Click here to edit title

Pavilions for Music 
Bringing Bandstands Back to Life

News and Updates 2019

24th August 2019 - now this is a terrible state of affairs. Calderdale Council have taken the decision to demolish the iconic bandstand in Centre Vale Park in Todmorden. In a very poor state of repair, this bandstand is important as it is one of the few examples of an open fronted bandstand. The council are of the view it is too expensive to restore and the Cabinet decision was ratified by the Scrutiny panel. There is now a campaign to save the bandstand which is well underway. They have established a Facebook Page - Save Our Bandstand - link here . Coverage in the local press is as here and here. This really cannot be allowed. Its history is as follows:-

Some Facts about the Bandstand in Todmorden which really sets out why it should be saved. Read to the end!

It was commissioned along with 3 park shelters, on January 16th 1914 and opened on June 26th 1914, just 5 months later. It was opened by the mayor and the Band of the 1st Life Guards.

The Build: The foundations are stone & concrete and the framework is steel encased in woodwork.

There were very few commissioned in England like this, with others being in Bath, Accrington and Rochdale. 

The shape of the design is maximize the acoustics.

The underneath was used as a bandsman room and to store chairs.

The Steelworks were carried out by Sandholme Iron Company (where Wiers now is), the masonry by Benjamin Lumb. The joinery was by Halstead Bros of Eastwood, the Plumbing & glazing by Mr Ingham and the painting by Messrs Smallwood. 

The total cost was £500.


24th August 2019 - the Bowie Bandstand has been listed by Historic England as Grade II. Why is this important? The Bowie connection of course and the Scottish connection - this is one of the two bandstands that remain from McCallum and Hope from Mary Hill in Glasgow. It also means it is more likely to be restored and attract lottery funding. More here 

15th June 2019 - Swanage bandstand arena is taking shape and the bandstand is back up north being beautifully restored by Lost Art of Wigan. The Echo reports it will be back in August and planned re-opening in September 2019. Delighted to see this one back and glad to have played a part in this. Link here

13th June 2019 - Dunfermline Public Park and a bandstand dedicated by permission of Mrs Carnegie in memory of Andrew Carnegie, the great philanthropist. It is still there today 

13th June 2019 - 2 new bandstands visited this Spring  - to the left - Victoria Park, Widnes; and to the right, Horsham Park in Sussex. 

13th June 2019 - Restoration works continue and good to see this restored at last in Victoria Park in Ilkeston, yet another Hill & Smith by Lost Art 

13th June 2019 - still some bad bandstands out there and this poor specimen in Castle Park in Penrith. The park was very tired and do know there was an attempt several years ago to see this park restored. It never materialised and it is in a sad state. The bandstand I suspect is never used and is in need of TLC. Very poor. Eden District Council I know have no money and this is way down their list of priorities. 

13th June 2019 - and this time one I have visited myself on a Green Flag pre-inspection of Yildiz Park in Istanbul, Turkey. I am not sure it is used much as a bandstand but as a feature it is rather delightful. The park was incredible and despite the cold February weather, it was well used. A park of this size - a City Park - usually has over 30 dedicated staff in it. Parks are a priority in Turkey and in a city the size of Istanbul, 15 million plus, you can see why. 

13th June 2019 - one of the more unusual emails I received was from a gent from a city in Uruguay called Fray Bentos - yes THAT Fray Bentos - it does exist and is known for its meat and pies!. They apparently have a bandstand which is a Lion Foundry bandstand from Kirkintilloch in Scotland. They were keen to know more about it and indeed it is a Lion one - very similar to the one in Alexander Gardens in Windsor. The authorities of the Liebig's Extract of Meat Company donated it to the city in 1902. 

The bandstand itself was  dispatched from Cardiff in the Norwegian flag boat on November 11, 1901 and now stands in the city and a great reminder of Scottish ironwork abroad. The plan attached shows that it is a Lion Foundry bandstand, available in the archive in the library at Kirkintilloch. 

13th June 2019 - another from overseas which I have seen before sent by Hayley Page but on this occasion, by my favourite middle child Holly Rabbitts. This is the Botanical Gardens in Singapore and this place is firmly on my list to go and visit. I hear such great things about this place. Holly has clearly made herself comfortable. 

13th June 2019 - One of the many bandstands I am sent by friends and colleagues and in this case the parents of a friend and colleague. Hayley Page's folks, Sue and Roger on holiday in Naples and came across this beauty. So different from our very own but just beautiful. I feel a European trip coming on!!

13th June 2019 - One of my favourite bandstands restored at last, Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, after funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund and Warwick District Council. This was always a bad bandstand due to its very poor condition but at last all parties came together steered by the perseverance of the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens. Archie Pitts and his wife Marianne are a great example of community partnership working and having a 'never give up attitude' and actually caring. Credit to all and great work by Lost Art from Wigan.... again. This Macfarlane 224 model is once again a beautiful bandstand. 

13th June 2019 - A great trip to Dublin in early June and an opportunity to look at a few parks there and this lovely one in St Stephen's Green well preserved in this wonderful park, right in the centre of the city. Unsure of the foundry as I could not make it out under the paintwork.  

