Creating a buzz at the National Youth Championships

Issue 5965

All the fun of the big event at Warwick University

BBC success for Isobel Daws and Thomas Nielsen

European stage awaits in Utrecht

Details of 2018 Butlin's Mineworkers Festival announced

Monday 8 May, 2017

The Butlins Mineworkers National Open Brass Band Festival 2018 (incorporating The Butlins Youth Band Festival) plans to deliver its most spectacular weekend of competition and entertainment to date.

A bumper crop of entries is anticipated for the popular event thanks to a huge prize fund, including £10,000 to the Championship Section winner, and the announcement of a challenging set of test-pieces.

Held at the Butlins Skegness Resort over the weekend of 12 to 15 January 2018, the event will see Championship Section bands choosing one of three test-pieces chosen by the selection panel, namely Contest Music (Wilfred Heaton), The Year of the Dragon (Philip Sparke) and Concerto for Brass Band No. 1 by Marcus Venables.

Renaissance (Peter Graham) has been selected as the 1st Section test-piece while Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Variations for Brass Band faces the bands in the 2nd Section. Competing bands in the 3rd Section will also play a Vaughan Williams composition, Overture to Henry V, while competitors in the 4th Section will tackle Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F.

Contest Adviser Stan Lippeatt commented: “The Concerto is an interesting proposition for Championship Section bands having never been used at a contest before. The composer Marcus Venables is quickly establishing himself as one of the most promising talents in the movement and his Concerto won the first prize in the 12-minute category at the inaugural Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) composition competition in 2013. We believe that our choice of three set works will be favourable to the Championship Section bands and the audience alike. Contest Music and The Year of the Dragon need no introduction whilst the Concerto No.1 will quickly become a real favourite addition to the repertoire.”

As in the 2017 Championship Section, a £1,000 prize and a trophy will be awarded to the winner of the Saturday Own-Choice Test-Piece Contest whilst the £1,000 prize and entertainment trophy will still be awarded on Sunday. The Sunday Entertainment Contest (hosted by BBC Radio 2‘s Frank Renton) will continue to have four adjudicators, with two music adjudicators (sat together) giving 50% of the marks and two entertainment adjudicators (sat together) giving 50% of the marks.

As in 2017, the entertainment marks will take precedence in the event of a tie. Festival Director Steve Walker explained: “As was proved in 2017, the simple marking system ensures that, in the opinion of the adjudicators, the best band will win the overall first prize. Our continued emphasis on the Sunday entertainment content is in response to the general consensus of opinion from our guests with whom we have a constant dialogue. Competing bands are not required to come with all new bespoke programmes. A well played entertaining programme that the audience enjoys is sure to score highly. We believe that the Butlins Festival to be a unique event in the banding calendar and remind bands interested in competing in the 2018 that this is NOT an invitation event. Bands from all sections are welcome to apply on a first come first served basis.”

In addition to the historic and much sought after trophies, the prize winning bands in sections 1 to 4 will also receive the following cash awards:

1st Prize £2,000

2nd Prize £1,000

3rd Prize £700

4th Prize £500

The Butlins Youth Band Festival, with a prize fund of £2,300, will also take place on Sunday, 14 January and applications for the Unregistered and Youth Sections are also invited. Those wishing to enter should apply in writing to the contest administrator:

Brian Eggleshaw,

Butlins Contest Administrator,

27, Dutton Avenue,



PE25 2HR

The Festival is hugely popular, attracting brass bands from all over the UK, offering a unique blend of top quality live brass band music with all the entertainment and facilities that a Butlins break offers so therefore, to avoid disappointment, you are advised to book your accommodation early. Guests will be able to enjoy the multi-million pound Water World and the Spa in addition to all the entertainment and facilities for which Butlins is so famous.

Due to limited venue capacity for the Entertainment Competition, no day visit tickets are issued for Sunday 14 January, with access only for guests choosing to stay on Resort. Day visit tickets are available for Saturday 13 only, priced at £28 per adult, £20 per child 2-14, with under-2’s free. Please note that all competitors who are not resident on Resort must purchase a day visit ticket to gain entry to the Resort on Saturday 13. To purchase day-visit tickets, call Butlins Day Visits on 01754 614445 by Monday 8 January, 2018.

A Butlins spokesperson added further details to assist bands who are considering taking part: “The three night break, based on four guests sharing a silver self catering apartment with 20% off the brochure price is just £76 per guest* and includes accommodation, entertainment and parking. To find out more about Butlins, please visit or to discuss the wide range of accommodation and dining options available, simply call the Butlins Advisors based at Skegness on 0330 100 9334 and choose option 3**. Lines are open daily from 9.00am to 5.30pm each day. Groups of 20 or more paying guests will enjoy an extra Groups Offer discount of 5% when confirming with deposits or full payment before Friday 27 October 2017*”

* All offers are subject to promotional availability. Butlins terms and conditions apply.

** Local rate call charge from a landline but may be more from a mobile.