Council strikes a sour chord with 'dismayed' Northampton band after leaving them off summer line up

Northampton Concert Band say they have been left out of this year's Bands in the Park programme.
Northampton Concert Band say they have been left out of this year's Bands in the Park programme.

A Northampton big band say they feel "dismayed" after not receiving an invite form the borough council to play in this year's Bands in the Park programme.

Northampton Concert Band (NCB), which formed nearly 100 years ago, has played nearly every year on the Abington Park bandstand as part of the summertime line up of musical talent.

But now the ensemble of more than 50 Northampton musicians has been told they are not on this year's bill, and some members feel the heritage in the town is being passed over by the council.

Chairman Colin Giles said: "The band is extremely dismayed that we have not been offered a place by Northampton Borough Council this year.

"We have rehearsed, performed and been part of the heritage of the borough for 99 years. We look forward to playing in the bandstand as it allows us to give something back to the wider people of Northampton.

"Unfortunately, the council does not seem to share our sense of heritage or community."

Bands in the Park is an annual programme by the borough council to give a different band a chance to play in Abington Park every Sunday in the summer.

After writing to the council about their exclusion, NCB has been offered an alternative spot on a Saturday or bank holiday - but Colin says this only feels like "a belated sop".

He said: "Our bigger concern is the lack of support the borough council is showing towards local, accomplished community bands.

"There appears to be no criteria for selection other than trying to vary the programme slightly each year. We do not consider this arbitrary approach to be appropriate."

The full line-up for the Bands in the Park is yet to be announced.

Councillor Anna King, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We have been dealing directly with the Northampton Concert Band and have agreed their involvement on May 28.

“We do our best to be inclusive while ensuring that Bands in the Park offers variety and we’re delighted to have been able to agree this extra date for the programme.”