Saturday, 29 April 2017


"Belgium, hosting the EBBC event for the third time now – 2002, 2009 and 2017. And I can say that this is probably the best prepared event”. We see a satisfied President Ulf Rosenberg sharing this with the people present at the press conference and/or the opening ceremony.


Summary of points mentioned at the press conference & opening ceremony

-       The role of EBBA is still being the locomotive. Our main task is: develop and protect the most prestigous band contest and be a European forum for the national federations.

-       The European brass band movement is growing. For example, we see this weekend that one of the new brass band countries, Lithuania, is coming to Oostende with two competing bands. And we see this year, for the first time, bands from Italy and Germany competing as full member countries of EBBA. They were both elected in as members of EBBA at the General Meeting last year. Germany already have their well established national championships. The Italians organised their Nationals for the first time last year having 3 bands. This year it is organized again with 8 bands participating. More than a double amount of participants. We are enthusiastic about the growth.

-       Having an outdoor programme next to this year’s event in Oostende has an added value. Show the people in town what is going on. Share what we treasure.

-       This is the third time for the European Brass Band Championships to be hosted by Belgium, 2002, 2009 and this year. The country sees a very well established brass band movement, developed over the last decades. It was really an eye-opener when a band from this part of Europe for the first time won the European Championships, with Willebroek Band from Belgium winning in Plymouth 24 years ago in 1993. Since then the quality of the bands from Belgium have been proved again and again and strongly increasing. Thanks to many people and great musical and organizational efforts. But also through the fact that hosting this event could work as a locomotive and source of inspiration for the local and national band movement.

-       The organizing team in Vlamo, the Flemish Association for Music Bands and Musicians, can already be proud presenting one of the best prepared European brass band events ever. A big thank you to event manager Tim Van Moorhem and the Vlamo general manager Jan Matthys and their hard working teams for all their excellent preparations.

-       Again we see a very strong band line-up, and we can look forward to an exciting contest with wonderful music making by the best European bands.  In the European Brass Band Championships we welcome 18 bands from 14 different countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland and Wales. The contest is again almost sold out.

-       The European Youth Brass Band has been here since Saturday, around 40 young players from all the EBBA countries together for playing, exchanging ideas, socialising – but most of all; presenting wonderful music to the audiences.

-       The European Youth Brass Band Contest was introduced for the first time at the 2014 event in Scotland with 8 bands. For all players, audiences, juries and organisers a new event filled with youthful joy and very competent performances of excellent music! We are again delighted to announce a positive response from across Europe with 10 youth bands from eight countries: Belgium, England, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales.

-       There will be a change in the EBBA rules regarding allowing to invite foreign players to come over and play at the Europeans. This discussing has been going on for a while. The new rule is that a band member performing at the Europeans has to have a passport of the country that he/she is representing or has to be a resident of that country or a student in that country. It will no longer be allowed to ‘fly in foreign musicians’. The final rule text will be announced when the invitations for next years EBBC are going out.

Special excerpts from the opening ceremony

Ulf Rosenberg made a moving ‘statement’ at the end of his speech.

“During the last years, Europe has been facing some big challenges. In Belgium and several other countries they have experienced in-human actions from terrorists. All over Europe we have seen the challenges with increasing numbers of refugees from war areas, and in parallel a global migration crisis affecting Europe. I hesitate to be too political – but it is clear that we also see a growing movement towards European dis-integration replacing the drive for closer cooperation in all sectors across Europe.

Some of these trends points in different directions and calls for different political solutions.

However it has one core thing in common:

The need for a strong civil society with well functioning volunteer organisations at all levels; local, national and European. It calls for attention to our cultural heritage. It is important to build cultural networks throughout Europe with arenas for people to meet, exchange ideas and create and maintain friendships. Relations and understanding will never go out of fashion. To continue to maintain and develop this is the band movement’s moral imperative.”

Ulf also thanked all the sponsors. Without their help there would not be an event like this. The sponsors are: main sponsor for many years Besson. Principal partner World of Brass. EBBA’s new main sponsor Geneva Instruments. And the other sponsors which are British Bandsman providing the nice programme book, Yamaha delivering the percussion on stage, music publisher Hal Leonard, Stomvi, 4barsrest and Centre Stage. EBBA greatly values their contributions to the European band movement!

 sponsor overzicht 

Brass Conference

At 13.30 in the Delvaux room Dr. Ignace de Keyser and Ray Farr  were the speakers at the Brass Conference.

Dr. Ignace De Keyser holds a Ph.D in Musicology from the University of Ghent. He has taught music at high school and film music academy. His interest in Adolphe Sax – the subject of his presentation – was developed during his job at the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels. Dr. De Keyser tries to find some answers in the complexity about Adolphe Sax by means of his presentation.

Ray Farr, is an established conductor, arranger, educator and adjudicator with an international reputation. He is now retired but is still conducting in Oslo (Norway). He has written two books, one on conducting and on on the Distin Family. His talk was about the influence of the Distin Family on the development of the brass band movement in 19th century Britain.


Have a great contest weekend! 

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