Mainline Big Band (Bedford)

Background Information


  In 1979 the Bedford trumpeter Geoff Allen decided that since Bedford had close links with Glenn Miller the town should have its own Big Band. The result was the birth of the MAINLINE Big Band. The band performed regularly in the local area and and eventually its popularity spread and the band was invited to play at the Savoy Hotel in London. Today the band plays at private functions, birthday parties, weddings, and dances.


The band has also played at the US Air Force Bases at Chicksands, Alconbury, Molesworth and Croughton and is a regular performer at the annual Glenn Miller festival at Twinwoods from where Miller flew, sadly for the last time. The famous Old Warden Air Museum at Shuttleworth hosts the band during their Air Shows in the summer.


Photograph taken at the Shuttleworth Air Show, Old Warden


The Mainline was formed with the intention of performing and perpetuating the wonderful music of the big band era and this aim is being upheld to this day


Although mainly a Miller era band, the library spans some 100 years and includes the works of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra and even newer artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Chuck Mangione.


The band's line up includes:
  • 5 Saxes
  • 4 Trumpets
  • 4 Trombones
  • 3 piece rhythm section incorporating piano, bass and drums
  • 2 Vocalists


A 10 piece outfit cunningly called "The Branchline Band" is available for smaller functions.


In addition to the options of playing as a big band and a 10 piece, due to the versatility of the players and the ownership of a great music library, the band is able to perform original 20s music in a traditional 20s style, in some cases using instruments contemporary with the era


Four studio recordings have been made of the band, the latest being “Swinging Down the Tracks” made to commemorate the bands 25th Anniversary and the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War 2.


Sunday rehearsals take place at the Hammers Sports and Social Club in Kempston and visitors are welcomed. Musicians wishing to join the band are also made welcome. As the band consists of some young students who move on to universities new members are always being sought.