Resort venue to host best of British brass

Festival organiser Gordon Higginbottom and his Wagner Eb Tuba presented to him for his work with the Swiss National Youth Band.
Festival organiser Gordon Higginbottom and his Wagner Eb Tuba presented to him for his work with the Swiss National Youth Band.
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Hundreds of young musicians are hoping they won’t be left brassed off this weekend, as the annual Youth Brass Band Entertainment Festival of Great Britain returns to Blackpool.

Hosted at the Winter Gardens, the best of British brass will descend on the resort for Sunday’s competitions, with trophies in a host of categories.

Gordon Higginbottom, himself regarded as one of the country’s best brass musicians, is once more helping organise the event as it takes place for the 31st time.

“We have been working hard with the council and have secured the event for the next three years,” he said.

“We’re trying to get people to come for the weekend, rather than just the day of the competition, and are offering special rates for attractions in Blackpool.”

The show gets under way at 10am on Sunday, with a host of prizes up for grabs.

Among the special guests will be guests from Donna’s Dream House and Trinity Hospice, and musicians from the Army’s Band of The King’s Division, which is based near Preston, will provide entertainment. Paying tribute to last year’s overall victors, the Seindorf Beaumaris Youth band from Beaumaris in Wales, Gordon, who lives in Thornton, said: “The standard of playing is amazing, so there’s a lot for this year’s entrants to live up to.

“After winning they have been all over the place, and were even on Welsh TV.”

The event raises money for Action Medical Research, which supports research into children’s diseases and conditions, with the charity’s mascot Paddington Bear due to attend the day.

A spokesman for the Winter Gardens said: “Youngsters from across the UK will be showcasing spectacular, polished performances of music, dance, song and comedy, in their attempt to become British champions. The Action Medical Research Youth Brass Band Entertainment Championship is a unique and exhilarating event for all the family. This is a memorable day’s entertainment not to be missed.”

The contest begins at 10am, running until around 5pm. Tickets are available from the Winter Gardens box office for £9 for adults, £7 for OAPs, £5 for children and £30 for families (two adults and up to three children, with a programme).