Bandstand judges left with the toughest of choices

Top quality entries were expected to an unusual competition offering a truly unique prize to young people in Irvine Bay – their very own bandstand.

But the four shortlisted entries were of such a tremendous standard that a final decision has been delayed for a few days to allow the judges more time to consider them.

Kirsty Innes of competition organisers Irvine Bay Regeneration Company – and one of the judges – said: “We spent the day visiting each school and at every stop we were completely bowled over by the huge amount of thought and imagination that had gone into each entry. They are all of winning quality, so it is going to be an even tougher decision than we thought.”


The Rethinking Bandstand competition had been promoted via Irvine Bay’s website and Facebook page. 

Young people in Irvine Bay were given the opportunity to win the Irvine town centre bandstand in the Rethinking Bandstand contest.

The panel of three judges visited each of the shortlisted schools on Friday, February 24th. The judging journey started at 9.30am in St. Mark’s Primary, Irvine. The judges were welcomed by two pupils and taken along to a classroom where a team of pupils delivered a presentation on their plans for the bandstand and a tour of its proposed site. The final piece of the visit was a whole school assembly where a dozen pupils recited a poem about a bandstand before a performance by the whole school of an original song to the tune of ‘Ye canny shove yer granny aff a bus’. 

The next stop for the three judges was Dreghorn and Greenwood Academy. The school had already impressed with their video entry and they built on the drama with a presentation in the style of a TV news room. Lots of music, humour and some over the top acting demonstrated a wealth of performers ready to make good use of the bandstand. The visit concluded with a look at the preferred site for the bandstand.

On to Irvine Royal and another musical welcome from a group of talented musicians performing on the site of the proposed location for the bandstand. On cue it started raining and the judges were invited into a classroom where they heard from pupils with interests in drama and art about how they would use the bandstand. The visit concluded with two teachers presenting their plans for how the bandstand would impact on the attainment and achievement of school pupils.

The final stop off for the judges was Auchenharvie Academy in Stevenston. They were welcomed by the Head Teacher and taken along by a group of senior pupils to the music department to see the array of talent ready to make use of the bandstand. The formal presentation was delivered in the conference room where the school demonstrated the broad support for their project with teachers, parent council chair and community groups all participating. 

The competition was launched by artist and sculptor Peter McCaughey, who is creating a new giant artwork for the ongoing regeneration of Irvine town centre. That means the town’s bandstand needs to be relocated to accommodate the exciting transformation of the town centre being carried out by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company and North Ayrshire Council.