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Scarr Bandstand

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All this costs money....Friends of Scarr Bandstand are very grateful for the grant from the Foresters' Forest Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership scheme, which will cover the biggest of the restoration costs.  Further funding has been obtained from West Dean Parish Council to cover expenses of the first season of events.  West Dean Parish Council have also very kindly undertaken to add the Scarr Bandstand site to their regular mowing regime.

We have also received generous sponsorship from Calico Interiors, a local business, to help pay for the bands which are performing on 26th August.

We are investigating further funding to enable us to take the restoration of the Bandstand on into the future,  and keep the project afloat.

We will be asking for donations at each of the summer events, which we hope will help us to cover the general costs of the events, and take us into 2018.

The other source of funds we have comes from the annual subscription of those kind people who have become members of FRIENDS OF SCARR BANDSTAND.   Do please join! 


Roughly 140 people braved the appalling weather to enjoy the magical performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".   The Gloucestershire Youth Players coped with the Bandstand's sparse facilities - and the mud -  with great good humour and enthusiasm.  They have expressed a wish to return next year, which we take as the greatest possible compliment, and we would be delighted to welcome them back!


Huge efforts have been made during 2017 to get the Bandstand site ready for the summer events.  Permission for boar-proof fencing has been granted, a tree removed, and the entire site has had to be cleared of undergrowth, and weeds repeatedly dealt with.  The new fencing is now in place, with gates top and bottom so that the site can still be used by dog-walkers and other visitors.   Regular mowing will be necessary to keep the site in a usable state, along with rolling and grass-seeding later in 2017.

A Licence has been granted by the Forestry Commission for events to take place on the site, and insurance kindly arranged by West Dean Parish Council.  Temporary Event Licences have had to be obtained from the local authority, along with permission to put temporary signs along the road.  Sling Club has very kindly agreed to run the drinks stalls for the events, and provide many practical pieces of equipment.

Posters and leaflets have flooded the local area over the summer, and  the new website has been designed by Ian Whitburn  from a local website and marketing company.

First Event

 August 22 2017.


Roughly 140 people braved the appalling weather to enjoy the magical performances of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".   The Gloucestershire Youth Players coped with the Bandstand's sparse facilities - and the mud -  with great good humour and enthusiasm.  They have expressed a wish to return next year, which we take as the greatest possible compliment, and we would be delighted to welcome them back!

Bands at the Bandstand

August 31 2017.


Scarr Bandstand was thronging with people when Parkend Silver Band and AW Parker (Drybrook) Band played on 26th August - the first concert for at least 25 years.

The Bands returned as a tribute to the famous "Hospital Sundays" which began over 100 years ago.  Well over 200 people enjoyed the fantastic music - and the sun!  There was plenty of food and drink provided by Sing Club, and games to keep the smallest children occupied.

Lydney Dial-A-Ride very kindly provided a minibus to shuttle people from the overspill car park at Calico Interiors, the company that also sponsored the event, along with the Rotary Club.

Friends of Scarr Bandstand would like to thank both these wonderful Bands for playing at the event - the first, we hope, of many!

See Video

9th September 2017


Another very successful event, attended by over 50 people….at Sling Club

Thunder storms, lightening and showers were threatened for 2pm on Saturday 9th September, so the decision was made to move the event indoors. Most of the people who turned up at the Bandstand cheerfully made their way to Sling Club, where there was a bar, tea and coffee and lots of homemade cake!

PASSING THE BATON, a play by Mike Akers tells the story of the formation of Lydbrook Band and its subsequent history and was performed by the very talented group of actors and musicians from Wyldwood Arts.

PILLOWELL SILVER BAND followed the show under MD Ian Whitburn with a superb concert of music old and new, which sounded spectacular.

We are very grateful to Sling Club for having this event and we hope that both Wyldwood Arts and Pillowell Silver Band will come back next year and have the chance to perform on the Bandstand with the sun shining!

And two days later, over 400 people enjoyed the Brass Festival, in the unique atmosphere the Scarr Bandstand offers. There was blazing sunshine, plenty of food and drink, and wonderful brass band music provided by Lydney Town Band and Pillowell Silver Band, under the musical direction of Kevin Ford and Ian Whitburn.  Each band provided a full-length concert, to a very appreciative audience.  The afternoon was compered by Averil Kear, using the PA system lent by the Forest of Dean Local History Society.

Lydney Dial-A-Ride very kindly provided a minibus to help people with walking difficulties down to the site.  And back up again at the end of the event.

The Friends of Scarr Bandstand, entirely run by volunteers, organised the Festival. There are five more public events this summer - a mixture of local bands, and outdoor theatre of all kinds.   The next event is on Saturday 16th June:  "PASS THE BATON", Wyldwood Arts' lovely musical play based on memories from Lydbrook Brass Band; followed by a concert by Lydbrook Training Band.  Entry is free - donations welcome.

The site is better than ever, with improved parking and track - and of course the temporary roof means that performances can go ahead even if there are showers.   Audience members are encouraged to bring an umbrella - hopefully to use as a sunshade!

There are also three private events booked for this summer.  It is hoped that the Scarr Bandstand will increasingly become the 'go-to' outdoor venue for community events of all kinds. The Friends of Scarr Bandstand are currently engaged in raising funds for a permanent roof, which will greatly enhance this unique Forest treasure; a roof that is vandal-proof, of course!

