Welcome to the home of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, presented by Kapitol Promotions Ltd.
The ‘National’, as it is often referred to, is brass banding’s equivalent of the football league – a first-past-the-post Championship involving some 600 bands in eight ‘Regional’ qualifying heats staged up and down the UK, plus two ‘Finals’ events.
The National Brass Band Championships, which have existed since 1945 in their current format, are split into five sections – Championship Section, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th sections – and eight qualifying regions in the UK. These are the London and Southern Counties Region, the Midlands, the North of England, the North West. Scotland, Wales, the West of England and Yorkshire. Depending upon the number of bands entered into each section in each region, the top two, three and sometimes four placed bands qualify for a place in the ‘Finals’, held in the autumn each year. The Lower Section Finals, showcasing sections 1 – 4, are held at the Harrogate International Centre in September and the Championship Section Final is held in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, in October. The first four bands in the Championship Section Final secure automatic entry for the following year’s equivalent event and the results of the Regional Championships not only determine the bands that qualify for an invitation to the National Finals, but also their gradings for the following year’s Regional Championships.
The last few years have seen a renaissance in the popularity of the ‘National’, particularly the Championship Section event held in the Royal Albert Hall, London, which now attracts over 4,000 each year to hear the band world’s top ensembles battle for the UK’s top title. The Championship Section Final is further enhanced, regularly, by a glittering concert showcasing the brass band world’s top talent. Recent years have seen a plethora of stars appear in Kapitol Brass in Concert, including the country’s leading trumpet players, Tony Fisher and Derek Watkins, the late legendary trombonist, Don Lusher, the dazzling international euphoniumist, David Childs, LSO Brass, the Band of HM Royal Marines, Black Dyke performing with sword fighters from the Royal Armouries, the eclectic Mnozil Brass and many, many more performance giants.
National Heritage Trail
We have also launched a National Heritage Trail, which, over time, will comprise a series of articles about the history and important cultural contribution to Britain's musical legacy made by one of the oldest and most prestigious brass band events in the world - the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.
For more information about the National Heritage Trail and to read the first scholarly contribution in this series from Ray Farr - Head Conductor-in-Residence and Director of Brass Band Studies at one of the oldest universities in Britain - Durham, click the 'News' page icon and then look for 'National Heritage Trail...', posted 29 March 2009. It's a truly fascinating insight in to the very early days of the Championships, when they were staged at Crystal Palace - we're confident you'll enjoy it!