Back to Banding: Rugby club, academy, pub and church – just some of the places where Annan has been rehearsing

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Annan Town Band has had a variety of venues since it returned to rehearsals on 19 May, such has been its determination to carry on banding. Starting out in the car park of the town’s rugby club, members were that far spaced out that resident conductor Simon Railton had a loud haler on hand just in case he needed it!

When weather and scheduled rugby matches halted a couple of the outdoor rehearsals, the band found alternative outside accommodation in the grounds of Annan Academy where the players received numerous messages from neighbours in nearby streets saying that it was fantastic to hear the brass music again. 

Now that Dumfries & Galloway is in Tier One of restrictions, the band is able to play inside again, albeit with safety measures in place. Unfortunately, the bandroom in the town’s Blue Bell public house is very tight for space and members are unable to socially distance as a full band.  

“Only one section at a time would fit into the room at a time so we’ve had to source alternative rehearsal facilities which has been a massive struggle,” said band secretary Samantha Bryden.

“Some venues are not confident to share their premises, some are not big enough and others are already being used. However, we have been fortunate enough to find a temporary home in the United Reform Church in Annan, a lovely church where we have held concerts previously.

“Hopefully, we shall be going there every second week so we’re still on the search for other premises. We just have to be patient until restrictions ease again – fingers crossed! – but it’s very concerning as we have to start preparing for the National Finals in September at Cheltenham.”

Samantha added: “We’re extremely grateful to all those who are supporting us; we wouldn’t be able to play without their help and understanding. We are taking things one week at a time and players are just thrilled to be playing together again.

If you would like to share your experience of playing again in our Back to Banding series, please send a photo and a short write-up telling us about where you have chosen to play and how your members feel about being back together to


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