Brass bands in Bristol date back to at least 1850, with a number recorded as performing for the opening of the city’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in 1864. The sound of the brass band has remained a core element of the musical fabric of the city to this day.
City of Bristol Brass Band itself was formed in 1936 by local businessman H S Perry (who also played euphonium in the band) and the former Lord Mayor of Bristol, William George Cozens. Originally entitled “Fishponds British Legion Band”, the band adopted its present title in the mid 1960s.
City of Bristol has been highly successful in both concert and competition throughout its history, becoming ODBBA, GBBA and West of England Regional Champions, and has also represented the city and region in the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain on numerous occasions.
The band has also performed at a wealth of venues across the UK, including the Royal Albert Hall and Alexandra Palace, London; De Montfort Hall, Leicester; The Centaur, Cheltenham; St George’s, Bristol and many more. In June 2022, the band was delighted to perform as part of the Tall Ships Festival at Llanthony Secunda Priory, Gloucester, and also to support the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II performing as part of a massed Hallelujah Chorus flash mob throughout Bristol, culminating at Bristol Cathedral and College Green.
In September 2022, the band broadened its performance horizons further, travelling to Colorado, USA, to perform in the Estes Park International Tattoo and Long’s Peak International Celtic Festival. The band made history while in Colorado: the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II took place while the band were mid-rehearsal for the 2022 Estes Park International Tattoo. Just six minutes after the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty, the band together with the 3rd US Marine Aircraft Wing Band became the first performers in 70 years to perform "God Save The King", and one day later appeared in the first major international event to perform the same.
City of Bristol is a keen advocate and supporter of new music. In recent years, the band has performed Dr Liz Lane’s “Innovation 216” tribute to Concorde - beneath the wings of the iconic aircraft itself! - at Aerospace Bristol in 2020, before giving the premiere performance of Laura Shipsey’s “Of Far Flung Skies” in a performance at St George’s which was recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
In September 2022, the band presents its new performance project, “Eastern Horizons” which features the premiere performance of two new works composed especially for City of Bristol by Hong Kong born (and BBC National Orchestra of Wales performed) composer Mandy Leung, together with our "Night at the Movies".
In December 2022, City of Bristol will also present its new Christmas package “The Snowman Live” at Curzon Cinema, Clevedon, together with our “Christmas Night at the Movies”.
The band is always keen to work with new partners and venues, and will continue to make music at the highest level and to support our local community in Bristol and wider.