The Brass Junkies at the exquisite Belmont Estate in Wraxall - review

The six-piece brass band made up for a lack of sunshine with an incredible show

The British weather is an unpredictable thing. On Friday, Bristol was basking in sunshine with the mercury rising to almost 30 degrees. Just 24 hours on, the dark clouds had emerged and it was raining.

And so, it was with slight trepidation that I spurred by wife along with our baby into the car for the short journey to the Belmont Estate near Wraxall; the primed location for an event billed as ‘an afternoon of open-air music and food in the summer sun’.

But I needn’t have worried.

Firstly, as soon as we turned off the Clevedon Road and up the long single-lane drive toward the perched Belmont House, the rain suddenly stopped.

Then, after parking up and walking through a stone-walled entrance, we discovered an incredible, almost secret, open-air amphitheatre where around 100-or-so people were seated watching the beginning of an upbeat, fun musical performance.

The Brass Junkies perform at the Belmont Estate’s open ampitheatre

Bright, bouncy - the six-piece Brass Junkies managed to lift any damp spirits left by the rain with a cover of George Micheal’s Faith. The two trumpets and saxophone leading a bobbing of heads in the first few rows of the ampitheatre.

More classic covers followed. Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, Do I Do by Stevie Wonder and You Can Call me Al by Paul Simon.

The group describe themselves as a New Orleans street band, and they were also clearly enjoying playing at such a prestigious venue which is set within a walled garden adjacent to the stately home.

The grass banks made perfect seating - although the earlier rain meant people used picnic rugs!

Couples, colleagues and young families watched on happily. Some people had pints of Bristol Beer Factory’s Fortitude in their hands, others sipped English sparkling wine - both served within a restored stone building next to the ampitheatre.

And there was food being shared around also. Popular Bristol company Pizzarova were baking margheritas and prosciutto, cheese and basil pizzas in an outdoor oven.

The songs kept coming until, after around an hour, the group announced they had one more song - Sexual healing by Marvin Gaye. ‘We have a wedding to get to’, said one of the band merrily.

English sparkling wine and ale on tap was served to those needing refreshments

All moving forward in a line toward the front row, the band swayed back and forth to the slow, funky rhythm of the 1982 hit. The small crowd loved it, and there were shouts of ‘encore’ as the performance came to an end.

Many then stayed to take in the beautiful surroundings, while children were let loose to run up and down the grass banks to round off a delightful afternoon spent, ahem, in good old Bristol summer weather.