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Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association


Incorporating the Entertainment Contest organised by the Association in conjunction with and at the invitation of the Proprietor of the Green Dragon Inn

The 2016 Contest will take place on Sunday 11th September 2016

 Hardraw Scar Brass Band Contest 2015

The iconic gorge of Hardraw Scar once again rang with the sound of Brass over the last weekend. Eleven bands took to the famous bandstand 134 years after the first contest playing an entertainment programme for the enthusiastic audience who pack the venue each year. With fine weather once again gracing the festival, patrons were treated to a highly entertaining cornucopia of music throughout the day all set against the magnificent backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. With such a spectacular setting many loyal spectators arrive over an hour before the festival opens to secure one of the prized spots overlooking the stone walled bandstand!

This year’s event was especially poignant for many as it was the first festival since the passing of Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association stalwart Colin Wormald, long time organiser of the festival who worked tirelessly to make the event its current success. The fine weather, excellent music and the friendly spirit of both the audience and players would most certainly have met with Colin’s approval.

Tingley Band under the baton of Geoff Fowler triumphed in a small Section B field (4th Section Bands), with Tingley also collecting prizes in the Hymn, Solo and March category from Barry Gibb, the representative of the local Theakston’s Brewery who generously support the contest.

The Section A title was lifted by Elland Silver. Elland’s winning programme included the March ‘The Senator’ and Steve Robson’s arrangement of ‘Love Unknown’ as their featured Hymn tune with both performances impressing adjudicator Anne Crookston so much that they were also award the prizes for Best March and Hymn. David Woodward’s rendition of Blaydon Races also caught Anne’s ear as Elland swept the board across Section A, much to the delight of musical director Daniel Brooks.

The award for the most entertaining programme went to Shirland Welfare Band who provided a lively finale to the day before forming the core of the traditional massed band recital at the end of the festival.

Information for Visitors

The contest, made popular by the television series “A Band for Britain” takes place in a delightful setting in the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn within sound of the spectacular waterfall, Hardraw Force.

The contest begins at 10.00 am and generally ends in the late afternoon.  Admission is by ticket, available at the entrance gate .  Programmes are available on site.

A one-way system operates on contest days from Hawes, as the lane accessing the village of Hardraw is extremely narrow and most bands arrive in coaches! Direction signs are placed on the route from Hawes.  If you are using satnav the postcode of the Green Dragon is DL8 3LZ.

Car Parking is located in an nearby field within a short walk of the Inn and the bandstand site. It is not possible to take vehicles onto the site.  Disabled access may be possible at pre-arranged times - please contact the management at the Green Dragon Inn to arrange this.

As well as the meals and drinks served at the bar of the Green Dragon, there is on-site catering and a bar serving Theakstons’ beers and other drinks.

The contest takes place in the open air, and while some seating is provided, it will guarantee your comfort if you bring your own chairs.  Given the vagaries of summer weather in the Pennines, waterproof clothing, sun-cream and/or midge repellent are likely to enhance your enjoyment of the day - the bands will play whatever the weather!

We do hope that you will enjoy your visit to Hardraw Scar contest and become one of our many regular visitors.

Car Parking Arrangements

A field adjacent to the Green Dragon is used for car parking. The farmer who owns the field does ask car owners to pay a small charge for the use of this facility.

Hardraw Scar Contests - Entries requested!

Yes, it really is that time of year again!

Stuart Warriner writes:

Dear Friends

Entries are now open once more for the Hardraw Scar Contest 2016 and I am already looking forward to another great day of contesting in the fabulous Hardraw venue on Sunday 11th September 2016

As last year we are using a two stage entry procedure to be as fair as possible to all bands. The deadline for initial entries is the 13th of March which sees us clear of the main Regional Contests.

The entry form and procedure is attached (click on the link!) - basically for now all you need to do is to send this form back to me, e-mail is easiest or you can post it to me. I will respond within 48 hours. Then after the 13th of March we will assign places, drawing for slots if the sections are full. You send the entry fee once your place is confirmed.

Please do take the time that this procedure gives to talk to your bands about this special contest. A number of bands who were allocated places withdrew last year, some rather late in the day which led to disappointment for the audience. Please remember that we need to cherish this contest, it is so unique and people travel 100s of miles to come to it so for both them and also for our sponsors (that make the whole event possible) we need to put on a good show with a full complement of bands.

I very much look forward to hearing from you and for another vibrant day this autumn!

Any queries just let me know

For full results  and pictures of the 2015 contest click here

In 1881 the first annual Brass Band Contest was held in the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw. For a short history of the contest click here. Since 1989 the contest has been organised by the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Bands Association and takes place in what is probably the most spectacular setting for any such event. Brass Bands, ranging from the small village band to the Championship Section, present short concerts throughout the day and are judged both on the standard of their music and on the selection of their concert programme.

Each band’s programme has to contain a march and a hymn tune, and their performance is limited to about 20 minutes each. Occasionally bands may choose to perform the same pieces but the format of this contest means that the audience get to listen to a great range of music in the course of the day. The day is brought to a traditional close with a short concert by the massed bands, after which the awards are presented. For a list of placings and adjudicators click here.

Entry is by programme, which enables the audience to come and go as they wish during the day; bars and catering are readily available and the natural amphitheatre makes a stunning spot to spend a summer Sunday. In any case, it is a wonderful opportunity to listen to brass bands doing what they do best – entertaining an audience!

Over the last 20 years more than a hundred bands have participated in this contest, many of them local, others coming from all over the North of England.

On leaving his 'box' at the end of the 2003 contest the adjudicator made the following comments:­ "I am amazed to see so many people in attendance enjoying this thrilling experience. The setting in this beautiful gorge, surrounded by high cliffs, provides excellent acoustics and all bands did their very best to put on a wonderful show. Long may this unique and glorious event continue".