About Us

Today the band continues to promote and represent Burbage and Buxton both locally and abroad and has active members from every generation. The band is one of the most successful, busiest and friendliest bands in the area and is renowned for having trained most of its own players as well as many now playing with more famous bands. Lessons, instrument loan and insurance are provided free of charge to anyone with the commitment to learn. This provision is popular with all ages, but particularly where pupils also use the instruments at school.

Our History

Established by local quarry owner Robert Broome and fellow industrialists in 1861, Burbage Band is one of the oldest brass bands in the world, and proudly maintains its original aims and objectives. The band has an unbroken history since 1861, a fact of which we are very proud as it indicates the long tradition of dedication the band has inspired and enjoyed. We were formed as a village band, with the patronage of the Church and Duke of Devonshire, to teach music without charge, provide a healthy and constructive pastime, develop community spirit and entertain. In the years around 1861 the people of Burbage were primarily employed in the local industries of limestone quarrying and coal excavator. There was much poor health and impoverishment in the area and the formation of the band was one of a number of moves by more enlightened people to improve life for the people of the village.

Our history suggests that the original hopes of those founders certainly seem to have been successful. The team and community spirit engendered among band members actually became so strong that during World War One, rather than disband as individuals were conscripted, all the members signed up and marched together to the Somme as a band. Once back from the war the band raised both standard and ambition. Indeed in the late 1920s the band became so successful that they were able to engage the famous cornet player Harry Mortimer as a professional conductor. The band name gets a mention in Harry Mortimers popular autobiography “on Brass” as one of the very first bands this legendary figure ever conducted. Under his baton the band entered several contests in which they were successful and, under different conductors, the band has been contesting ever since. After the Second World War the number of local bands halved with the demise of Buxton Band and Harpur Hill Band, but Burbage continued to new strengths.

The current conductor of the Burbage Band, Steve Critchlow, was appointed to the job in 1994 and has ushered in a period of great stability for the band. Himself a product of the Burbage junior band, Steve has worked tirelessly to teach and encourage enthusiastic locals of all ages from their first ever musical notes right through to playing solos at the highest level. Currently there are 25 members of the senior band that have come through from the junior band under Steve’s supervision, who enjoy dozens of concerts every year in a friendly but committed environment.

Steve has taken the band to new heights in contesting, having been awarded Midlands Regional Champions 2011 and 2012 in the 4th section, rising to the 1st section by 2017 and narrowly missing out on championship section by half a point in 2022. Not bad for a village band only consisting of local homegrown players competing against industry sponsored bands!

For Steve’s 30th anniversary the band is putting together the Burbage Works, a historical based performance that showcases the incredible journey that the band, Steve and all the previous conductors have been on, uninterrupted since 1861.

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