Parks became symbols of civic pride; attractions included music, sports, and horticultural displays. Greenhead Park became an important open public space where brass bands could perform. In 1903 the brass band commentator ‘Shoddythorpe’ estimated there were 250 bands in West Yorkshire alone, around 104 of these came from what is now Kirklees.18 Greenhead Park attracted not only these, but also many professional regimental military bands.
Bands would play two programmes, one in the afternoon and another in the evening. The programmes started with a March, followed by an Overture (usually from an Italian opera), then a number of waltz tunes. Then came lengthier arrangements of selections from well-known classical composers; works by Mozart, Beethoven, Gluck and Wagner were popular, usually arranged for brass band by Edwin Swift, John Gladney or Alexander Owen. After these there would be a cornet or euphonium solo. These pieces were followed by a selection of ‘show’ music – works by Gilbert and Sullivan being popular from 1903, and ending with another March. A selection of early brass band recordings indicative of the repertoire can be found here.