13th June 2019 - It has been way too long since there has been any update on the bandstands dedicated website. This is simply down to me never getting round to it yet there has been so much happening. I will expand on some of these above but in summary.....:-

  • Bandstands restored include Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent; Boultham Park, Lincoln; Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa; Saughton Park, Edinburgh; and now underway, Swanage bandstand in Dorset. Others planned include Ellington Park in Ramsgate and Pearson Park, Hull. 
  • A lot of talks given to a vast range of groups and organisations
  • Book sales continue
  • Enquiries on local bandstands as well as international ones too.
  • Greater use of bandstands continues it appears but still many to resurrect use.
  • More publicity on bandstands especially through Brass Bands England and Making Music who promote their use. 

News and Updates 2018

1st April 2018 - well I started this website a few years ago with great intentions to get bandstands used more and to widen their popularity. I have always said its more than just bandstands, a lot more and I hope this site has shown that. Its been a while since I updated but below are a few bandstands I have 'collected'. This year is going to be another bumper year with restorations underway in Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent and the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa. It looks like Swanage may be coming back to life too and new ones in Pearson Park, Hull and mumblings of a new one in Wardown Park, Luton. There are others that are being well used and maintained but we cannot afford to see more lost like the one in Lancaster went 2 years ago. I will of course keep spreading the message, talking about them and writing about them. This year the big book on bandstands is out - 'Bandstands - Pavilions for Music, Entertainment and Leisure' - published by Historic England. So keep celebrating our bandstand heritage and keep using them - lets not loose them. 

1st April 2018 - Cassiobury Park bandstand in Watford, lit up at night and as resplendent during the day too.

1st April 2018 - Hyde Park, London, restored by Lost Art 

1st April 2018 - The Leas, Folkestone

1st April 2018 - and to prove that I used to play too - looking cool in shades 

1st April 2018 - 2 lost bandstands of Leeds

1st April 2018 - Lightwoods Park, Smethwick, a Lion Foundry bandstand, at last restored and reused again.

1st April 2018 - A lovely Macfarlane 249 bandstand in Vivary Park, Taunton

1st April 2018 - Stanley Park, Blackpool, designed by Thomas Mawson who was no lover of the cast iron Victorian bandstand, and hence this almost Greek style bandstand in his park, designed for Blackpool. 

1st April 2018 - Sheffield was city of many bandstands in parks and only has one remaining in Weston Park - this one in Firth Park did not survive. 

1st April 2018 - restored at last, Boultham Park in Lincoln, part of a wider HLF funded project and restored by Lost Art of Wigan. Great scheme and look forward to seeing it this summer. 

1st April 2018 - a wonderful picture of Blyth Battery bandstand and GMS Endeavour in the Port of Blyth being serviced in a dry dock. 

News and Updates 2017

22nd October 2017

A rather neglected bandstand in Krakow in Poland and thanks to Mark Watkin of Watford for sending to me. 

22nd October 2017

The Apulia Region of Italy and this stunning bandstand in Alberobello, the place of the Trulli houses, on 26th September the feast of St Cosmas and St Damian. Images by Janet Tully from High Wycombe. 

22nd October 2017

The Apulia Region of Italy. St Angelo on 29th September the feast of St Michael the Archangel. Images by Janet Tully from High Wycombe.

13th October 2017

Great piece of coverage here and a description of a project growing with Brass Bands England. 

13th October 2017

I call this a 'botch' job and what a detail. Locke Park in Barnsley. Quite amusing when you look at it closely as someone has really thought about this. 

13th October 2017 

I did like this one after a recent visit north - Locke Park in Barnsley. Brightly coloured columns in pink. 

8th October 2017

One of the finest bandstands I have seen this year, Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich, recreated from old images and funded by the HLF. Yet another Lost Art creation. Magnificent and I think one of my favourite 

8th October 2017

Great image shared with me yesterday by Dr Nicholas Duke-Cox who is studying the history of Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. The band playing are Black Dyke Mills Band, one of the top bands in the country and they had to stop playing because of the announcement of the outbreak of the First World War in Woodhall Spa. 

6th October 2017

Well another bid submitted to assist with developing this website, promoting the use of bandstands and working with potential user groups. A bid to the Arts Council was submitted today for a 2 year project. Lets hope it is successful and a lottery fund 'get where I am coming from'. 

6th October 2017

I am now an approved and accredited lecturer for the Arts Society and my principal subject is of course Bandstands. Do get in touch if you wish to hear my talk. 

6th October 2017

A wonderful cover image and design for the big book on bandstands, as published by Historic England and is due out in Spring 2018. Link to Amazon is here 

6th October 2017

Invited to a Historic Scotland conference in Stirling at the beginning of October and my subject? There is always a plethora of bandstands somewhere. 

4th August, 2017

Jive Swing? It really isn't just about Brass Bands and these are a colourful addition to Cassiobury Park's bandstand in Watford. 

4th August, 2017

Big Jive Swing in Cassiobury Park, Watford, with over 1,000 people in attendance, and a wonderful summer event in one of our most popular parks. 

4th August, 2017

The Embankment Gardens in Bedford, and I am always pleased to receive such pictures as this, they are personal, real and there is always a story attached to such pictures.

