Report & Result: 2020 Butlins Mineworkers Championships: Second Section

Warm congratulations go to City of Coventry as they plant the winner's pennant in their bandroom after a 12 year wait for success.

  City of Coventry has claimed the 2020 Butlins title

There was certainly a Nordic chill in the air throughout the Second Section battle held at the Reds venue.

Simon Kerwin's evocative test-piece, full of stark Scandinavian mountain vistas and trollish mischief making neatly set the musical scene, although the temperature on the thermometer in the hall added somewhat to the experience.

The hard working organisers offered their apologies (and were caught between a rock and a hard place due to the intrusive noise created by the heating system), but it did make for a testing contesting experience for those sat on stage, around the auditorium and in the adjudicators box.


All credit then to the 17 bands, the hardy supporters and judges Anne Crookston and Sheona White.

It did though make for concentrated listening, as City of Coventry Brass under Jonathan Fearn's controlled direction eventually planted their flag at the £2,000 Skegness pole thanks to a well judged performance of 'Galdhøppigen' that captured the basics as well as the interpretive elements the adjudicators were looking for.

And that was the key it seemed as Simon Kerwin had left questions of tempi (in particular the third movement) very much in the hands of the conductors, with no circa metronome markings (other than the usual stylistic Italian adjectives) at the start of each section. Some bands paced themselves well — others fell down the crevasses of misplaced excitement.

100 meters sprint

Throughout the day the fearsome image of the opening 'Styggebreen Glacier' was invariably well handled, whilst contrast was shown with the approach to the bucolic 'Angels Garden'.

However, there seemed to be a collective loss of the senses when it came to the finale — at times the final trek for home in Jotunheimen sounded more like a 100 meters Olympic sprint rather than an icy caravan of triumph.

With that in mind the judges opted for Hade Edge, conducted by Jamie Smith, Gresley Colliery led by Craig Stevens and Besses Boys directed by James Holt to fill the remaining places on the prize list with their sensible approaches built on solid basic planning and a few well intentioned risks.

All three could have gained the title winning nod on another day, but it was the overall level of cool-headedness displayed by Jonathan Fearn at the head of City of Coventry that resonated warmly through in the box.

Admiration and frustration

It was also something the judges remarked upon on speaking to 4BR after the results. Anne Crookston spoke of the admiration for the way in which the MDs tried to create colourful musical landscapes, but also of the frustration over the snow blinded desire for speed rather than intensity to close.

There could therefore be few complaints from the rest of the field, despite their efforts to inject colour and excitement into their accounts, although Eagley may rue the little niggles that just tarnished their rendition to end to end fifth, whilst inconsistencies also bedevilled the likes of Hebden Bridge and the other top-ten finishers in particular.

Long time coming

Remarkably though for City of Coventry it marked a first contest success on only their second outing under conductor Jonathan Fearn. It has been a long time coming: Their last win was in 2008.

Formed in 1965 they've enjoyed a few notable moments in the spotlight in their history (including a film appearance with Cliff Richard and winning the Grand Shield), but this was a huge boost to their future collective confidence ahead of the Midlands Area in March.

As they said on their Facebook page: "Butlins 2020 Second Section winners! This feels so good to say! 2020 is already a great year!"

It was hard to think of a happier band representative clutching the Butlins Mineworkers Trophy than tuba player Lesley Wroe.

They hope they will be able to repeat the same feeling in the warmer Area climes of Bedworth in a few weeks time.

Malcolm Wood

Butlins 2020 Second Section winners! This feels so good to say! 2020 is already a great year!City of Coventry Band


Test Pieces: Galdhoppigen (Simon Kerwin)
Adjudicators: Anne Crookston & Sheona White

1. City of Coventry Brass (Jonathan Fearn)
2. Hade Edge (Jamie Smith)
3. Gresley Colliery (Craig Stevens)
4. Besses Boys (James Holt)
5. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
6. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
7. Ibstock Brick Brass (Stephen Cooper)
8. Greenfield (Phil Goodwin)
9. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Tom Haslam)
10. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
11. Leicestershire Coop SMW (Luke Pallister)
12. Bedford Town (Martin Hurrell)
13. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)
14. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper)
15. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
16. CWA Brass (Paul Hamilton)
17. BAE Systems (David Chapman)

Highest Placed Mining Band: Gresley Colliery

Withdrawn: Waterbeach Brass

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