Burry Port Town Band has a long and colourful past, with the first historical mention of the band, originally named the Elliots Smelting Works Band, found in 1896. The band grew from this humble, industrial beginning and established itself as a community favourite, playing at local fetes and marches and raising money to support both itself and worthy causes. One such worthy cause came at the turn of the century when the band organised a march for the destitute and unemployed of Kidwelly, which raised the princely some of £8. However the band had wider ambitions than its local stage, and during its first period the lifeblood for the band quickly became the contest stage. Indeed, a major highlight during this period was then the band’s performance at the Crystal Palace in London.
Sadly, just before the outbreak of the Second World War the bands’ fortunes took a turn for the worse and it disbanded. Gone but not forgotten, decades later in 1972 a group of local enthusiasts held a meeting wit the aim of re-establishing the band. Old instruments and a library of music were discovered, and these, together with some new purchases, a place to rehearse and a keen group of volunteers, sowed the seeds of the band’s renaissance.
The band continued to grow in terms of its level of performance throughout the 80s and 90s winning a host of prizes in 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Sections and in 2000, the band was promoted to the elite Championship section. Since 2001, the band has 3 times claimed the title of “Champion Band of Wales”, twice won the National Eisteddfod of Wales and twice represented Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in London, competing against the country’s top 20 bands. In 2005 the band also claimed victory in the British Open Senior Cup competition at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, beating off the challenge of 20 other bands from across the United Kingdom.
In 2010, after 11 consecutive years competing as a championship band at the Welsh Regional Championships, the band were relegated to the First Section. However, following a sustained period of building, 2012 saw the band being promoted back to the Championship section following victory in the First Section at the Welsh Regional Championships in Swansea. That victory formed part of a purple patch of success between October 2011 and October 2014 which has seen the band win 14 prize winning performances prizes, 13 “best instrumentalist” prizes, and promotion to 2015 British Open Grand Shield.
Indeed the band prides itself on remaining a top-flight brass band, however we never forget our humble roots. We are keen to ensure that future generations of young players enjoy the opportunity of playing a brass instrument without any financial pressure on their families. To which end, we run, without any cost to the young brass and percussion players, our Youth Band which rehearse on a Tuesday evening from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in our bandroom on Morlan Terrace, Burry Port during term time and also a Junior Band which rehearse on a Thursday evening from 6pm to 7pm, again in our Bandroom on Morlan Terrace, Burry Port. From the newest of players to the next generations’ banding stars, we are keen to support and secure the future of the brass banding tradition in Wales through our youth programme.