Wychavon Festival of Brass
About the Contest
Wychavon Festival of Brass is held in the ancient market town of Evesham just to the north of the Cotswold hills. The contest takes place on an annual basis in late autumn, with bands competing from all over the UK. There are separate sections for Championship, First, Second, Third and Fourth Section bands. Bands can apply for entry to an additional higher section.
The venue is the Simon De Montfort School. There are a number of auditoriums and a large catering facility provided by The Fleece Inn at Bretforton, famous for its real ales.
THE WYCHAVON FESTIVAL OF BRASS STORY
The Wychavon Festival of Brass was the result of an initiative developed by the Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association which, in the late 80’s, was seeking to raise the profile of the town. An exciting brass band contest was seen as an interesting and novel way of attracting visitors and offering the local population the opportunity to hear and experience some fabulous brass music!
Because of the support of VECTA, Wychavon District Council and a variety of other local organisations, WFB has continued to grow and develop, adapting itself to differing conditions and needs as economic climates change, and bands and venues come and go!
Many bandsman will remember the early contests, the first of which was held in the Market Square and the nearby All Saints Church in Evesham. It was a beautiful and memorable day and the bands were bathed in sunshine. However, before long, the event became nomadic and rotated between the Wychavon towns of Evesham, Pershore and Droitwich before settling permanently (as far as we know!) back in its home town in 2013.
Over twenty years have elapsed since that first contest and the festival is still alive and kicking! It regularly undertakes new projects like the development of a Youth Festival, and seeks to sustain itself and interest in the brass band movement generally through collaborative efforts with its other partners in staging concerts and other events from time to time.
TWO STALWARTS OF WYCHAVON
Every organisation owes incalculable debts of gratitude to all those who, by effort and endeavour, turn dreams into realities!
Pictured on the left, is Roger Spragg, who sadly died in 2004. Roger was was a founder of WFB and was tireless in support of the contest and brass banding generally. He managed to attract the funding necessary to launch and then sustain the Festival.
On the right is Clive Allen, who retired in late 2013. Since its inception, Clive micro-managed the Festival as Treasurer and Contest Secretary among many other things.
The efforts of both of these gentlemen are remembered with gratitude and affection.