Could Butlin's return in 2024?

Could the sale the resort group for £300m see the brass band championships return in 2024?

  The last event took place in January 2022 with 29 competing bands

There may be a faint glimmer of possibility that the Butlin's Brass Band Championships could return in 2024 following the news that the parent resort group has been bought by the Harris Family Trust for a reported £300m.

The event last took place in January this year following the cancellation of the 2021 Championships due to Covid-19. However, it was revealed that due to "calendar issues" there would be no festival in 2023 although organisers were "working together to secure a date for 2024."

However, no news has since been made public about progress due to the protracted sale of the company, which The Guardian newspaper first highlighted in December 2021.


Initially revived in 2003 with a link to the defunct CISWO Mineworkers Championships, the Butlin's Championships quickly became very popular, offering generous prizes funds for competing bands as well as additional music and entertainment attractions for those staying at its Skegness resort.

In total it paid out over £600,000 in prize money alone over the next 18 years, although the contest started to struggle to retain interest due to the early January calendar date — the last event in 2022 taking place on the second weekend of the year.

The 2022 event attracted 29 bands.

Latest chapter

It is the latest ownership chapter in the company's history — one which was founded in 1936 in Skegness by Billy Butlin, and at its height included eight UK based resorts as well as hotels in the Bahamas and Spain.

In the 1970s it was sold to the Rank entertainment conglomerate which in turn sold it to Bourne Leisure in 2000. That group was sold as part of a £3bn deal to a consortium including the US private equity group Blackstone and the Harris, Cook and Allen families in January 2021.

The new deal does not include Butlin's property assets that were sold earlier this year to the UK's biggest private pension fund, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, for a reported £300m.

We are delighted to reaffirm our love for Butlin's and once again be the new owners of this great brandPaul Harris

Investment plans

A report on the new sale came in The Guardian newspaper, where Paul Harris, on behalf of Harris Family Trusts, stated: "We are delighted to reaffirm our love for Butlin's and once again be the new owners of this great brand."

He added: "We look forward to working alongside the Butlin's leadership team as they strive to deliver their strategic plan for the business and help them accelerate their investment plans to give our Butlin's guests an even better holiday experience."

Whether or not this includes a return for the Brass Band Festival was not revealed, although in a further response, Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone, said: "Butlin's is in a strong position to take advantage of the continued growth in the staycation market, and I have no doubt it will continue to flourish."

4BR has tried to contact the company for further comment.

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    

Bolsover Fes

Countdown to Bolsover

September 27 • Brass bands get another worldwide broadcast boost in Bolsover this weekend.


rooms4groups launches brass band partnership

September 26 • The leading brass band group hotel provider has linked up with Brass Bands England to benefit member bands.


Bousie set for marathon performance

September 26 • Foden's Mark Bousie will be looking to complete the ultimate London test to help support a wonderful cause.


Brabbins to lead free masterclass

September 26 • Martyn Brabbins will lead a free masterclass seminar at the University of the West of England — and you can grab your place as a conductor or performer.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Octagon Theatre Yeovil

Saturday 1 October • The Octagon Theatre. Hendford. Yeovil. Somerset BA20 1UX

Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Albany Theatre Coventry

Sunday 2 October • Albany Road, Coventry CV5 6JQ

Contest: Bolsover Festival of Brass

Sunday 2 October • Heritage High School, Clowne, Chesterfield S43 4QG

Boarshurst Silver Band - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 2 October • Boarshurst Band Club. Greenbridge Lane. Greenfield. Saddleworth OL3 7EW

Regent Hall Concerts - The Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra

Friday 7 October • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London WC1 2 DJ

East London Brass

September 28 • East London Brass is looking for a new principal cornet. We're a friendly and ambitious band and would love to welcome a great player who knows how to lead, inspire and enjoy themselves!

Cheltenham Silver Band

September 28 • Cheltenham Silver Band are looking for a kit player/percussionist. We are a 3rd section contesting band with an exciting programme of performances and contests. We are a friendly and supportive band with a strong academy and regular social events.

Stape Silver Band

September 28 • We are looking for a new Musical Director for our friendly, family oriented band based in Pickering, North Yorkshire. We are looking for an inspiring MD who will help grow, improve and develop the band.

Martyn Evans

BEd (Hons) NABBC member
Conductor, Band Trainer, Teacher, Adjudicator


 © 2022 4barsrest.com Ltd