initiative developed by the Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association which, in the late 80’s, was seeking to raise the profile of the town.
An exciting brass band contest was seen as an interesting and novel way of attracting visitors and offering the local population the opportunity to hear and experience some fabulous brass music!
Because of the support of VECTA, Wychavon District Council and a variety of other local organisations, WFB has continued to grow and develop, adapting itself to differing conditions and needs as economic climates change, and bands and venues come and go!
Many bandsman will remember the early contests, the first of which was held in the Market Square and the nearby All Saints Church in Evesham. It was a beautiful and memorable day and the bands were bathed in sunshine. However, before long, the event became nomadic and rotated between the Wychavon towns of Evesham, Pershore and Droitwich before settling permanently (as far as we know!) back in its home town in 2013.
Over twenty years have elapsed since that first contest and the festival is still alive and kicking! It regularly undertakes new projects like the development of a Youth Festival, and seeks to sustain itself and interest in the brass band movement generally through collaborative efforts with its other partners in staging concerts and other events from time to time.
Whilst every effort goes into ensuring this gig listing is accurate and up to date, always check with the venue before you travel.