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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 Hardraw Scar Waterfall and Grounds

The 2019 Contest is scheduled to take place

on Sunday 8th September 2019

starting at 10.00 a.m.

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".

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 10.15 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.

Please note (and ensure that your coachdriver is aware) that there is no coach parking available in Hardraw. Coaches will need to drop off their passengers and return to park in Hawes.

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.

For full results  and pictures of the 2018 contest click here

Park Community Academy - our popular entertainers!

A regular feature of the Hardraw contest is the entertainment provided during the mid-contest lunch break by the band of Park Community Academy from Blackpool. This is always much appreciated by both audience and bands, and is always a delight. Here they are practising before the big day!

 Hardraw Scar 2018

Sunday’s Hardraw Scar Brass Band Festival once again delighted a hardy audience in a very autumnal Wensleydale.  While none of the programmes featured anything from Vivaldi , it may well have been appropriate given the presence of all four seasons throughout the day.  Not that this perturbed the enthusiastic audience who braved the odd passing shower to let 12 bands entertain them throughout the day in the gorge below the famous waterfall.  Adjudicator Martin Heartfield discovered a new definition of open adjudication as he expertly tamed his scores and remarks in the brisk Yorkshire winds!  

The contest is organised by the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association with sponsorship from the local Theakson brewery whose representative Barry Gibb was on hand to present the prizes.  

Section B – for ungraded, fourth and third section bands was won by Leyburn Band under the baton of Rebecca Lundberg.  Leyburn also secured the prize for best march, best basses and best hymn within Section B.  The best soloist award was taken by Otley Band’s Malcolm Sexton with a stunning rendition of the cornet solo Body and Soul.  Section B also provided the winner of the entertainment prize with entertainment adjudicators Alan Seymour and Peter Coles particularly enjoying the performance of Shepherd Group Concert Brass.  Shepherd’s performance also gave them 3rd place in Section B with Shirland Welfare gaining the 2nd spot on the podium.

In Section A which is for 2nd 1st and Championship Section Bands, Tintwistle took the prize for best hymn and solo while Wardle Anderson Brass secured the prize for the best march.  In the overall competition, Ferryhill placed in third with Tintwistle taking the runners up spot, leaving Wardle Anderson Brass and their musical director Sean Conway to celebrate victory on their first visit to the contest. All that was left was for the departing bands and audience to enjoy the spectacular Wensleydale fells as they finally revealed themselves in the early evening sunshine.

Overall Results

Section A

1st Wardle Anderson Brass


3rd Ferryhill

Section B

1st Leyburn

2nd Shirland Welfare

3rd Shepherd Group Concert Brass

For full results of the 2018 contest click here