All that is big, bold and brass in Blackpool

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.
The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

Eighty bands from the across the country go head to head in the North West Regional Championships

You have seen the film, the play, heard the music in parks and band stands and flowers shows.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

But what few appreciate is just how BIG and BOLD Blackpool is in the brass band world.

Just as the resort is the global mecca of ballroom dancing in all its form the resort is a bastion of the brass band. And that’s all the more reason to host the regional finals of the definitive brass band contest here.

Almost 80 bands from across the country converged on Blackpool for the North West Regional championships of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

The Winter Gardens resounded with the sound of brass in three halls - with 78 bands competing in five sections.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The ‘National’ is brass band’s equivalent of the football league, say organsiers at Kapitol National championships are presented by Kapitol Promotions.

It’s a first past the post championship involving 6,000 bands in eight regional qualfiying heats - including Blackpool’s - plus not one but two ‘finals’.

The championships have been run since 1945 in their current format which gives an idea of the sheer social history involved.

The Blackpool based regional event is one of the most fiercely contested. Depending on the number of bands entered into each section in each region up to four placed bands qualify for a place in the finals which are held each autumn.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The first showcase finals are held at the Centaur in Cheltenham in September and the the big one - the Championship Section Final at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall in October.

Brassed Off, the film, may have made the event, and the venue, famous but for bandsmen and women, young and old, the pilgrimage to Blackpool has been a critical part of the country wide search for the best for decades.

Local bands taking part included Freckleton, Poulton le Fylde, Blackpool (placed in the top three in the Third Section), Pilling and Thornton Cleveleys (placed in the top two in the Fourth Section).

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band perform. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. The Manx Concert Brass Band in action. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.

The North West Regional Championships of the National Brass Band Championships were held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on Sunday. Bands from all over the region took part in the event. Greenfield Band. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday February 28, 2016.