4th August, 2017

Queen's Park, Burnley, recently restored, well done Burnley Borough Council and they even managed stripes on the lawn.

15th July, 2017

In Watford, we have had the Voyageurs Ambassadors of the USA for the last 6 weeks on the bandstand in Cassiobury Park - and what a season they have had. Bands the size of 200+ at times playing an incredible variety of music. We in Watford have loved having them and they will be back next year. 

15th July, 2017

Sherborne, Pageant Gardens, there is a bandstand under here and a rare 1906 Elmbank model and the Town Council have allocated £50,000 to restore. A job for Lost Art in my book. I would get rid of the Wisteria first off all, it cannot be good for it. At least the Council want to see it restored. 

15th July, 2017

Ryelands Park and the only remaining bandstand in Lancaster met a sad fate last week. Despite protestations from the local Friends Group and local people, the Council, after years of shocking neglect, demolished this historic bandstand. The park has been run down and taken over by events wholly inappropriate to the park and the bandstand met with its inevitable end. Check out the article here

15th July, 2017

Swanage bandstand down in Dorset, a real momentum gathering here in the likely restoration of this lovely but forlorn bandstand. The Town Council are about to make a decision to hopefully see this restored at last with will drive and determination from the local community. I was happy to visit them and do a presentation for over 200 people in May who were completely behind its restoration. 

8th July 2017

I have said all along, it really is not just about brass bands but so much more. Every Saturday morning in Cassiobury Park, we have Yoga on the bandstand. 

8th July 2017

It's unusual to find more contemporary images of bandstands being used but this was sent to me by the family of one of members of these Jazzmen playing in Cassiobury Park, Watford. Looks like the fifties. 

8th July 2017

Make Music Day UK was a great success and in Watford we had a crowd of over 300 listening to The Iconics playing in Cassiobury Park. A mixture of Mod, Two tone, Ska, it was a great evening and enjoyed by so many. Will do again next year. 

2nd May 2017

Looking forward to seeing the Hill & Smith bandstand in Boultham Park restored in the City of Lincoln. It will complement the stunning George Smith one in the Arboretum beautifully. Lost Art are in the process of completing. Due back this spring. Visits to their workshops went down well - link here

2nd May 2017

Nominated and shortlisted for a Horticulture Week Custodian Award for best Park Restoration project. Cassiobury Park bandstand in Watford. Watch this space!! 

25th April 2017

A good time to to let you know about the launch of the Fields in Trust “Have a Field Day” programme for 2017, and ask if fellow 'parkies' might help spread the word about events through our network of park bandstand enthusiasts.

To demonstrate just how much our parks matter for outdoor play, sport and recreation, Fields in Trust is encouraging all communities to celebrate their local green spaces on Saturday 8th July. The national Have a Field Day event will showcase the many different ways people use their public parks and why local communities value them so greatly.

I have attached our launch press release here –  a selection of photographs are available to illustrate coverage, there is a launch video online (which includes shots of a brass band in a park!) and Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths can be heard in this audio interview about the project.

Please let Fields in Trust know if you would be interested in partnering with them to celebrate the UKs much loved green spaces – and the bandstands and “parkitecture” within them...  any support to share the word would be much appreciated.

16th April 2017

This has to be one of the poorest bandstands in the country. Its made the local press too. Where? Swanage in Dorset. I have had a long conversation with the Mayor and am heading down there on 16th May for a public meeting. Its a good example of where there is complete lack of knowledge on how to restore and manage such wonderful structures. What will I be telling them? Restore it!! Re-use it!! 

Why is it important?  Its a Macfarlane 224 model and one of 4 original ones left in the country (Leamington Spa, Pump Room Gardens; Vine Recreation Ground, Sevenoaks; Fassnidge Park, Uxbridge). It is though, one of the few coastal bandstands left in the country and part of the lost legacy of seaside bandstands - the majority which have long since been removed. My recommendations will be to formulate a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to see it restored to its full grandeur and to include an activity plan ensuring its long term sustainability. We also need to ensure it is restored by someone who knows what they are doing - a bandstand restoration expert. We cannot afford to lose this one. Watch this space. 

More information here 

6th April 2017

Accepting the fact, I will never see AC/DC perform on a bandstand (although they did cancel a gig in the 1970s on the Harlow bandstand), performing on a bandstand is a great experience - in the open air, an appreciative audience and the acoustics of a bandstand cannot be appreciated until you have experienced it. SO.... this is your chance. Make Music Day UK is an annual UK wide, free day of music held in public spaces, from squares to libraries, bandstands to school halls and arts centres, held on the summer solstice, 21 June. This is the UK’s contribution to the international summer solstice music celebration which first started in France in 1982 and now takes place in over 120 countries and 750 cities across the world. 

Make Music Day UK aims to turn the country into a stage, and offer a full spectrum of performers the opportunity to display their musical skills. I have drafted a page with all the details on the website with links and already a number of local authorities are taking this up. Please give it a go and drop the project manager Alison Porter a line on [email protected]

And AC/DC - if you fancy it? give Alison or me a call!!!

