Bands beaten off by yobs

THE bands who have been playing on Weston s historic bandstand for decades are being forced off stage by aggressive gangs of yobs.

THE bands which have been playing on Weston’s historic bandstand for decades are being forced off stage by aggressive gangs of yobs.

The musicians who traditionally give up their time to entertain crowds on the Grove Park stage say the town is the only place in the world they know where they are threatened by mobs of hostile youngsters while they play.

An elderly cornet player was smashed in the face with a football in the latest violent confrontation on Sunday, badly cutting his lips on his mouthpiece.

Another yob then hopped over the bandstand fence and stole a jacket and members of the Burnham and Highbridge Town Band had to chase the youth down to get it back. The band members, who have toured far and wide, were forced to leave the stage, something they never have to do anywhere else they have played.

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The band’s musical director, David Fisher, said: “What is Weston coming to when people who are prepared to give up their Sunday afternoon to entertain the public are prevented from doing so by these thoughtless youngsters?”

Other bands have experienced similar misdemeanours and are seriously thinking of stopping playing at the much-loved bandstand if they continue to be interrupted by the louts.

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Last summer, members of the Royal Air Forces Association concert band rose spontaneously to fend off a group of yobs who were playing football by the bandstand.

Mr Fisher added: “We have played as far and wide as Germany and America and we have never had problems like this. We do it for the love of it and we give up our time to do it.

“On Sunday, a group of boys were playing football beside the bandstand. Towards the end of our performance, the ball sailed into the middle of the band, catching the head of one of our cornet players.

“This in turn sent his mouth crashing into the mouthpiece cutting his lip in the process. The gentleman in question is over 70 years old - everyone knows that a brass player needs the lips to play.

“One of the lads vaulted over the railings of the bandstand in an effort to get my ball back’ - he could not wait until we had finished playing.

“Later, a public-spirited woman called to us that something had been stolen from the rear of the bandstand which turned out to be a leather jacket belonging to one of the players. Our youngest member shot off after them and managed to get the jacket back.

“The police were called and statements have been given and the cafe owners knew just who we were talking about so it seems reasonable to assume this was not an isolated incident.”

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