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Butlin's Open Brass Band Festival 2022 - Rules and Conditions

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These Rules and Conditions replace all rules previously issued and are effective from 1 May 2020 until further notice.


  1. The event will be organised by the Butlin’s Open Brass Band Festival Management (‘the Organisation’), whose decision on matters arising under these rules and conditions, or any other matters relating to the event, will be final.
  2. The contest(s) will use the Brass Band Players Registry and the accredited registries of Scotland and Wales (‘the Registry’). All competing players, other than those performing with bands based outside the UK, must be registered with one of the above bodies.


  1. The contest is open to all British-style brass bands regardless of geographical location.
  2. For the purpose of contests held under these rules, the playing membership of a band will be deemed to be those stated on its registry print-out or, in the case of bands based outside the UK, those submitted in advance by the band to the Organisation.
  3. It is a condition of entry that each band’s administrator makes their band’s players fully aware of all the rules.


  1. The Contest is open to brass bands only, consisting of a maximum of 25 brass players plus percussionists as required. Brass instrumentalists will perform on the following instruments only:

Eb Soprano Cornet

Bb Cornet

Bb Flugel Horn

Eb Tenor Horn

Bb Baritone

Bb Euphonium

Tenor and bass trombones (slide only, unless special dispensation is given by the Organisation for reasons of disability)

Eb and EEb Bass

Bb and BBb Bass

Any deviation from the above instrumentation must only be with the prior consent of the Organisation. In all entertainment sections, any instrumentation may be allowed in keeping with the bands’ choices of programme.


  1. National Gradings, in accordance with the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, will be used at the contests. In the case of bands entering from outside the UK, their own National Gradings will be used, although overseas bands may compete in a higher section by prior agreement with the Organisation.


  1. The Organisation will be responsible for the appointment of adjudicators and selection of test-pieces.
  2. Bands will enter the contest via the appropriate form on the Brass Bands England website before any advertised closing date. After the closing date for entry to the contest, the Organisation will send the competing bands all relevant information, including a borrowed player information form. Band administrators must ensure that all borrowed player information, if applicable, is entered on the form and returned to the Organisation by the date specified on the form.
  3. A band may borrow up to FOUR players from a band of the same National Grading or lower in the Championship, 1st, 2nd and 3rd sections, and, in the 4th Section, from the 3rd and 4th sections. Borrowed players may not be featured as soloists in entertainment contests. All such players must be entered on the Borrowed Player Information Sheet. Letters of authority are NOT required from the lending band.
  4. In extenuating circumstances, a further borrowed player may be allowed subject to the Organisation’s approval. These provisions are put in place to facilitate the use of borrowed players, as well as covering situations in which a band sustains the loss of a member by death, accident, illness or other serious cause beyond their control. Satisfactory documentary evidence must be submitted to the Organisation before permission can be given. When appropriate, the band drawn immediately before the band making the application must supply the relevant deputy player if requested. If the band making the application is drawn first, the band drawn last must supply the deputy player. It is the responsibility of the lending band’s management to ensure that the deputy player fulfils this commitment. Failure to comply with this request may leave the lending band open to penalty at the discretion of the Organisation.


