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Issue 6119

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No band rehearsals yet, says BBE

Thursday 14 May, 2020

Nothing has changed regarding rehearsing and performing, in spite of recent easing to lockdown guidelines issued by the UK government - that's the message from Brass Bands England.

In a recent statement, BBE stressed that “there is no current guidance that suggests banding activity should restart” after it received enquiries from member bands looking for an update on the matter. Some bands had been in touch following a statement from the Prime Minister on Sunday, May 10 and the subsequent published guidance, entitled Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

The statement continues: “On Wednesday, May 13, new guidance came into force relating to workers, schools, travel, face coverings and public spaces. Unfortunately, none of the updated information makes restarting banding activity possible for the foreseeable future. In addition, the government is looking to impose higher fines in relation to non-compliance.

“The UK government has set out the potential points of Monday, June 1 and Saturday, July 4 for changes to be made to the current restrictions relating to schools, non-essential retail and social contact. However, these will be subject to up-to-date assessment of risk posed by the virus, so there is no guarantee that changes will be made on these dates. Maintaining social distancing is also highly likely to be key in any situation.

“At the point where band rehearsals do become viable, please be aware that it may not be possible to rehearse in your normal bandrooms to ensure the safety of those involved, and it may well be a considerable time before ‘normal’ rehearsals can resume. Current thinking on safe social distancing for brass and other musical groups ranges between two and five metres per person, so for a full-sized brass band to rehearse together even at that point could potentially require a space of 35 x 40 metres.

“Brass Bands England is maintaining contact with and taking advice from Arts Council England and Public Health England to continue to update the brass band sector and ensure that when brass banding activity does restart it can be done in a way to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Anyone with queries or concerns relating to banding activity during the COVID-19 pandemic should call the Brass Bands England office on 01226 771015 or email