The Fairey Band is one of the most successful contesting brass bands in the world. Founded in 1937 by a group of employees at the Fairey Aviation Works in Stockport, the band achieved many musical successes under the brilliant direction of Harry Mortimer, their Musical Director for over thirty years. Since those early days, the band has won every elite band event on the contest calendar, including the National Championships of Great Britain on nine occasions and the British Open an incredible 16 times.
In the early-mid 1990s, the band enjoyed the most successful period in its history, winning both the British Open and National titles in 1993, before going on to become the first band ever to complete the ‘treble’ when they were crowned European Champions in 1994. The band is also extremely proud of its successes at the annual Whit Friday marches – most notably in 1987 when they achieved ten first prizes, two second prizes and a third prize of the 13 contests that they attended!
Since its formation, the band has worked with an illustrious line-up of conductors including Harry Mortimer, Major George Henry Willcocks, Leonard Lamb, Kenneth Dennison, Richard Evans, Walter Hargreaves, Geoffrey Brand, Major Peter Parkes, Roy Newsome, James Gourlay, Howard Snell, Allan Withington and Russell Gray. Most recently, the band has been working with professional conductor Garry Cutt since 2014, a partnership that has produced two North West Area wins, a Whit Friday Saddleworth title, and European qualification, highlighting the band’s continued pedigree as a leading contest band.
Although contest results have been an important factor in Fairey’s reputation as one of the world’s leading brass bands, the band is also renowned for its unique ‘Fairey sound’, a feature that has become synonymous with the famous name. The band is highly regarded for bringing a ‘touch of class’ to its concert performances and is therefore in constant demand for concerts, both at home and abroad. Overseas tours have included performances in Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
In recent years, the band has enjoyed further recognition outside the confines of the Brass Band movement, with its involvement in the ‘Acid Brass’ project. Under this banner, the band has been able to display its versatility in adapting to a very different musical concept and consequently, has performed in rock/pop festivals in the UK and overseas, bringing brass bands to a new audience.
The Band has always maintained its association with the ‘Fairey’ company, now known simply as WFEL, which provided sponsorship until 2002. After a spell of other sponsors, the band is delighted to once again have the support of its founder company. The band still rehearses at the factory in Heaton Chapel. Having survived various name changes, as the company changed hands over the years – Williams Fairey and Williams Holdings among others – these days the band is proud to revert to its roots and be known as The Fairey Band or, as is more commonly used in banding circles, Fairey’s.
Fairey Aviation Band (1937-1977), Fairey Engineering Band (1977-1986), Williams Fairey Engineering (1986-2000), Williams Fairey (2000-2003), Fairey FP (Music) (2003-2004), The Fairey Band (2004-2009), The Fairey (Geneva) Band (2009-2010), The Fairey Band (2011 – Present).
British Open Champions
1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
National Champions of Great Britain
1945, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1965, 1986, 1993, 2002, 2003
North West Area Champions
1947, 1951, 1952, 1954, 1959, 1963, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2014, 2015
English National Champions 2010
All England Masters Champions
Brass In Concert Champions
Fairey’s winning the North West Area in 2014
BBC Television Champion Brass
1976, 1977, 1979
BBC Best Of Brass
Granada Television Band Of The Year
BBC Radio Band Of The Year