Report & Results: 2022 Bolsover Festival of Brass – Coutesy – Iwan Fox

Report & Results: 2022 Bolsover Festival of Brass

The titles go to Longridge, Stannington, BD1 Brass, Whitworth Vale & Healey and the Syston Band as a worldwide audience enjoys the brass band entertainment on the weekend in Shirebrook.

Bolsover Festival of Brass
   The Longridge Band claimed the top section title and the invite to the 2023 British Open Spring Festival

Under MD Mark Peacock they took home the £700 first prize plus the trophies as newly crowned champion and ‘People’s Choice’ winners after also topping the on-line viewers vote sponsored by Warwick Music Group.

In addition, their solo cornet player Georgina Moulsdale deservedly claimed the ‘Best Soloist’ award.

Victory also saw the Northwest band secure their spot in the Senior Trophy at the 2023 British Open Spring Festival.

Longridge Buzz

Longridge opened with a choreographed upbeat arrangement of ‘Amazing Grace’ by soprano player John Atkinson, led by Georgina in sparkling fashion. Philip Harper’s ‘Nordic Polska’ and Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s ‘Aureum’ offered stylistic contrast before closing with Andrea Price’s cleverly realised ‘Buzz’ — a homage to the city of Manchester and its youthful musicians.

It certainly left a buzz in the hall as well as with adjudicator Alan Morrison, who felt that it rounded off what he told 4BR was “an intelligently conceived and delivered”programme.

A delighted winning MD also felt that his band had “given everything” after they had earlier performed the set in the First Section — eventually coming fourth. “I thrilled for the band,” he said. “Playing the programme twice in such a short space of time was difficult, but the players were brilliant.”


It was also enough to repel the energised challenge of runner-up Skelmanthorpe.

Martin Heartfield led his Yorkshire band in a set bookended by the vibrancy of ‘Los Hermanos de Bop’ and ‘Nightingale Dances’. Contrast came with the horn solo ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘Cossack Fire Dance’ and Billy Joel’s tender ‘Lullaby’.

Third place went to Staffordshire as they continued their good form (they claimed a podium finish in the First Section) under guest conductor Leigh Baker.

They utilised the youthful talents of Composer in Residence, Samuel Shelley in a set that featured music that will appear on their forthcoming CD release — from the opening ‘Soaring through the Skies’ to the closing ‘Heroes of Our Time’ in homage to Covid-19 health and service workers.

Entertainment subjectivity

In his pre-results address, adjudicator Alan Morrison gave a precise analysis of the objective as well as subjective nature of ‘own-choice’ entertainment sets, outlining the balance he felt had to be struck between musical ambition and technical reality in picking pieces that showcased strengths rather than desires.

That didn’t stop a wide variety of styles, inspirations and genres being showcased — from Enderby’s space themed set, South Yorkshire Police’s musical optimism programme and Wardle’s ‘Elements’ connection to fill the remaining top-six places, as well as the likes of the Broadway inspired ‘Sweet Charity’ feature of Derwent Brass and Chapeltown Silver’s ‘Stabat Mater’.

To enjoy the action again:

First Section:

With bands able to enter more than one section at the event, there were some testing stamina challenges for those who performed in both the First and Championship contests on the Sunday.

One was the in-form Stannington Band from Yorkshire. Fresh from their National Championship victory in Cheltenham they showed that they had plenty of musical reserves of strength to draw on as they added the Bolsover title with a bank balance boost of £500 with a confident title winning set under MD, Sam Fisher.

Stamina and swagger

Opening with the Beethoven inspired ‘A Fantasy of Joy’, they quickly changed inspirational track with Van Morrison’s classic 1970 pop hit, ‘Moondance’ played with nonchalant bass trombone swagger by ‘Best Soloist’ award winner Matt Doubleday.

The tenderness of Rebecca Lundberg’s arrangement of the hymnal ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ led into the powerful excitement of ‘Hyperdrive’ by German composer Mathias Wehr to close.

