This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.
Bideford Town Band
The earliest known reference to the existance of a brass band in Bideford is found in the Bideford Gazette dated March 24th 1853.
This refers to a 'handsome' gold ring presented by members of the band to Mr. Mckensie who was the local professor of music, following his return from London.This particular band appears to have comprised of just a few players of brass instruments who at times gave public recitals in and around the town.
On February 4th 1868 a new amateur brass band was formed from the members of the former Devon Volunteer Rifle band.Several gentlemen in the neighbourhood subscribed liberally towards it. In August 1879 a new bandstand was erected on the river bank at the cost of 80 guineas.
Contesting has always played a large and very important part of the life of Bideford Band and on June 1st 1936 the first ever Brass band contest in Devon was held at the Bideford sports ground.
In 1947 when the South West Brass Band Association was formed,Bideford was one of the founder members and has maintained an unbroken membership to this day.
The late Mr. Sid Way, a past Chairman of the West of England Contesting Committee commenced his playig with the Bideford Town Band at the age of 8years and maintained a lifelong interest in it. He was made a lifemember of the Band.
During July 1998 the Leichhardt Band, from Sidney Australia visited Bideford for 5 days, accompanied by councillors from Sidney, who felt they had been made very welcome.During which time we enjoyed combined concerts with them and a full programme of social events including several trips to various locations.The band first came to Bideford in 1993 and in 1996 several members of the band visited them in Sidney assisting in some civic occasions. Members of both bands have made an enduring friendship thereby fostering international relations.
During the last few years the Band has played to the French Twinning Group from Landivisiau, who visit Bideford each year.
Bideford Town Band has played at the very first South West Bandstand Marathon in 2008, where 50 bands played across the South West and the first National event in 2009. This is an event, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad, leading up to the Olympic Games 2012.