On Sunday afternoons before the advent of TV, people would stroll along the promenade of seaside towns, and act posh. They would dress in their best clothes – the men in shiny shoes and shinier suits, the women in skirts too long to walk comfortably in, as if they were trying to perform Riverdance in a sleeping bag. They would stop at tea-rooms for scones and clotted cream, the pathway to clotted arteries. They would buy candy-floss, an unruly dandelion clock of flying sugar, for grumbling children to whom the Sunday walk was simply the boredom of church moving into extra-time.
And they would stop at the bandstand. There local musicians would dilute the beauty of classical music and popular tunes of the day by adapting them to the barking honk of brass instruments, seasoned by the occasional ting of a triangle. People would circle the bandstand to watch the performance while stiff onshore breezes meant that other people two hundred yards west got to do the actual listening.
The performers were protected from the elements while the crowd found it literally rained on their parade. In the bands’ defence they were doing their attendance a favour here, since a tuba filled with water produces a sound like whale-fart.
The band would finish with their most popular number, bid the crowd farewell by the name of their town, and leave.
The bandstand is the original festival venue.