The band had earlier in the day performed the set in the Championship Section (eventually coming joint ninth), before and hour or so later reprising it to claim First Section victory.

Speaking to 4BR at the event before the announcement of the results he said that he wanted to carry on “pushing the ambition” of his players as they now look forward to their Championship Section Area debut next year.

With adjudicator Roger Webster also highlighting the need to perform sets with musical balance as well as realistic ambition, it was York Railway Institute who finished runner-up.


MD David Lancaster led an engaging programme inspired by different tempos of perambulation — from the march of ‘Star & Stripes’ through to a ‘Hallelujah Parade’ to close as they just pipped the admirable consistency of Staffordshire (reprising their top section set) in third.

Behind them, there was much to enjoy with the variety on show, with the top-six places going to Longridge (who later claimed the Championship Section honours), Old Silkstone and Chapeltown Silver.

To enjoy the action again:

Second Section:

Sunday morning’s musical aperitif in the Shirebrook Academy Theatre was provided by a trio of excellent Second Section competitors.

There was no doubting the outstanding quality of the winner of the £300 first prize either, as BD1 Brass made the trip down from Bradford led by Jonathan Bates to provide adjudicator David Hirst and a worldwide audience with a ‘Robin Hood’ storybook programme delivered with considerable presentational as well as musical panache.

Rockin’ Robin

The MD’s arrangement of ‘Agincourt Song’ led into the dramatic ‘Battle for Sherwood Forest’. BBC Young Musician Brass Finalist Phoebe Mallinson was the outstanding ‘Best Soloist’ award winner on ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ on flugel horn, followed by the euphonium and baritone feature ‘Under the Cover of Night’.

The finale from William Walton’s ‘Henry V’ suite was topped by the exuberance of ‘Rockin’ Robin’ as the titular hero was inspired by the Jackson Five to round off his, and the band’s triumph.


Although BD1 claimed a clear victory, there was a great deal to enjoy from podium finishers Shirebrook Miners Welfare and City of Cambridge.

Shirebrook bookend their confident set with the ‘New Colonial March’ and ‘ET Theme’ as well as works by Rodrigo and Gershwin, whilst City of Cambridge headed to the USA and baseball celebrations of ‘Fanfare for Fenway’ through to Martin Cordner’s ‘Americana’ to close.

To enjoy the action again:

Third Section:

Saturday’s entertainment came from the competitors in the Third and Fourth Section.

A commanding Whitworth Vale & Healey claimed a hat-trick of Third Section Bolsover titles, as under Alan Widdop they delivered a confident set that opened with the funky swagger of ‘Birdland’.


National Children’s Band cornet player Oliver Tattersall played with remarkable maturity to deservedly claim the ‘Best Soloist’ award with a touching rendition of Ben Holling’s popular ‘First Light’. The ‘Rocky’ film classic ”Gonna Fly Now’ was contrasted by Vinter’s ‘Elegy’ from ‘Entertainments’ before they closed with the finale from ‘William Tell’ to pick up the £250 first prize.


Welcome debutants Spennymoor Town made the trip down from the North East to claim second place with a set that included the contest premiere of their opening item ‘Intrada’ written for them by composer Matthew Hunt, whilst their own talented 13 year old cornet player Michael McDonald also give a wonderfully mature performance of ‘First Light’.

Third placed Rode Hall Silver rounded of their set with the big band swing of ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, whilst there were also solid shows from Ireland Colliery Chesterfield and Bakewell Silver.

To enjoy the action again:

Fourth Section:

The Fourth Section honours went to a delighted Syston Brass as they claimed the £200 first prize under Colin Jones with a variety-box set that had everything from Jamie Texidor to Barbara Streisand and even a flamboyant ‘Sweet Charity’ solo.

The Midlanders opened with ‘Amparita Roca’, followed by Helen Casewll donning a feather boa from her ‘Bag for Life’ for a super flugel rendition of the classic, ‘Big Spender’. A neat detour to the 70’s Sky folk rock of ‘Carillon’ and the thump of ‘All That Jazz’ led into the disco dance ‘Enough is Enough’ ‘Rhythm Explosion’ to close.