18th Feb 2017

A new book out this Spring - 'Parkitecture - The Buildings and Monuments of Public Parks'. Needless to say it covers a wide variety of bandstands in many of my favourite parks and their importance to their parks they reside in. Link here

18th Feb 2017

Bandstand restorations and replacements continue. Pearson Park in Hull has just received planning permission and has moved one step closer to being re-introduced as part of an HLF funded restoration of the park. I am working on this with the consultants Southern Green as well as Hugh Massey Architects, aided by Lost Art Ltd. It will be so good to see this one back. 

The other one that is due to start this year is the very poorly Macfarlane bandstand in the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa, and another one that is well overdue restoration. 

18th Feb 2017

So into 2017 already and the snowdrops are out and daffodils are poking through. In my own authority we are already looking at summer band concerts and we are virtually full up for the Sunday concert programme. We have many volunteering to come and play on Cassiobury Park's bandstand in its first full year. We also seem to have attracted an American tour of bands involving young people from a wide number of states. That IS exciting. If we are doing it in Watford, then others are clearly thinking about their summer programme. It would be good to know what is going on. 

Other news - an HLF bid has gone in for a grant of £6,000 to help me develop guidance on managing and maintaining bandstands, the do's and don'ts. If we are restoring, we need to ensure we are looking after them well. So I am keen to have online guidance to cover everything from painting, a monthly checklist, who to call when things go wrong and what are the basics we need to look out for. 

The Parks Inquiry is now out after months of collating information from a wide range of groups, organisations, individuals. DCLG released last weekend. The reviews are mixed but generally disappointing. I submitted evidence as part of the process. Check out my blog for my views and links to the DCLG Report. 

News and Updates 2016

20th November 2016

I launched this website 18 months ago and the wider initiative to bring bandstands back to life. I totally believe in it and it remains my ambition to see them used much more. Why? Several reasons:- they are part of our heritage; they are unassuming spaces; they offer one of the simplest most assuming opportunities for creativity, whether music, theatre, drama, gathering, performing or simply meeting up; they are free - free to hire (mostly) and freely available; they offer one of the easiest means for communities and community groups to come together. That is why I believe in this. 

So, I have decided to refresh the whole website and rename it. It is not about booking a bandstand but using bandstands, hence the new name and the new refresh. It is cleaner, crisper, more modern and much more straightforward to use. It also takes time to keep this up to date and with that in mind, I have applied to the Esme Fairbairn Foundation for funding to assist in keeping this up to date, to allow me to focus on the bottom up approach of getting groups to reuse bandstands. But this takes time and needs a resource. Contacts move on and disappear so I need to keep on top of this but funds are needed. The other aspect is to keep promoting bandstands - through social media and the wider media. Again, this takes time to keep it fresh and up to date. Many bandstands are being restored up and down the country thanks to the National Lottery but Local Authorities are under immense pressure and scrutiny, so it requires a lot to keep it current. 

Other initiatives - a new book on British Bandstands out in May 2017 celebrating restorations. There is also a new book ready to go with Historic England due in 2018 telling the complete story - a full social history of the bandstand. I am also working on proposals for a wider exhibition on bandstands - their design in particular and looking at venues across the UK. This will lead to a HLF bid I hope but need to get venues excited. Some are twitching but would love to do Beamish Open Air Museum in Co. Durham, the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and the New Design Museum in London. I have completed many talks this year on bandstands - from Women's Institutes, to U3A's, Museum groups and wider conferences. Always happy to do more. 

Its been a busy 2016. Next year will be busier so lets keep up the momentum, keep offering up and using these spaces. Please keep me updated with what is going on where you are. Programmes planned? wider initiatives and of course send me lots of happy people using happy bandstands. 

15th November 2016

Completed and now with the publisher. Out in May 2017 so a bit of a wait. The book is a celebration of all things bandstands - restored and reused, its a tribute to those who have worked hard to see them restored. Lovely images and snappy text. Buy it here 

15 November 2016

Victoria Park, Ilkeston, great restoration underway by Lost Art. A missed opportunity though with a very flat colour scheme. I think the client could have been a bit bolder.

2nd September 2016

Watford Cassiobury Park bandstand, restored by the legendary Lost Art. 

1st September 2016

The awful Ollerton bandstand has gone in Hemel Hempstead and they have replaced with this. Lovely and its used too. 

1st September 2016 

New books on bandstands on the way.

Spring 2017 - British Bandstands - published by Amberley Publishing. 

Spring 2018 - Bandstands - History, Decline and Revival - published by Historic England and will be THE definitive book on bandstands. 

1st September 2016

Out now and includes many new bandstands in our Great British Parks. Available at Amberley Publishing and on Amazon. 

Cost £25-00 

31st August 2016 

The Beckenham Bandstand 





31st August 2016 

The Beckenham Bandstand now looking very poor and in desperate need of restoration. Why is it important? Its the famous Bowie bandstand, the location of the 1969 Free Festival given by Bowie and as referred to on Space Oddity in 1969. Want to help with the restoration - click here

31st August 2016

Towcester Studio Band finish a great concert in the local park in Leighton Buzzard. 

31st August 2016

A busy summer in the Green Flag award winning park, Parson's Close Rec in Leighton Buzzard. 

