Eastbourne Bandstand - a seaside musical treasure
The seaside, or town park, bandstand was once a ubiquitous municipal pleasure, providing a performance venue available to all kinds of musicians and entertainers, and accessible to every citizen. Many have either disappeared, or have lost their original role with the decline in town, village and factory brass and silver bands and the like.
Amongst the survivors are Eastbourne's impressive 1930s vintage bandstand on the promenade, which continues to attract crowds with a full spring, summer and autumn musical programme.
Eastbourne's seafront bandstand was built in 1935, and has two tiers - an attached colonnade and viewing decks. It is unique in Britain in its style, with a semi-circular design and blue-domed ceramic roof over the performance area, and similar tiling on its facade. It is a substantial structure, with a main arena, middle and upper balconies for seating, and originally accommodated an audience of 3,500, but current health and safety requirements have seen this reduced to 1,600. It has its own box office and bar.
The building of the bandstand formed part of the main Eastbourne seafront improvements in the early 1930s. The project engineer was Leslie Rosevere. The first concerts were given on the 28 July 1935.
The current repertoire of the bandstand comprises a mix of local, national and military brass bands and small concert orchestras, with programmes of classical and popular music. It has its own summer Proms season with fireworks.
A commemorative plaque opposite the bandstand celebrates bandsman John Wesley Woodward, a local performer who was one of those playing on the Titanic when it sank on 15th April 1912.
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