  1. The order in which the bands in each section will play at the contest will be decided by a ballot made on the day of the contest under the supervision of officials appointed by the Organisation. The draw for the Championship Section Entertainment Contest will be made at the results ceremony for sections 1-4 on the evening prior to that contest. Each band may appoint a representative to attend the draw.
  2. At the registration table each band member will submit his or her Registration Card for scrutiny and endorsement, and also sign the Registry Print-out or Borrowed Player form in the appropriate place.
  3. Any disparity in signature, or any other doubt concerning a player’s eligibility, will be reported initially to the Section Controller, who will, at their discretion, notify the band’s administrator that, should the player(s) take part in the performance, the band may be subject to penalty including disqualification. Any appeal against the decision of the Section Controller must be lodged by an official of the band and will immediately be presented to the Organisation. The final decision of the Organisation will then be relayed to the band officials and other competing bands in the relevant section as deemed necessary.
  4. The interval between performances will not be more than four minutes. Any band not being ready to play within four minutes of the time announced for the section to commence (in the case of band No. 1) or of the preceding band leaving the platform may be subject to penalty including disqualification. In the case of the Championship and 4th Section Entertainment Contests, this time limit will be increased to ten minutes. Decisions on all timing matters will be at the discretion of the Section Controller.
  5. No band may rehearse, nor individual band member audibly test an instrument, within sound range of the performing area on the day of the contest.
  6. With the exception of percussion, players will not play more than one instrument at a contest.
  7. The adjudicators’ decisions will be final on all matters relating to adjudication.
  8. All competing bands will be issued with a Delegate Card which, when completed, will enable the bearer to collect the adjudicators remarks at a time and place specified in the final contest information.
  9. In the Championship Section, the final positions will be derived by the aggregate placings of the Test-piece and Entertainment contests. The Entertainment Contest result itself will be based on the aggregate of placings from two quality of performance and two entertainment judges. In the event of an overall tie, the decision of the entertainment judges will take precedence. The adjudicators in sections 1-3 will award placings from first to last. The 4th Section result will be decided on the aggregate of positions from the two sadjudicators (quality of performance and entertainment), with bands placed higher in the entertainment category being the tie-breaker if necessary.
  10. Any objection concerning any alleged breach of these rules or error in the results must be submitted to the contest management within 14 days of the contest together with a sum of £50, which will be returned if the objection is upheld, but not otherwise.
  11. If the Organisation decides that there has been a breach of these rules or an error in the results, it will revise the list of placings accordingly.
  12. Any band or performer, members, conductor or other official of a band found guilty of a breach of these rules, or who fails to comply with the conditions of entry or any schedule relating to the contest, or commits any act which, in the opinion of the Organisation, is damaging in any way to the reputation of the contest, may be subject to disqualification, forfeiture of prizes and/or suspension from entering other contests held under these rules for such a time as may be decided by the Organisation.
  13. If any situation arises for which there is no existing ruling, the Organisation reserves the right to act and give appropriate judgment.

For clarification of any problems or queries relating to the Contest or Rules, please contact Contest Administrator, Brian Eggleshaw, on 01754 450911, 07976 521080 or by email at


  1. All bands will forward to the Contest Administrator, not less than 14 DAYS prior to the contest, a list of up to items from which their final programme will be selected, including notes for the use of the Compère, and any specific presentation technical requests.
  2. TWO scores of each item to be played, together with the running order, suitably packed and marked with the name of the band, should be handed in to the Contest Control Room not less than 24 HOURS prior to the contest. Immediately after the contest, these copies will be made available for collection from the Contest Control Room. If not collected they will be destroyed.
  3. Bands should be ready and available to play 20 MINUTES before the estimated time of performance. Bands will be allowed 10 MINUTES from the stage being vacated by the previous band to the start of their performance.
  4. Applause will be allowed after each item and a professional compère will be present to introduce the bands and announce their programmes. Each band will decide at which point it wants the announcements to be made and details should be in the hands of the Contest Administrator as described in rule 25 above.
  5. There will be TWO adjudicators for QUALITY OF PERFORMANCE and TWO adjudicators for ENTERTAINMENT. They will also nominate the winning soloist. A separate adjudication will be given for PRESENTATION and ENTERTAIMENT VALUE and a separate award will be made for this.
  6. Bands may feature more than one soloist and they will all be considered for the Best Soloist Award. Vocal solos, duets and ensembles will not be eligible for this award.
  7. Borrowed players may not play a solo nor occupy principal positions, unless previously agreed by the Organisation.
  8. The total playing time (excluding announcements and applause) should not be more than 23 MINUTES. However, at the Section Controller’s discretion, a further 60 seconds will be allowed for unforeseen circumstances, but any programme exceeding 24 MINUTES will result in a penalty of one place point in each category of the Entertainment Contest. Bands placed below any bands receiving such a penalty will not be promoted.
  9. An appropriate number of music stands and stand banners will be provided.
  10. Each band should have a representative ready to approach the stage for the awards ceremony.

Butlin's Open 2021 information page