DESPITE playing at the London Olympics, inspiring the 1996 film Brassed Off and performing to audiences across the world the downturn on finances have finally taken its toll on a popular music group.
Grimethorpe Colliery Band has been at the heart of its community for decades but its sponsorship has dried up and band manager Nigel Dixon said the time had finally come to admit that even Grimethorpe was now living a “hand to mouth existence” which he said “could not go on for ever”.
Since Grimethorpe’s colliery closed in 1993, its then owner Richard Budge of RJB Mining agreed to continue sponsoring the band, and later incarnations of his firm, UK Coal and Powerfuel, continued the arrangement.
But when Powerfuel went into administration in 2010, the money stopped, and although the band continues to bring in cash from concerts, Mr Dixon said it faced an annual shortfall of around £30,000.
Mr Dixon said: “We are living hand to mouth and we’re having to do a ridiculous amount of concerts in order to survive.”
He said they have unsuccessfully approached potential sponsors and said if the band was a business they would be looking at putting it into administration.
Mr Dixon said the band did have one individual benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous who paid for day-to-day expenses, but said even with their help and the earnings from the gruelling concert programme, things were looking grim.
He said until more cash came from the Government or other grants, he, and people in charge of Yorkshire’s other brass bands, faced and “impossible task” of trying to make ends meet.
He said: “We are the most famous brass band in the world but a lot of the time, playing a concert costs our members money.
“But we feel that we must keep the tradition of brass banding going for future generations.”