On Saturday 20th June, the village of Bugle opened their gates and closed the road with its freshly laid tarmac to the sound of brass. The West of England Bandsman's Festival at Bugle is a highlight of the brass band world and this was clear by the number of entries. There was the usual downpour of rain but this is Cornwall in June. We wouldn't expect anything else.
By the time Helston arrived though, the rain had stopped and the skies were clearing. Just before Helston Town Band took to the stage, the sun shone down for the first time that day. Was this an omen?
The players lined up to take the stage and were relaxed and smiling as though the nerves were giving way to adrenaline. Helston took to the stage in their confident manner and played the Centaur March followed by Fantasy for Brass Band. This was Helston Town Band on form thanks to Musical Director, David Johnsons' hard work, ably assisted by Kevin Johns. They were going to give the others a good run for their money.
Soon after playing, the sun once again disappeared, possibly to the same pub as most of the bands, to be followed by the Cornish Mist.
As the last bands in the championship section finished and the temperature began to drop, it was results time and the moment of truth.
There were the usual speeches and thanks, followed by the results, starting with the lower section. The atmosphere became tense and the clusters of players tightened before the announcer eventually, after a slight confusion over the trophies, got to the first section results. Helston were awarded second for the March and third for the test piece. Only beaten by Roche (1st & 1st), a band full of championship players and off to the Nationals in September, and Yeovil (2nd in the test piece) who have recently come down from the championship section. Although a win would have been great, it was still good to march back through Bugle with 2 large shields in front.
The band is busily preparing for the summer season and look forward to seeing you at one of appearances.