31st August 2016

Much more on this. The wonderful Cassiobury Park bandstand in Watford, returned to its rightful place back in the park. There will be a separate feature on this one shortly, as its a worthy story to tell. 

15th May 2016

The Town Gardens, Swindon - art deco bandstand and an amazing setting for music, drama and theatre. 

15th May 2016 

Town Gardens, Swindon, this lovely Elmbank Foundry bandstand in one of the sweetest parks I have visited. Its the 2nd iteration here but is accompanied by an onsite amphitheatre too - see above 

15th May 2016

Hexham Parks - Northumberland - Another restoration completed to a very high standard.  Opened on 14th May 2016, Lost Art boys have done another great job on this Walter Macfarlane 249 model. Not too many of these left. 

2nd May 2016

It really isn't often I promote the Daily Mail but a great article here on the bandstand revival that continues. Click on the link here

30th April 2016

Hanley Park is back and being re-opened. See the Twitter link here

and here

28th April 2016 - another ticked off the list. Queen's Park, Longton, Stoke on Trent, a local foundry made bandstand by Dean & Lowe of Stoke. The baluster panels have gone and replaced with a very turgid barrier and other elements missing. Lovely park though. 

28th April 2016 - Memories of a great day in Alexandra Gardens, Windsor when Her Majesty The Queen opened the new bandstand here. Doesn't get better than that 

13th March 2016 - Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, a wonderful reproduction of a McDowall Steven Bandstand, thanks to HLF and the Scottish Borders Council

13th March 2016  -  Cassiobury Park bandstand (below) is on the move at last. 

13th March 2016 - Dock Park, Dumfries, (above) one of the nicest restorations I have seen of a 279, carried out by Charles Laing from Glasgow. 

6th March 2016 - Wardown Park in Luton, the proposed new bandstand to the left and the original to the right. I know which I prefer. Listen to the debate on BBC 3 Counties Radio as below to 44 minutes and 30 seconds on the Roberto Perrone show. I just think the Rotary Club have missed an opportunity here to put something beautiful back and to correct a wrong from years ago. But what do I know. The Walter MacFarlane 279 model is so much nicer than that proposed. 

Walter MacFarlane 279 model in Wardown Park

27th February 2016 - never noticed this before but the Watford bandstand has a big chunk missing - in fact the whole top section of the cupola on the roof section. Watford is to the left and Tredegar is to the right - same bandstand. 

27th February 2016 - Disappointing news as my HLF bid to see bandstands in Beds, Northants, Herts and Essex brought back to life wasn't supported by them. Back to the drawing board on this one. Thank you to those who supported this especially Making Music and Brass Band England. I really thought this would tick all the boxes. 


22nd February 2016 - This is very exciting news indeed.......                  

An opportunity to bring bandstands to life and to increase the number of events for International Music Day which in the UK is called Music Day UK.


At the heart of international music day are accessibility (events should be free and in France where it originated many of them are open air) and participation, so both of these chime extremely well with both Making Music and our vision.


So we are looking to encourage the use bandstands for an event on this day which by the way is ALWAYS the 21 June, whatever day of the week it is. We could look at this negatively and worry that it’s a Tuesday this year, but we think this is an opportunity to try something a little different every year. 21 June being the longest day of the year (and therefore parks being open till dusk won’t close till after 9pm), and assuming the weather is reasonable usually sees a lot of people out and about even on a weekday! So maybe even rush hour or early evening events might work? We still need lots of smaller and easy to stage events to really flesh out the event map.


For everybody involved, the end result of this would be that everyone looks forward to this day each year and that there is a tangible sense of music filling your day - from rush hour concerts, to buskers, to free gigs in venues and to public spaces, such as bandstands.

Interested?? If you have a bandstand in your park, you have to be interested. In essence it should cost NOTHING. The bandstand is there, cut the red tape, make it available for a local band, brass, R&B, rock, reggae, classical, string, choral, vocal... it really doesn't matter, but get that bandstand used. We all have social media too so even thats free. Want to know more, then contact  
Nick Feldman, Managing Director at Music Day UK on [email protected] 
There is also an information pack here to download with lots of information. Please do check it out. 

January 21st 2016 - Now two calls today, one from a chap in Stoke who had been discussing my Bandstands of Britain Book in a pub but the best was from a gent who has a Walter MacFarlane 249 bandstand in his back garden in Seisdon, in Staffordshire. He bought the house from a previous owner who had bought this beauty from Ifracombe Town Council who were redeveloping the sea front. He bought the bandstand and erected it in his back garden. Alec Smith then bought the house and basically finished off and restored the bandstand to its former glory - Heritage Engineering of Glasgow carrying out the works. Alec loves his bandstand, called me today after coming across the bandstand and allows use of it for local events in the village. What an amazing story 

January 21st 2016 - RESTORATION No 8 - Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent. I almost forgot this one. Another HLF funded park restoration, and this lovely MacFarlane 279 will be back in use and in all its finest glory this year. 

January 19th 2016 - North Park, Darlington, restored in 2010. I watched this being restored by Charles Laing and Sons too, this lovely MacFarlane bandstand, very similar to the one in Harehills Park, Littleborough. This was once a derelict wreck, almost lost, and beautifully restored. 

