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SBBA Launches Community Events Programme for European Festival of Brass 2014

Published in General on 2013-10-11 by Empty Chairs

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In 2014, The Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) will be presenting the 2014 European Brass Band Championships series in Scotland. SBBA is also delighted to be using this opportunity to stage a nationwide programme of events with the intention of involving every brass band in Scotland, operating this exciting showcase as the European Festival of Brass 2014 (EFOB 2014). This ambitious project will create Europe’s largest festival of its kind and will be one of the most widespread initiatives undertaken by SBBA in its long history.

Community Focus

The festival will run from 26th April – 11th May and, in addition to the 2014 European Brass Band Championships and associated events taking place at Perth Concert Hall, Perth (1 – 4 May), it includes a variety of exciting community-focussed events across the country.

Launch Weekend - Pop-Up Concerts

To open the festival weekend (26 – 27 April) with a collective theme, it is proposed that bands all across Scotland will perform a series of ‘Pop-Up Concerts’ – involving short performances in a variety of public venues local to each band (such as shopping centres, garden centres, bandstands, village greens, visitor attractions), bringing a taste of brass band music to their respective communities in multiple locations throughout the day.

Individual Band Events

It is also expected that bands will want to make their own mark in the festival by initiating individual events throughout the two week celebration. These could include anything that will engage the attention of the local residents, ranging from school visits, open rehearsals, workshops and master-classes to outdoor performances, themed concerts and collaborative projects with other local music groups – all aimed at enabling the public to discover the wonderful sound of a brass band and highlighting the important role brass bands play in their community.

The Scottish Band Trail

The Scottish Band Trail is a coordinated initiative which will take place during the working-day weeks of the festival, following routes which combine to generate a geographical loop of brass music around the country.

Each week will be led by a collection of guest musicians and a conductor, with Week 1 (28 April – 1 May) inspiring the creation of ad-hoc volunteer bands with which the guests will perform at a variety of venues local to the selected areas, bringing brass music to the public during the day and building player links across the selected areas; whilst Week 2 (5 – 9 May) involves a travelling ensemble and conductor taking the sound of brass to some of the country’s more rural areas, including the Highlands and Islands. The ensemble will perform in various communities along the way, promoting brass music and offering an engaging musical outreach to areas that have less access to the brass music genre.

Exhibitions and Displays

Throughout much of 2014 an exhibition will be staged in Perth Museum (adjacent to Perth Concert Hall) covering the history of brass bands in Scotland. To mirror this educational display across the nation, bands are encouraged to present their own displays in public areas within their communities. Supported by replicas of the Perth exhibition boards and supplemented by information on their own band’s history, organisations can use this opportunity to promote themselves locally, build awareness of the musical heritage of brass bands throughout Scotland, inform the public about EFOB 2014 and help to promote their own EFOB 2014 related events.

Closing Weekend - Regional Hub Events

To close EFOB 2014 in equal style to its launch, it is intended to have a themed closing weekend (10 - 11 May 2014) which will bring together bands within a local area to create a series of ‘Hub’ events. Once again these events are intended to engage large numbers of the public at a wide range of venues across the country, bringing a modern approach to the highly successful Promenade Concerts of the late nineteenth century. The events will involve a number of bands from the identified regions, each providing a short performance at the selected venue throughout the day, with the opportunity to culminate in a massed band item.

Charity Partner

SBBA is also delighted to appoint The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) as the official EFOB 2014 Charity Partner. CHAS is the only charity in Scotland that provides vital hospice services for children and young people with life-shortening conditions. They offer care for the whole family in their two children’s hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch. They also run a homecare service called CHAS at Home helping families in their own homes across Scotland when they need it most.

It is intended that collections for CHAS will be made at all appropriate EFOB 2014 events, enabling brass bands to make a significant contribution to help fund the critical services the charity offers the many children in its care.

Participation Support

EFOB 2014 is probably one of the most significant organised events for Scotland’s brass bands to date, and SBBA wants to support the organisations who embrace the wide variety of opportunities this unique public focus will provide.

To assist the participants, SBBA is offering a wealth of support, from event publicity, provision of information leaflets and displays, guidance on event promotion and EFOB 2014 branding tools, through to the provision of music sets for the Pop-Up Concerts, access to guest artistes and general assistance with the coordination of the proposed collaborative projects.

Getting Involved

The success of the festival has its foundations built on the willingness of organisations to get involved, becoming part of Europe’s largest festival of its kind. SBBA invites every brass band and group in Scotland to share in this landmark festival, to benefit from the many positive aspects it offers, to take pride in being able to say “We were part of The European Festival of Brass 2014”, and to be part of history-in-the-making for brass music across Scotland.

To launch this ground breaking initiative, all SBBA member bands have now been issued with a comprehensive information pack detailing the innovative opportunities the European Festival of Brass 2014 offers to publicise and promote brass bands throughout the country. This information will also be supported by direct contact with the members when SBBA representatives embark on individual band visits to promote the community focus of the festival, highlighting the benefits it will bring to building the public’s awareness of brass bands and their music across Scotland.

EFOB 2014 is open to all of Scotland’s brass bands, brass-music-related groups and ensembles, as well as welcoming English bands located close to the borders for potential collaborative projects in Scotland.

To find out more, the Information Pack and Event Response Forms are now available for interested organisations to download from the ‘Community Events’ section of the festival’s website (

SBBA encourages and welcomes every Scottish Brass Band and brass ensemble to participate in this world-class festival, to embrace the unique opportunities it offers and to be able to say “We were part of the European Festival of Brass 2014”.

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