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Thursday 27 February, 2020

The line-up for the 2020 UK Band of The Year Contest has been announced, with ten bands set to compete for the prestigious title.

Reigning champion The Cory Band will return in a bid to defend its title, where it will be joined by Black Dyke, Brighouse and Rastrick, Whitburn, Fairey, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Tredegar, Flowers, Hammonds Saltaire and Wingates bands.

The contest will take place at the Albert Halls, Bolton on Saturday, May 23, 2020, beginning at 2pm.

Contest organiser Martin Gernon told British Bandsman: “Once again, we have a terrific line-up of bands competing at this year’s contest. Whilst the inaugural event last year was a testing ground for this contest, it was a huge success. Bands, audience and the huge on-line audience appreciated the format of a 30-minute playing set of serious repertoire, which only saw one piece duplicated across the whole day. This format showcases the positive aspects of what bands can do and I expect the programme choices for this year to be even more mouth-watering than last year. We had several world premieres last year and from what I hear from the bands, more can be expected this year – we cannot wait.” 

Commenting on the change of venue for this year’s contest, Martin said: “We have moved from the Stoller Hall to the Albert Halls in Bolton for a number of reasons. Firstly, the increased audience capacity will create a terrific atmosphere whilst remaining an intimate feel. Bands and audiences should also benefit from the enhanced bar, catering and warm-up facilities, ensuring the perfect ingredients for a great day of contesting. We want this contest to set the benchmark in every aspect and I am grateful for the organising team behind me in ensuring this happens.”

This year there will be no gala concert, with the contest instead starting at 2pm, scheduled to finish at 9.30pm. The organisers have pledged that results will follow no later than 15 minutes after the final band has completed its performance. Following the contest there is a European Championship-style brass party and cabaret, also held in the Albert Halls.

Adjudication is once again in the open, with a team of three judges running the rule over competing bands. The adjudicators will rank the bands one to 10, with the lowest aggregate score being declared the winner. Each band programme must include a soloist, which will also be ranked one to 10. In the event of a tie for any position, the higher ranked soloist of the respective tied band, will take the higher position.

Frank Renton will compere the contest during a busy day of activities, which will include the final of the Young Brass Award at the same venue.

Tickets are on sale at:

There are also VIP tickets available that include catering throughout the day, a premium seat, complimentary programme and free entry to the Young Brass Award final.