January 19th 2016 -  Victoria Gardens in Neath looking exceptionally well and restored in 2010 by Charles Laing and Sons of the Beaverbank Foundry, Glasgow. 

January 18th 2016 - RESTORATION No 7 - after an immense amount of work by the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa, this Walter MacFarlane 224, erected in 1889, now also has lottery money to see it restored. Its going to be a busy summer bringing bandstands back to life. 

January 18th 2016 - RESTORATION No6 - this one is really exciting. The forgotten yet stored Lion Foundry 23 model, eventually found again in a remote council depot and going back into Saughton Park, Edinburgh. How was it misplaced and how was it found? Check out my blog here

January 9th 2016 - RESTORATION No5 - and this one is really exciting. Lost many many years ago, this lovely bespoke bandstand, being recreated in Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich. Can't wait to see this one. Lost Art again. 

January 9th 2016 - RESTORATION No4 - and at last, my very own bandstand, returning to Cassiobury Park in Watford, as part of a £6.6 million park restoration. It currently sits outside the Town Hall and this rare Hill & Smith needs to be back in the park from where it was removed in the seventies. Another one for Lost Art.  

January 9th 2016 - RESTORATION No3 - one of my favourites, Hexham Parks in Northumberland, this lovely Walter MacFarlane 249, Lost Art have got this one.  

January 9th 2016 - RESTORATION No2 - and another getting restored this year, Hanley Park in Stoke, thanks to Lottery funding 

January 9th 2016 - RESTORATION No1 - looks like this one is going to get restored in the next few months too. Victoria Park, Ilkley. Its in a very poor condition and was looking pretty derelict when I saw it in November 2015. 

January 2nd 2016 - Another year underway and quite a few plans this year for Pavilions for Music CIC. These will include:-

  • Submission of a bid to the HLF under Sharing Heritage for £10,000 to look at a heritage project for bandstands in the Eastern Counties of England (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Essex) and aiming to breathe life back into bandstands in this region. The bid goes in to HLF this month;
  • Restoration of a few bandstands - Cassiobury Park in Watford (funding confirmed), Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa (outcome of bid awaited), Victoria Park in Ilkeston hopefully, and new bandstands planned in Wardown Park, Luton and War Memorial Park, Coventry.
  • A new book on the complete history and heritage of the bandstand, published through Historic England;
  • Further bids to be worked up during the year so we can widen the project. 
  • Extending the database to include Friends Groups contact details
  • More talks further afield to anyone who wants to listen. 
  • Examples of best practice detailed.
  • Updates on legislation. 

Please do keep up the good work and let me know of any events coming up for 2016 and I will start a new page for events this year. 

News and Updates 2015

December 19th 2015 - Great link here to St. Helen's Victoria Park bandstand opening 

December 19th 2015 - Penarth bandstand. I wonder when we stopped wearing hats.

December 19th 2015 - Elsecar Park bandstand. Yates and Haywood Foundry from Rotherham. Well maintained by Barnsley MBC 

December 19th 2015 - a great bandstand in Dartmouth, still with screens. Lion Foundry - not many as good as this. 

December 19th 2015 - a fantastic piece of history here, Regent's Park in London. Regents Park open-air class, dated pre 1915. It functioned from 1911-36 for children from Marylebone TB dispensary. The photograph was a poor quality one in Yearbook of open-air schools and children's sanatoria, 1915,

December 19th 2015 - West Park, Goole, another restoration and another re-opening. 

December 19th 2015 - Raphael Park, Romford, in Essex, recently restored by the LB Havering and part of a lottery funded project. 

December 19th 2015 - not sure where this is? Its West Yorkshire as its Kirklees so possibly Dewsbury? 

December 19th 2015 -  how about this for a long lost bandstand. Davyhulme Park, Urmston, Manchester. What a shame. Its so lovely. 

December 19th 2015 - a really rare image this one - North Park Recreation Ground in Darlington, its the only image I know of for this recently restored bandstand. 

December 19th 2015 - a great link here to the history of the long lost bandstand in Brockwell Park, London.

December 19th 2015 - a reminder of summer in the parks. Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, recently restored thanks to Lottery funding. 

19th December 2015 - this rather unusual bandstand located in Columbia, California which is a restored old gold mining town about 100 miles east of San Francisco. Quaint indeed. Sent  in by Mark Watkin of Watford. 

3rd November - Ilkeston and Victoria Park, looking very poor and dejected. Rumour was it is being done up. Watch this space as its a sad mess 

29th October - looking like this one in Hyde, Tameside may be getting a lick of paint - its overdue 

29th October - Lovely link here to the Llandudno bandstand and its history 

29th October - The AMEX Stadium, home of Brighton and Hove Albion FC - this temporary bandstand - pretty horrible but well used before games apparently. 

29th October - Alexandra Gardens, Windsor - a lovely Lion Foundry bandstand back to celebrate the Queen being the longest reigning monarch. Another great job by Lost Art as always. 

29th October - Mary Stevens Park Bandstand - restored and back in use in Stourbridge - well done HLF and Dudley MBC - great link here

11th October - Just discovered this website, sent to me by the Friends of Hillyfields Park - have a look at what they are doing - great stuff and wish more would. 

