The Brisbane public have been enjoying band concerts in botanic gardens and public parks since 1857 but this was formalised by a breakaway group of four bands in 1916, three of which are still in the program today. Their aim was to provide entertainment for the public in the public parks and gardens of Brisbane. The partnership between Brisbane City Council and Brisbane Metropolitan Bands has a long and rich history and has delivered a free weekly program of community music to the citizens of Brisbane for over 100 years. There are eight original bands with a combined history of over 500 years service to the city of Brisbane residents and this program continues today to reinvent itself with collaborations with multicultural groups, original compositions, blending of music styles and the addition of new community bands from all over the greater Brisbane area.
There are three original surviving bands from 1916 including Brisbane Municipal Concert Band which was formed in 1903. Following that, in the year the Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic the two leading brass bands of this state were formed in 1912 – Brisbane Excelsior Band (current reigning national champions) and South Brisbane Federal Band. They share a history and commitment to the cultural life of the city of Brisbane including Brisbane Excelsior playing at the opening of the Story Bridge in 1940 and an unbroken tradition of playing at Anzac Day parades and ceremonies. Brisbane Municipal Concert Band played at the laying of the foundation stone at City Hall and welcomed home Sir Charles Kingsford Smith when he landed at Eagle Farm after crossing the Pacific.
The bands of Brisbane Metropolitan Bands have survived World Wars, depressions and changing music styles. In spite of or perhaps because of it, community music continues to thrive. The bands of Brisbane cater to all music tastes from traditional brass, concert and orchestral repertoire to pipe, swing, jazz and hip hop. Bands in Parks is the longest running legacy program of the Brisbane City Council and while we’re proud of our traditions, we’re bursting with fresh ideas, and that is what at 100 years, keeps us looking towards the future.