How many brass bands? 19,634!

There have been many estimates of the number of brass bands over the years. These have ranged widely and, in most cases, were greatly exaggerated.

My research to date has identified nearly 20,000 distinct brass bands which existed in the British Isles between 1880 and the present. This is not a final figure and, although there are many bands still to unearth, I would be surprised if there were more than 2,000 to 3,000 to be added, based on my research experiences.

The full details of the analysis and distribution of the bands across the country are available at


  1800 – 2018 Current
Total bands 19,634 1,234
England 15,588 981
Scotland 1,350 93
Wales 1,239 87
Northern Ireland 531 41
Eire 872 24
Islands 54 8


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