In September 2022 the Band were lucky enough to be invited to return to the Europäische Blasmusikfestival (European Brass Music Festival) in Bad Schlema, Germany. With many bands invited from across Europe, only two were invited from the Anglo Celtic Isles – Peebles, and the Irish Friendly Band. Bands varied from town and nationally-renowned amateurs to professional bands such as the the Bundespolizeiorchester Berlin.
The festival is spread over four days and the organisers arranged all local travel, accomodation and refreshments. The festival is held in a huge temporary performance arena that was typically full of up to 5,000 keen audience members – as well as many stalls selling typical German food – and of course beer.
Bands played on two stages – one at each end of the performance arena. One playing whilst the other set up. This led to the spectale of audience members moving up and down the arena depending on the band playing. Huge screens were erected and the bands televised to help reduce this – but it was still quite some sight to see the rush of Germans whenever we struck up – particularly when joined on stage by the Tweedale Pipe Band who joined forces with us.
We typically plaid in both daytime and evening – with changing audiences as the day progressed (rapidly getting younger as the evenings progressed!). The atmosphere was fantastic – with audience members dancing (on and off the trestles) and joining in with the drinking songs (or Tom Jones, in our case). Check out our highlights video:
We also marched around the town that the Festival is hosted in – and helped out with leading the dancing when the need arouse. Here are some of the Band members accompanying the Irish Friendly Band. We shared accomodation with the Irish and even helped each other out on stage from time to time!