Take 5
Five early season events not to miss

Lots to look forward to in the early part of 2024, but these five events should top your 'not to miss' list .

There are plenty of contests, concerts and events on the 2024 calendar worth taking a trip to enjoy - but these are our five that should top your wish list. 

RNCM International Brass Band Festival
Friday 26th – Sunday 28th January
RNCM Manchester

Without doubt the most important showcase event in the brass band calendar in the UK. 

This will be the first year it is curated by a collective team headed by Artistic Director Dr David Thornton, and there is little doubt that a new era is being marked.

His ethos of ‘dropping the rules’  to “encourage imagination, diversity, curiosity and openness”  builds on the deep foundations established by his predecessor Paul Hindmarsh, and with six superb elite level bands and a host of world class soloists and other attractions, it is a weekend that shouldn’t be missed.

It's a line-up featuring in performance order: Foden’s, Brass Band Treize Etoiles, Tredegar, Black Dyke,  Cory and Brighouse & Rastrick, as well as soloists Sheona White, Lionel Fumeaux, Matthias Hofs (above), Siobhan Bates, Brett Baker, Gary Curtin, Glyn Williams and Ellena Newton.

Add in performances from the Grimethorpe Youth Band, students at the RNCM, interviews and discussions and you get a packed weekend that certainly lives up to Dr David Thornton’s ambitious billing.

Find out more :



Norwegian National Championships
Grieg Hall
Friday 9th – Saturday 10th February

On the National Championships weekend the brutalist architecture of the Grieg Hall in Bergen is turned into the beating heart of Norwegian banding.

Even in reaching middle age (the first event took place in 1979) it still retains a rebellious sense of ambition and explorative musical vigour that stirs the blood.  

Where else for instance will you be able to get to hear a work entitled, ‘Jesus in Tibet’ alongside 'Where Angels Fly', 'Fraternity' and more in the top section as own-choice works, as well as 'Symphony of Colours' as the set-work and the usual plethora of exciting (and sometimes overly ambitious) own-choice selections in each division – First to Fifth. 

It’s gloriously eclectic, very often memorable, occasionally bonkers and always interesting. The beer is expensive of course, but the music making more than makes up for it.

Find out more: 

UniBrass Championships 
Warwick Arts Centre
Saturday 17th February

One of the great success stories of the current contesting movement in the UK – with students leading the way in doing what students do best: Enjoying themselves.

The sense of inclusion and diversity permeates the day – from the friendly competitiveness of the UniBrass Shield and Trophy contests, through to the Gala Concert, which this year will be provided by Foden’s Band and guest soloist James Fountain.

Each band provides a 20-minute set that mixes the serious as well as the playful which invariably act as something of a showcase for emerging playing, conducting and composing talent.

Find out more: 

Yorkshire Regional Championships
Huddersfield Town Hall
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd March    

Regional favouritism aside from those who proudly proclaim their ‘Area’ is as equally important and exciting, there is still something about these championships that set it apart.

Perhaps it is the bluff Yorkshire pride that is worn like an invisible badge of honour by every band that takes to the stage, but it is hard to think of other ‘Area’ victories in English banding that are so keenly fought over – especially in the top section.

You get the feeling sometimes that being proclaimed Yorkshire Champion and claiming the local bragging rights is even more important than perhaps winning a National title itself.  

It makes for a great weekend finding out for yourself.

Find out more:

National Youth Championships of Great Britain
Dean Close School
Saturday 23rd March 

Revitalised and rejuvenated, the National Youth Championships head to Cheltenham this year with the promise of another great day of inclusive music making.

There is plenty to keep you entertained - with the Besson Prodige Showcase Section a non-competitive delight, packed with youngsters simply enjoying their experience of playing in front of a supportive audience.

The Yamaha Performance Section and World of Brass Championships Section open the door to competition – all with the overriding aim of increasing experience and encouraging the exploration of pathways to further encourage interest in banding in university and beyond.

Find out more:

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 28 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band - Milnrow Band

Sunday 28 July • Dobcross Band Club. Platt Lane. Dobcross. Saddleworth. Oldham OL3 8AD

Regent Brass - 'Brass on the Grass' at Westminster Abbey

Wednesday 14 August • Great Peter House, Abbey Gardens, 2 Great College St, London SW1P 3SE


Sunday 1 September • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Contest: 170th British Open

Saturday 7 September • Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Chinnor Silver

July 23 • Require a Bass player (Bb or Eb), Bass trombone, Soprano cornet and Percussionist. We are a friendly, ambitious 2nd section band that will start 2025 at the top of their Regional league table. We are located in South Oxfordshire and have our own bandroom in Chinnor

Linthwaite Band

July 23 • We are a 4th section contesting Band, based on the outskirts of Huddersfield, and we currently have a vacancy for a tenor trombone, to complete our friendly team.

Thoresby Colliery Band

July 22 • Thoresby Colliery Band are inviting applications for a Baritone player.. We are at the top of tables for the 1st section Midlands Area, with a sensible calendar of concerts and contests.

James McLeod

BMus (hons)
Euphonium Soloist, Teacher and Conductor


 © 2024 4barsrest.com Ltd