Tightening of Coronavirus rules forces Scottish Festival of Brass postponementSunday 13 September 2020
After the latest retightening of the national rules on social gatherings to reverse the current rising numbers of Coronavirus infections, the decision was inevitable: SBBA has reluctantly agreed to postpone November’s annual Scottish Festival of Brass.
The event, which traditionally takes place over two weekends, features the Scottish Open for championship bands, the Scottish Challenge for lower section bands and the Scottish Youth Brass Band Festival.
At a meeting of SBBA’s Events Committee via Zoom today (13 September), members took the difficult decision – already anticipated in several quarters – to defer what would have been the final major competition of the year.
“In a year in which COVID-19 has devastated so many lives in so many ways – personal, family, work, academic, social, sport and leisure – this postponement may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but it was to be the last big occasion in a calendar of events to mark our association’s 125th anniversary,” said SBBA president Carrie Boax.
“There is a real sadness in taking this decision as it means 2020 will probably come to an end without any live organised brass banding activities in Scotland since March.
“The Scottish Government announcement that it is retightening the rules regarding public gatherings – cutting down the number of people who can meet in groups to just six from only two households – means that any return to normal banding would appear to be off the cards for some time to come.”
There is, however, a silver lining to this cloudy predicament. In view of the success of the virtual concert by the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) in August, there is a desire to hold a similar event for the youth bands who would have been taking part in the Scottish Youth Brass Band Festival.
SBBA education officer John Boax commented: “It is important that we try to keep our young musicians connected during the pandemic so we are working with Creative Scotland and their Youth Music Initiative in an attempt to keep the Scottish Youth Brass Band Festival alive by putting on an alternative online event.
“I am currently contacting those youth bands who had indicated their willingness to participate in the festival to see if there is any interest in staging a virtual event. If any youth bands would like to take part, they can contact me at email@example.com.”
Carrie Boax added: “SBBA has at all times been driven by the current official guidelines throughout this pandemic and prioritises the health and wellbeing of its members.
“Consequently, for the time being, SBBA is reiterating its message that the suspension of brass band rehearsals and engagements should remain in place until such time the Scottish Government advice changes to allow public gatherings of numerous people in enclosed spaces without the requirements for physical distancing.”