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British Open 2020 cancelled

Wednesday 6 May, 2020

The British Open and Spring Festival contests have been cancelled as uncertainty remains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes days after the Brass in Concert festival was also cancelled. All bands which had been invited to the 2020 British Open will receive an invitation to next year’s event, which is due to take place on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Competing bands in the British Open had been due to perform The World Rejoicing, a new work by Edward Gregson as part of a pan-European collaboration. It is now intended that no performances of the work will be permitted in the UK before September 2021 so that the UK premiere can take place at next year’s British Open. As such, no performing materials will be released to British bands or the invited European band until May 2021.

In the Spring Festival, bands which received an invitation to the three contests will be invited to next year’s event which will be taking place on May 8, 2021 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Bands qualifying through the five scheduled qualifying contests for the Senior Trophy, if these take place, will also receive an invitation to the Spring Festival. 

A spokesperson for the British Open and Spring Festival contests commented: “We hope that all of our friends in banding are keeping safe during these challenging times.

“We have obviously been monitoring the situation in relation to the 2020 Spring Festival and British Open contests having regard to government advice, and the overriding need to maintain the safety of our audience, competing bands and our own team.

“At present it is too early to know, even assuming a relaxation of the current lockdown and other measures, what the effect of social distancing may have on bands playing on stage and spectators in the auditorium at Symphony Hall, The Winter Gardens or at other brass band contests.

“We have maintained dialogue with the management team at both our venues and their recent advice indicates that they have concerns about the staging of events in September and October. In view of this uncertainty, and with a great deal of regret, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s British Open and Spring Festival contests.”

Attention will inevitably turn to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, organised by Kapitol Promotions, with events at Centaur in Cheltenham and London’s Royal Albert Hall scheduled for September and October respectively.