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Brass Band Conference line-up revealed

The Brass Band Conference 2021 Improving Our Art
Tuesday, 14 September, 2021

The Brass Band Conference is back! Once again Brass Bands England’s annual Conference will be live-streamed so you can take part at home. Taking place on Saturday 25 September, this year’s theme of ‘Improving our art’ will highlight a diverse range of creative topics, speakers and performances.

We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances Bram Tovey is no longer able to deliver our Keynote Address. However, we are delighted to announce that his place has been taken by renowned brass band composer Philip Wilby.

To open the conference there will be a short performance by the St Helen’s Youth Brass Band, followed by the event’s keynote speaker, Philip Wilby. After this inspirational start, follows an interactive discussion session tackling the heart of the conference topic ‘How do we improve our art?’ facilitated by BBE development staff Sarah Baumann and Alex Parker.

After lunch, participants should have their instruments to hand for a fast-paced 10-minute masterclass with multi-award winning trombonist Carol Jarvis. Following this session is the announcement of the winners of the Brass Band England Awards 2021, recognising individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to brass banding. 

The afternoon workshop session is a ‘Journey of Collaboration’ with Composer Liz Lane. The conference events conclude with the Panel Discussion, this year on the theme of ‘The Creative Case for Diversity, and led by Arts Council England’s Director of Diversity, Abid Hussain.

Just as at the 2020 Conference, the day's events will be a mixture of live and pre-recorded content that will be free to access to all who register in advance. Events will be streamed by with lots of opportunity for those watching at home to send in questions and participate in workshops. 


9:00 AGM. This year’s Brass Bands England (BBE) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held via Zoom, prior to the Brass Band Conference. Register for the BBE AGM.

10:30 St Helen’s Youth Brass Band Performance

10:40 Introduction and Welcome from Brass Bands England’s CEO Kenny Crookston

10:50 Keynote Address from Philip Wilby

11:50 An exciting announcement…

12:15 Facilitated Discussion - ‘How do we improve our art?’

13:00 Lunch

13:45 10-minute Masterclass with Carol Jarvis - Effective Warm Ups 

13:55 Presentation of The Brass Band England Awards 2021 by BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy

14:10 A Journey of Collaboration with Liz Lane

15:10 Panel Discussion - The Creative Case for Diversity

16:20 Closing remarks from BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy

Who is the Conference for?

The Brass Band Conference is for anyone and everyone with an interest in banding. This year’s topic, ‘Improving our art’, is accessible to band players, managers, and conductors alike. It is our opportunity as a community to come together (even if it’s virtually) to celebrate what we do, network with others and hear from inspirational speakers within our sector.

How much does it cost?

Absolutely nothing. The Brass Band Conference is free to access for everyone, and recordings of the sessions will be available after the day's events.

Will the awards be presented?

On the day we will be announcing the winners of the Brass Bands England Awards 2021, recognising individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to brass banding.  Winners have been nominated by the banding public and selected by the Brass Bands England board of trustees. Each award winner will receive a memento to commemorate their achievement. Make sure you’re tuned-in to hear the announcements live!

How do I book for the Conference?

You can now book your free place for the Conference via the BBE events page.