Butlin’s Open Brass Band Festival

Use this form to enter your band into the Butlin's Open Brass Band Festival 2021 - 8-11 January at Butlin’s Resort in Skegness.

The organisers of the Butlin’s Open Brass Band Festival have announced wide-ranging changes to the format of the 2021 event, which will take place at Butlin’s Resort in Skegness from 8-11 January. 

With all competing bands previously performing set test-pieces, only bands in the Championship Section will now be set a compulsory test, with those in sections 1-3 playing works of their own choice. Bands in the 4th Section will now play 20-minute own-choice programmes with no restriction on content, to be assessed by open judges.

The Championship Section contest will retain its current format, with the 2021 test-piece being announced as the ever-popular Paganini Variations by Phillip Wilby, which was first used as a test-piece at the 1991 British Open Championship. As an added bonus, the winner of the Most Entertaining Band prize in the Sunday entertainment contest will now receive an invitation to the Brass in Concert Championship at Sage Gateshead the following November. The overall top prize will remain at £10,000, the biggest on offer for any brass band event worldwide. 

Entries are now open for the 2021 Festival and those entering before 31 JAugust (this deadline has been extended from April due to the pandemic) will receive a £25 discount on the £100 fee. Through the Butlin’s partnership with Brass Bands England, member organisations of BBE will receive a further £25 discount on their entry fee, meaning that bands can now take part in the most sociable event on the calendar for as little as £50!

To book your accommodation please go directly to www.Butlins.com


The prizes for the Championship Section (combined set test piece and entertainment) are:

1st: £10,000

2nd: £5,000

3rd: £2,500

4th: £1,000

The Highest Placed Championship ‘Set Test’ band will receive £1,000 and trophy, and the Best Instrumentalist will receive the Sid Belshaw Memorial Trophy. For the Sunday Championship Section Entertainment Contest, a special award of £1,000, trophy and banner will be given for the Most Entertaining Band, and the Geoff Dove Memorial Award and £300 will go to the Best Soloist.


The prizes in sections 1-4 are:

1st: £2,000

2nd: £1,000

3rd: £700

4th: £500

Speaking about the changes to the Butlin’s Open Brass Band Festival, the event’s Director, Steve Walker, commented: “It is important for the organisers of any major event to reflect on its format and how it affects the wider aims of the participants. Having consulted with a variety of stakeholders, we are confident that our new format will make it easier for bands to attend in future years. We are aware that some find the early January date difficult, especially with the restrictions it can make on rehearsal time, but the introduction of own-choice tests in sections 1-3, and what we are sure will be entertaining programmes in the 4th Section, will make it easier for bands to include their Butlin’s music in their activities during the previous months. By opening up the judging of the 4th Section we also hope to be able to provide a more relaxed environment for the bands at this level and provide feedback tailored to the nature of the performers, some of whom may be giving their first contest performances.”

Steve Walker continued: “We would like to thank our friends at Brass in Concert for their future ongoing invitation to our most entertaining band, which we hope will encourage our Championship Section bands to push boundaries in terms of entertainment. We would like to encourage groups at all levels, and from all corners of the world of brass bands, to join us in Skegness next January. With over 4,000 visitors on site during the weekend they can all be assured of a vibrant and friendly atmosphere, while the musical changes we have made are guaranteed to provide fantastic variety for the listener. Add in terrific entertainment sets from our leading bands on the Sunday, the most generous prize fund in all of banding and some breathtaking playing from our guest evening performers, all presented by the one and only Frank Renton, and you have the perfect recipe for an exceptional banding weekend!”


Please note that only band members (including percussionists) registered with the Brass Band Players Registry and the accredited registries of Scotland and Wales will be allowed to compete. Band secretaries must take steps to effect necessary transfers or register all unregistered players with the Registry and must ensure that all registration cards are valid for the contest. Rules in relation to borrowed players remain unchanged from 2019.

January 8th, 2021 4:30 PM through January 11th, 2021 12:00 AM
PE25 1NJ
United Kingdom
Phone: 01226771015
Event Fee(s)
BBE Member £ 75.00
BBE Non-Member £ 100.00

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