Friends of Scarr Bandstand are extremely grateful to the sponsors of the hugely successful Brass Festival;  SPP Pumps, The Forest of Dean Lions Club, The Forest of Dean Rotary Club, Coleford MCTI  Partnership, Coleford Garden Centre, Best Parteez bouncy castle, The Club House at Sling and Calico Interiors. Thanks for their continuing support  of the Scarr Bandstand goes to Arts Council England, the Foresters Forest HLF Landscape Partnership Programme and West Dean Parish Council

See Video

Within 24 hours of the temporary roof being erected last Thursday at the Scarr Bandstand, Sling, the vandals arrived.  Wye Dean Scaffolding had provided the roof which stands on scaffolding towers, with protection sleeves around the poles.  The vandals tore these off, and added them to the fire they had set in the middle of the Bandstand, using forest debris and wooden stakes that were intended for notices to help signpost the audience expected for the first event on 10th June.

The vandals also unscrewed the cap of the large water tank which was providing ballast for the scaffolding tower, allowing gallons of water to flood the site.

Luckily,  Roger Carter, the member of Friends of Scarr Bandstand who is in charge of the site, happened to turn up.  Seeing the water, he quickly replaced the cap on the ballast tank, thereby saving over half the contents.  Since there is no source of water at the site, it would have been very difficult to refill the tank, so this quick thinking saved the day.  The fire had failed to do any serious damage, so it was just a matter of  having to clear up the mess, and replacing the protection sleeves - slightly the worse for wear - on the scaffolding.  The vandals had, of course, disappeared.

10th June 2018



An appreciative audience was held spellbound by the wonderful performance of Wyldwood Arts' "PASSING THE BATON" on Saturday 16th June.  The musical play is based on memories of the history of Lydbrook Brass Band, and of course the Scarr Bandstand is the perfect place for the show.

As well as the talented cast of three actor/musicians, Lydbrook Training Band were an integral part of this special show.  The Band also performed a great concert after the performance.

In spite of unhelpful drizzle before the show began, everyone had a great afternoon!

PASSING THE BATON was performed the next day as well, as part of a private event organised by the Foresters Forest team as a  'thank you' to the many volunteers who work on the projects supported and funded by the Foresters Forest Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership  - of which the Scarr Bandstand is one.

This performance proved to be unique; one of the actor/musicians was unable to make it at the last minute - so rather than cancel the show, the remaining two performers decided to carry on, bringing in a willing friend when the play demanded three people on the stage at the same time!  With the audience on the edge of their seats, and willing the performers on, not only did the actors get through the show, but it was amazingly sharp, funny and a great experience for all who saw it.  The last-minute replacement gave a wonderful series of performances - being told what the characters were like as he went along - and turned out to be very adept with a trumpet too!

The Friends of Scarr Bandstand very much look forward to the next Wyldwood Arts event, which will no doubt be magical:  a day of storytelling events on Saturday 7th July.


The Scarr Bandstand was delighted to welcome back the Gloucestershire Youth Players, under the leadership of Edward Derbyshire.

Last year, the very first event of the newly restored Bandstand was GYP's wonderful "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and this year they returned with an intriguing version of  "Twelfth Night".

GYP specialise in performing Shakespeare, and this year, a shortened version of Twelfth Night was used - twice!  The task Edward Derbyshire had set his talented and energetic young cast was to perform the same story, once for comic effect, and once as a tragedy.  Cast members played different parts in the two versions, which also had different costumes, and the result illumined the script in surprising ways.  Most effective, perhaps, was the stunning atmospheric live music throughout - jolly jigs for the comic version, and weird, haunting chords for the same story told to unnerve and alarm.

The young cast's ability to switch roles and bring the story to life in two completely different ways was extraordinary, and very impressive.  Their apparently easy command of Shakespeare's language was also enthralling.

GYP's commitment to performing Shakespeare is admirable, and the Bandstand is lucky to have the pleasure of hosting their work.   We very much look forward to seeing GYP again very soon.


The biggest audience yet for a theatre performance gathered at the Bandstand to watch Jenny Wren Productions' lively and highly entertaining version of Jane Austen's "Emma" on a perfect Sunday evening.

Cleverly adapted by Martin Millar and Doon MacKichan, and directed by Jenny Wicks, a talented cast of just six actors played all the characters, bringing this well-loved story to life - although at several points a member of the audience was enlisted to help out, causing extra merriment.  The whole audience was included in the telling of the story, enjoying watching the actors change costumes and characters in front of their eyes, create a carriage using two parasols and a coconut, and recreate whole balls and soirees with clever choreography. Perhaps best of all was the stunning acapella singing - used sparingly but with marvellous effect.

The cast were full of energy and the audience were held spellbound, when they weren't laughing, or cheerfully losing their picnic items as the cast went 'strawberry picking' as part of the story, helping themselves to people's leftovers during the second half of the play.

As the story unfolded, when not involved in a scene, Hannah Churchill playing Emma spent time at her easel, apparently painting.  At the end of the evening, the work was revealed to the audience.  Whilst performing the play, this extraordinary actress  had actually produced a water-colour painting of the Scarr Bandstand, complete with the pretty "Emma" scenery.  This was snapped up by an audience member, at an ad hoc auction after the show.

This was the first time Jenny Wren Productions has visited the Scarr Bandstand.  Judging by the audience's delighted reaction, we very much hope it will not be long before they return.



Events at the bandstand for 2018 concluded in beautiful sunshine once again after a damp start to the day, with Festival Saturday and performances by Pillowell Silver Band and the Ducstars

A sizeable and appreciative enjoyed the afternoon.