The first Steel band competition was held in 1949. The venue was the St. John’s Girl’s School, then located on the site of the present Economic Development Building, at the corner of Independence Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Highway. Governor Earl Baldwin of Bewdley sponsored this inaugural competition. The test tune was ‘Peanut Vendor,’ and Hells Gate emerged winner. Red Army of Green Bay/Gray’s Farm was second, and Brute Force of the “Bridge” area was third.
Bertha Higgins, a qualified musician who resided at St Mary’s House on St. Mary’s was the first person to teach the Hells Gate Steel Orchestra from music. This was during the late forties.
In 1949, the Hon Edmond Hawkins Lake volunteered to be the president of the first Steel Band association. Hells Gate Steel Orchestra and Brute Force Steel Orchestra were the two most popular Steel Bands then.