A brass band was denied a chance to compete in a music competition after their coach company cancelled on them an hour before departure - despite having been booked six weeks in advance.

Leo Lerner, 21, a student at Oxford University, booked a coach from the Maidenhead-based firm Momentum Coach Hire to transport himself and his band to the Yorkshire Whit Friday Brass Band Competition on May 24 – a popular contest that saw 118 marching bands from across the nation compete for recognition.

The coach was booked six weeks in advance, at a cost of over £1,000. The company has since refunded Mr Lerner the hire cost.

But Mr Lerner’s hopes were dashed when the band leader called the company an hour before the departure time to confirm the pick-up location - and was told the coach was cancelled.

Mr Lerner’s father, Nick Lerner, 60, of north-west London, said: “They had been practising for months for this. They’d purchased uniforms and everything. They frantically called around all the other coach companies they could find, but of course there was nothing available.

“My son Leo and the rest of the band were very upset, embarrassed and angry that they had missed the competition. Momentum has offered no apology or sensible explanation.”

The band went on to hold an impromptu street concert in Oxford instead.

A spokeswoman from Momentum Coach Hire said: “Mr Lerner was aware that the vehicle had a mechanical issue and could not complete the job by 9.30am on the day of the trip. My colleague in operations was working to source an alternative vehicle to complete the trip. We had discussed that this may mean a delay to the departure time of approximately three hours. By 10.30am a call with Mr Lerner and our operations concluded with an agreement that the trip would not be completed and a full refund would be issued. “Mr Learner was informed as soon as we were aware of the issue with the vehicle. Depots work to maintain the vehicles to a high standard to ensure they are not off the road. However, from time to time they encounter mechanical issues that need to be repaired at short notice.

“We have expressed our sincere apologies and can understand the impact this will have had on their plans.”