BBE spearheads bandstand

Brass Bands England (BBE) has announced a new national campaign to support the sustainability of bandstands throughout England and to provide a mechanism for increased financial support for more brass band bandstand concerts in the future.

BBE is set to work with Paul Rabbitts - an expert on the history and development of bandstand facilities in the UK, as well as a leading consultant to council authorities in the country about the renovation/rebuilding of bandstands and other open performance facilities. Paul Rabbitts has also published several books and studies on the topic. The bandstand has traditionally played a key role in profiling brass bands, but Paul Rabbitt’s research shows that the number of bandstands throughout the UK has decreased dramatically since World War II, from an estimated peak of 1,200 to the 350 still standing today, many of which are in various states of repair or disrepair and no longer host musical events.

In addition, public sector budgets allocated for bandstand concerts have been eroded, but together BBE and Paul Rabbitts aim to reverse this decline by developing a ‘matched-funding’ commercial proposition involving a single, or group of sponsors to provide additional funding for brass band concerts on bandstand facilities throughout England and, even perhaps, the UK.

The organisation plans to launch a campaign to draw attention to the significance of the bandstand as a community-based entertainment focal point and said Andrew
Coe, CEO of BBE: “It is estimated that fees paid to a brass
band for performing a concert of between two - four hours

range between £200 - £400. Such fees have almost certainly not kept pace with inflation over the years and would no longer allow, for example, bands to hire a coach to allow them to play in towns outside of an acceptable travel radius.”

BBE plans to conduct a survey of it members to find out how many concerts occur annually and to ascertain the turnover of band concert fees annually, to assess the commercial funding that would be required.  


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