Focus on the Black Dyke Band playing this year's Extravaganza
Playing Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage will be a first for the world’s most successful brass band.
But few may know that they also achieved global success with The Beatles providing music for the classic, Yellow Submarine.
And the Yorkshire-based Black Dyke Band will be bringing their talents to the spectacular setting of Glastonbury Abbey for the annual musical extravaganza staged by Festival founder Michael Eavis in August with conductor Professor Nicholas Child promising a host of different styles being on display.
“When you listen to a brass band it is special. They take you on a journey that is exciting and exhilarating. It has the power to transform you and yet listening to a brass band play a hymn can reduce you to tears; in the best possible way.
“The programme for the Festival and Extravaganza will be different because at the Extravaganza we will perform for a longer period, where I can show even more different styles and give the opportunity for my world class soloists to show their prowess,” he said.
It may over 160 years since the Black Dyke Band was formed and those heritage roots can still be seen but would the musicians from Victorian times recognise the music? Yes says Nicholas but the instrumentation has changed. “In 1855 the band were only 18 members, now there are 25 plus six percussion,” he says.
So what is it about the band which makes them unique? “If I was introducing the band to an audience not as knowledgeable as the Festival goers I would remind them that one of the most famous pop groups ever was the Beatles.
“However, Black Dyke are the only group to have made a record with them where Black Dyke were on side A and the Beatles on Side B; alas Side A didn’t go to number one but the Beatles enjoyed the band so much they asked if they would join them on Side B which went to number one for over 16 weeks – if you listen to the Yellow Submarine and you hear the brass band play, that’s the Black Dyke Band.
“But not even the famous Beatles have played at Glastonbury so Black Dyke can represent them too.”
The famous film Brassed Off which starred Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan McGregor was based on the Grimethorpe Colliery Band who along with the Black Dyke Band were the first to perform at the Proms.
Nicholas said: “Black Dyke have been Grammy and Oscar nominated, they are the most successful brass band in history however if competitions are the sport for brass bands, concerts are the life blood. We have played in the most prestigious concert halls throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall New York, Sydney Opera House, but the experience of playing at the BBC Proms was a memory that will remain high, although playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury will certainly challenge this!”
“Being National and European Champions, representing your country is very special, however having the opportunity of performing over 50 concerts throughout the UK and Europe whilst holding down professional jobs I guess makes us amateurs, however I like to remind the audiences this is only like Olympians and the musicians at Black Dyke are the UK’s Olympian Brass players.
“Having a history of 162 years it seems never mind what you do, it has always been done before, however when Glastonbury came along it was an opportunity where everyone at Black Dyke said ‘bring it on'.”
For Festival-goers, the band can be seen on the Pyramid Stage during the Festival on Sunday June 25 at 10.30am and will be at the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza on August 5 joining Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys and Corinne Bailey-Rae on stage.
Tickets are on sale now at www.glastonburyabbey.com/extravaganza with advance prices £35 adults and £20 for a child six to 16. Accompanied children aged five and under do not require a ticket. Booking and postage fees apply. Terms and conditions apply.
Added: 11th June 2017