15th September 2015 - Making Music plugging the website - link here. Please do share

14th September 2015  - MK Brass - Proms in the Park in Parsons Rec, Leighton Buzzard - a lovely evening too 

15th August 2015 - Harlow Band in Harlow Park on the restored bandstand. 

15th August 2015 - a rather lovely bandstand in Tavira, on the Algarve - with a moat, fountains and terapins. 

1st August 2015 - work progressing well on the Lion Foundry bandstand in Alexandra Gardens in Windsor. Due to open in mid September. 

19th July 2015 - Leighton Buzzard Parson's Recreation Ground - a wonderful Jazz band in the park that actually got people up and dancing. 

17th July 2015 - a confusing blog here - whats he on about??? thought I was the nerd. 

17th July 2015 - Ruskin Park Friends Music in the Park - check it out here

17th July 2015 - A truly wonderful project and initiative in Edinburgh to bring back the bandstand to Saughton Park. This has been in storage for decades and features in my book "Bandstands". It is indeed a rare bandstand and to see it come out of storage and back where it belongs would be fantastic. Please do spread the word on this one. The link is here

17th July 2015 -  Harlow Town Council well on with the restoration of the Town Park bandstand. Its not a great thing of beauty but it has a real charm. I can't wait to see it open and used again. A little bit of history on this one:- 

1971- Bandstand constructed (without changing room block at this time). Various minor works to extend it and install disabled and more modern changing facilities took place in 1975, 1984 and 1989.

Free concerts at the bandstand were held annually from 1973 to 1981, with other seasons occurring right up until 1991. Bands ranged from pop acts such as the Bay City Rollers to folk acts such as Fairport Convention and jazz bands. There were also Folk Festivals held here as well. Fantastic link here to many of these gigs including Hawkwind and Mungo Jerry.

13th July 2015 -  Leeds City Council despite losing most of its original bandstands, still has a few remaining but also has a number of bands in the parks too. Check out the link here

13th July 2015 - 3 contrasting bandstands this weekend - 1) Newcastle's Exhibition Park re-opens after HLF funded restoration. A rather exotic looking Walter MacFarlane model. Beautiful colour scheme expertly restored by Chris Topp Associates; 2) Watford's Hill & Smith bandstand, rarely used but about to be restored in late 2015 and re-instated back into Cassiobury Park, thanks to Lottery money, and 3) Newsham Park bandstand in Liverpool with a plea locally to save the bandstand which is in dire straits. 

10th July 2015 - fantastic website celebrating Brockwell Park bandstand and its history - click here

9th July 2015 - a great link to a fantastic website celebrating Durham bandstands by Rob Bowman. Some wonderful photos here

7th July 2015 - a great meeting with Making Music in London today - do check out their website here. An organisation dedicated to getting people and members making music. There is a vast array of information here that is worth looking at including insurance for voluntary groups, advice on managing events, resources for local bands and it goes on. Worth a look but they are very supportive of the concept of bringing bandstands back to life. 

7th July 2015 - Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge - restoration underway. Not long until a good programme underway here

7th July 2015 - Stanley Park, Blackpool - fantastic events programme  - link here

25th June 2015 -  Bedford Embankment Gardens Summer Programme - click here

24th June 2015 - More summer programmes below. Check out on

Bewdley, Kidderminster and Stourport - all here

Wells City Council summer programme here

Guildford Castle Programme on a lovely bandstand in a great setting

Chester bandstand down by the River Dee

Jubilee Gardens, Ely - a great programme  here 

Castle Grounds in Tamworth, another excellent programme - all here 

Broadstairs bandstand - a great coastal location - click here 

Reading, Forbury Gardens - fantastic bandstand - still used. Click here 

Colchester bandstand - needs more on this one but some activity - here

Ropner Park, Stockton on Tees - stunning bandstand - click here

Filey Town Council with a great programme of events  - click here 

Sanders Park, Bromsgrove - still going on here, programme here

Vale Park, Wallasey - events still here

Sheffield events in parks here 

Greenwich Park with an active Friends Group - link here to events

Myatt's Field bandstand in Lambeth - I do like this one and still used. Scope for more though. Events here 

Stanley Park, Blackpool - one of the busiest bandstands in the country - click here

Godalming in Surrey and a great programme of events here too - click here 

Battersea Park - lots of scope here but gets some use - good event here 

Abingdon Park, Northampton - one of the busiest bandstands in Britain - check this out here 

Grove Park in Dunstable - great events list here 

20th June 2015 - Lots of summer programmes under way - many below 

Stratford upon Avon Summer concert programme

Lymington Summer concert programme

Embankment Gardens, London

Brass Band events link on the IBEW website

Melton Mowbray

16th June 2015 - Summer Programme for Buxton Pavilion Gardens

16th June 2015 - Summer Programme for Harrogate Parks

16th June 2015 - A new bandstand in Wardown Park in Luton gets closer. Funding secured courtesy of Luton Rotary Club. The new design is quite funky and very contemporary.

The old one is below - a Walter MacFarlane 279 from the Saracen Foundry of Glasgow. 

