Welcome to
Coventry Festival Band
We are a friendly community brass band, welcoming players of all abilities, and playing concerts and events in the Coventry area.
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About Us

The Coventry Festival Band is a thriving community brass band which has been entertaining audiences across Coventry and Warwickshire for over 70 years.

Our emphasis is on the enjoyment of making music and our varied repertoire reflects this. We can be found playing anything from traditional brass band pieces to classical and show numbers, singalongs, swing, pop and film music.

As well as the musical side of things, we have a lively social involvement including tea and a chat, outings to concerts and band dinners. We have a number of instruments available to lend to anyone without their own.

About Us


We are a Fourth Section competing band. New players are always welcome to join Coventry Festival Band.

We are currently in particular need of Cornets, a Tenor Horn and a B♭ Bass player.

We are a friendly community band and welcome brass players of all instruments and abilities. If you want to return to playing after a break, this is the band for you. We have a selection of brass instruments that can be offered to new players if they do not have their own.

Our rehearsals are Tuesday and Friday from 8:00 to 9:30pm at Cheylesmore Community Centre, Arundel Road, Coventry CV3 5JX. A contingent of the band also nips into the Festival pub after practices.

Subscriptions are just £3 per week.

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Book Coventry Festival Band

Coventry Festival Band can be hired to play a wide range of events including charity fundraisers, retail store events, and church concerts.

Community Events

Community Events

Entertaining audiences at care homes, schools, parks and charity fundraisers.

Christmas Events

Christmas Events

Providing festive cheer at retail stores, supermarkets and other Christmas events.

Church Concerts

Church Concerts

Playing carols and hymns at local churches in the Coventry area.


The original Coventry Festival Band was formed in 1952 in celebration of the Festival of Britain the previous year. Up until 1980, the band was located at Howes Mission in Coventry alongside its Junior Band, which consisted of 35 members.

At this time the band became sponsored by Rolls-Royce and relocated to Quinton Road, Coventry. After a few weeks in its new location, the Junior Band felt it could not operate and decided to split from the Rolls-Royce–sponsored band, returning to Howes Mission under the musical directorship of Dick Arrand and Secretary Ken Perry. They renamed themselves Coventry Festival Junior Band, which would later become the Coventry Festival Band which exists today.

The band continued at Howes Mission for several years. However, numbers fell and membership was opened up to adults. Parents and past members joined and the band continued. The condition of the Howes Mission building was such that, for safety reasons, the band was forced to find alternative accommodation, and moved to Sibree Hall.

Sadly, shortly after the move to Sibree Hall, Dick Arrand died. The band struggled to find focus without Dick’s knowledge, dedication and sense of humour. Ken Perry continued to provide support to the band, covering both Secretary and Conductor roles. During the time at Sibree Hall the band increased in numbers but went though a number of Musical Directors, with Jim Nairn being the longest serving.

When Sibree Hall was put up for redevelopment, a committee made up of Chairman Denis Tonks, Secretary Ken Perry and Treasurer Jim Saxton made the decision to move to Cheylesmore Community Centre, a location chosen for its accessibility to disabled band members.

The band successfully obtained Lottery funding from the Arts Council of England in 1999 to procure a complete new set of instruments and also commission two pieces of music. These were Festival 2000 by Charles King, and the march Coventry Festival by Andrew Hurrell, which has since become the Band’s signature tune.

During 1999, founding member Ken Perry decided to retire and pursue other activities. Roy Owen took over the position of Musical Director.

During Roy’s time at the helm, the band made two appearances on the children’s TV programme “Brum”. Sadly, Roy, who was much loved, died in 2004.

Since then the baton was taken by Ken Davies and Albert Ray during the period 2004–2008.

In 2008, upon Ken’s wish to return to playing and after four years of sterling work, Ken returned to the front row, and Philip Rowsell accepted the conductor’s position.

Phil became engaged on 29th April 2011 (the day of William and Kate’s wedding!) and, sadly, decided that due to travelling and new family commitments, he could no longer continue as the band’s conductor.

In September 2011, the band were very pleased to appoint Alan Gifford as their new conductor and musical adviser.

In 2012, Alan left us to continue his music studies at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

From September 2012 to July 2014, Josh Hughes, a student at Coventry University and a former member of the famous "Bessies Band", came to wave the baton for us. He led the band in a very successful stage production at the Belgrade Theatre of "Brassed Off" before he returned to his home up North.

Chris Banks took over the baton after Josh in 2014 and worked hard to bring up the standard of the band. He left in 2016 to be the MD at Syston Band, which was nearer to his home.

After Chris, the band welcomed back Alan Gifford who took the band to their first contest at Leicester in November 2016. He stayed with us until 2017 when he was offered the post of MD at Amington Band in his home town of Tamworth, the band where be began his playing career at the age of 8 years on cornet, but quickly making his way to trombone.

In 2017, the band were delighted to welcome Allan Wheelhouse as their new Musical Director. He has a wealth of conducting experience with Bulkington Silver Band, and as assistant conductor with both Cubbington Band and Croft Silver Band. We look forward to a long association with Allan.

Allan Wheelhouse
Allan Wheelhouse's First Concert
Alan Gifford
Alan Gifford's First Contest
Josh Hughes
Josh Hughes - Brassed Off
Roy Owen
Roy Owen takes over as Musical Director
Historical Photo 1
Historical Photo 1
Unknown Year
Historical Photo 2
Historical Photo 2
Unknown Year

News & Events

The latest Coventry Festival Band news and events listings are available on our Facebook page.

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Contact Us

If you wish to book Coventry Festival Band, or talk about joining, please contact our secretary Liz Cowley.

E-mail: coventryfestivalband@googlemail.com

Telephone: 024 7671 3763