It gave them a commanding margin of victory, although each of their rivals also provided excellent entertainment.

They were led by runner-up, Newark Town Band as they showcased both their musical skills (with cornet player Tania Moonsinghe giving a fine rendition of ‘First Light’ to take the ‘Best Soloist’ award) and tap dancing talents (with a cracking ‘Singing in the Rain’ item complete with brollies).

Third place went to Littleborough’s space inspired set ahead of Matlock and Whitwell.

To enjoy the action again:

Worldwide appeal

With the festival once again being sponsored by Warwick Music Group and with a raft of additional sponsorship support from companies and local authorities, the event was once again live broadcast around the banding globe.

With a ‘Viewer’s Choice’ prize and social media interaction, it saw people from as far afield as the USA to New Zealand take the opportunity to enjoy the entertainment of offer over the two days.

A spokesperson for the contest told 4BR: “Our thanks go to all the competing bands and to our group of hard working volunteers and sponsors for their support. We will always endeavour to do what we can do to keep improving the event and welcome feedback as well as offers to assist us in putting a festival on that continues to reach cross the banding world.”

Iwan Fox


Championship Section:

Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

1. Longridge (Mark Peacock): 192
2. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield): 191
3. Staffordshire (Leigh Baker): 190
4. Enderby (Stephen Phillips): 189
5. South Yorkshire Police (John Davis): 188
6. Wardle Anderson Brass (Brad McCulloch): 187
7. Unite the Union (Jonathan Beatty): 186
8. Brunel Brass (Daniel Hall): 185
9= Derwent Brass (Jack Capstaff): 182*
9= Stannington (Sam Fisher): 182
11. Roberts Bakery Band (Paul Lovatt Cooper): 181
12= Newstead Brass (David Holling): 179*
12= Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott): 179
14. Chapeltown Silver (Colum O’Shea): 178

*Deducted 1 time penalty point

2023 Spring Festival invitation: Longridge
WMG Audience Viewers Award: Longridge
Most Entertaining Band: Skelmanthorpe
Best Soloist: Georgina Moulsdale (cornet) — Longridge

First Section:

Adjudicator: Roger Webster

1. Stannington (Sam Fisher): 98
2. York Railway Institute (David Lancaster): 96
3. Staffordshire (Leigh Baker): 95
4. Longridge (Mark Peacock): 93
5. Old Silkstone (George Newbould): 92
6. Chapeltown Silver (Colum O’Shea): 91
7. SPAL Sovereign Brass (Alan Gifford): 90
8. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott): 89
9. South Yorkshire Police (John Davis): 88
10. Silk Brass (Tony Wyatt): 87
11. Rolls Royce Derby (Graham Cardwell): 86

Most Entertaining Band: York Railway Institute
Best Soloist: Matt Doubleday (bass trombone) — Stannington

Second Section:

Adjudicator: David Hirst

1. BD1 Brass (Jonathan Bates): 88
2. Shirebrook Miners Welfare (Ben Hewlett-Davies): 85
3. City of Cambridge (Philip Fisher): 84

Best Soloist: Phoebe Mallinson (fluge) — BD1 Brass

Third Section:

Adjudicator: Nicholas Garman

1. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Alan Widdop): 88
2. Spennymoor Town Band (Fiona Casewell): 84
3. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler): 82
4. Ireland Colliery (Chesterfield) (Sam Johnston): 80
5. Bakewell Silver (Sarah Fellowes): 78

Best Soloist: Oliver Tattersall (cornet) — Whitworth Vale & Healey

Fourth Section:

Adjudicator: Nicholas Garman

1. Syston Brass (Colin Jones): 87
2. Newark Town Band (Gary Wyatt): 82
3. Littleborough Brass (Ashley Higgins): 80
4. Matlock Band (Chris Banks): 78
5. Whitwell Band (Rob Deakin): 76

Best Soloist: Tania Moonsinghe (cornet) — Newark Town Band