14th June 2015 - A new Facebook page is set up 

Check here for regular updates and promotions on Pavilions for Music CIC 

14th June 2015 - History is made on Battersea Park bandstand - the first couple to tie the knot - see below but a number of bandstands are licensed for marriages and already had a request in relation to the Watford bandstand which is moving back to Cassiobury Park. Link to Battersea is here

13th June 2015 - Liverpool International Music Festival - a wonderful array of events as part of the Liverpool IMF on 3 bandstands in this amazing city. Get down and see one. Click here for details 

13th June 2015 - a fantastic Summer Programme of events for 2015 in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets on their rather unique bandstand. Click here for details.

9th June 2015 - Proms in the Park in Darlington's South Park Sunday 28th June. Details are here

7th June 2015- Summer Concerts start in Leighton Buzzard Parsons Recreation Ground on the simple but elegant bandstand today. Concerts most Sundays 3-5pm. Go Check them out. The link is here

7th June 2015 - Lindy Hop and Swing all on and around a bandstand? Check the facebook link here. Greenwich Bandstand, Sunday August 2nd 3pm-5pm - courtesy of South London Community Music. 

6th June 2015 - New Bandstand in Aldershot - Princes Gardens - Great programme with details here. Starts on 4th July 

5th June 2015 - Great link to All4Brass and thank you for publishing. Great coverage. Link is here

5th June 2015 - Summer events at Gorleston on Sea Bandstand by Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Great to see such a fantastic programme on here. Well done. Click here for details

29th May 2015 - Frank Skinner Show on Absolute Radio

A plug on the Frank Skinner Show after a tip off that he was discussing bandstands live on air, which instigated a number of texts and emails and a plug for the 2 books as well as for bandstands in general. It all helps. 

Brass Bands on Bandstands

Many people have asked what the relevance of bandstands are today. There used to be over 40,000 brass bands in the mid to late 19th century. There are many fewer today but the brass band world is still very much alive and kicking. If you look at any programme on any well used bandstand, you will see they are still dominated by brass bands. I played in many for a number of years and have happy memories of Middleton in Teesdale Silver Band, Barnard Castle Silver Band and Brampton and District Silver Band. I had minor flirtations with Chapeltown Silver Band and Rotherham Town Band too, but all great times, blasting out tunes on my Cornet and Tenor Horn. The survival of bandstands is very much part dependent on the brass band movement and the website links below give an insight into this amazing world. Have a look and many of these bands would snap up a chance to play on your local bandstand.

30th May 2015 - Betrothed on a Bandstand

Who would have thought it! Getting married on a bandstand. If only this had been possible years ago and I would have been first in the queue although the current Mrs. Rabbitts may have been less enthused. Anyway, I received these (see below) yesterday from Burslem Park in Stoke. A once not very pretty bandstand has been restored as has the park thanks again to the Heritage Lottery Fund. But it is now licensed for weddings as are a number of bandstands - Weston Park, Sheffield; Stanley Park, Liverpool; West Pier, Brighton to name but a small number.  I will add to the database. What a fantastic use for a bandstand. 

Grange over Sands 2015 updates

Updates for this years summer season for Grange over Sands Town Council - click here for the programme. It is fantastic that the Town Council still have concerts here annually. Contact Sally Haines who works for Grange-over-Sands Town Council.  Part of her job is to arrange the concerts in their bandstand in Park Road Gardens there in Grange.  Two fabulous pictures of their bandstand are below with Flookburgh Brass Band.

The list of the dates for this season’s “Music in the Park” are for concerts which are held on Sundays between the end of May & end of August/beginning of September 2 – 4pm.

Entrance to the park is free although we do encourage the bands/musicians to take a collection. 

May 25th 2015

More updates on this with more contact details on the database and most of the postcodes updated. I have started to pull together details of Friends Groups too. Summer is coming up and lots of events on bandstands near you but there are still many with nothing going on them. Contact your Local Council and get gigging. It should be free. 

Next - sorting out a few meetings and looking how to get some grant money to really get this going. 


Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick - opened in May 2015 - Fantastic to see this bandstand back as part of an HLF/BIG Lottery funded project under Parks for People. Well done to the Scottish Borders Council for making this happen and all those involved. A lovely McDowall Steven bandstand in a great location. Its already added to the database. goes live

I have managed to launch this in the end after weeks of pulling lists together, browsing the web, emailing groups and google google google!! The response has been brilliant and nearly 1,500 hits in the first week and some lovely emails from Local Authority colleagues. Some great feedback too like "how about adding a map" or a "postcode search" or what about adding to the database a list of contacts for Friends Groups as they are more likely to want to put on something on a bandstand. All good stuff..... SO.... the website will continue to develop and the following to be looked into:-

  • Add more email contacts and widen the distribution list
  • Add postcodes to them all
  • Look at a separate database for Friends Groups
  • Look at funding opportunities to widen the scope of the project
  • Look at a mapping solution to link to postcodes

All in good time, but please do keep sharing and advertising opportunities for using your bandstand. A bad example was Sunday just gone - Embankment Gardens, Bedford, a scout event right next to the bandstand and they had erected a gazebo next to it and it was ignored, and locked!!! a missed opportunity. 
Please see link here for the press release.