Bold as Brass Contest | Brass Bands England

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Bold as Brass Contest

Bold as Brass is a free-entry entertainment contest for bands in the second section and under, held at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.

After holding its first event in 2022, the Bold as Brass contest will return for 2024, offering an exciting day out for bands and supporters at the Museum’s Wakefield site. Bands in the second section and under are invited to participate in the contest, which will take on Saturday 15 June. The event is delivered in partnership with Brass Bands England (BBE), offered as an additional performance opportunity for its members. Entry is free, plus there’s £50 up for grabs for all 10 competing bands taking part in the event.

What’s involved?

Competing bands will be asked to perform in the march area lasting up to six minutes (although this can be performed stationary if preferred and is not limited to a single piece), and a 20-minute entertainment performance (seats available) within the museum site. The event is designed to last a length of time that everyone can participate throughout and watch each other's performances whilst enjoying the atmosphere. Anticipated performance times will start at 12 noon with results expected at 4 pm. 

Performances will be adjudicated and there will also be a People’s Band award based on audience votes. 

A range of non-cash prizes will be awarded, contributed by BBE, to support your band’s development. Trophies will be awarded to the best overall band and the best band in a range of further categories - please see the BBE website for further information and contest rules.

A non-competitive section will allow bands who just want to come and perform to do so, with the option to still be able to benefit from the adjudicator’s feedback but without being ranked.

For full details on the competition please see the Bold as Brass Contest rules 

Why take part in Bold as Brass?

The aim of Bold as Brass is to provide bands with an enjoyable day out and an opportunity to connect with new audiences of different ages and interests, in a unique heritage setting which marries the cultural traditions of mining and banding.

Sitting just after Whit Friday but before BBE’s popular Proms in the Playground initiative, the event is designed to provide an opportunity for bands to perform marches within their repertoire as well as showcase their summer programmes in a space where audiences can sit and enjoy the music.

The 2022 event drew a crowd of over 700 audience members, who enjoyed the music as well as exploring the museum’s grounds and its underground mine.

There will be food and drink available throughout the day with bands playing alongside the giant sandpit, not to mention the option to visit the rest of the museum's attractions so there’s something for everyone during the day. 

BBE’s Partnership and Development Manager, Alex Parker, commented: “We ran the first Bold as Brass last year with great success attracting a large audience ready to be entertained. Now, it looks likely that brass bands will become an ongoing presence at the National Coal Mining Museum’s heritage site, and this is your chance to be part of the day and play to a fantastic audience!

The contest will prove an enjoyable and social day out for both audiences and players, with food and drink being served and plenty of opportunity to enjoy other bands perform. I always enjoy visiting and brass bands provide the perfect accompaniment to the cultural offering on site. Why not book to go underground in the free mine tour while you are there?”

How can my band enter?

Bands in the second section and under are invited to enter via the BBE website by midnight on Mon 3 April. There are 8 places available for bands to take part with arrival times expected from 11 am on the day. 

To support bands to take part in the contest, £50 will be granted to all 10 bands who complete the line-up of the contest. Successful recipients will be informed by 1 May and funds will be granted following the performance.

In the event of wet weather the contest will move into the museum conference space so will still be able to go ahead.

Bands that require further support to attend are reminded that the BBE fundraising service is available to offer support for your band's fundraising needs.

If you would like more information about taking part, please visit contact or call 01226771015.

Enter Bold as Brass 2024