The announcement at Blackpool yesterday that the 2007 Spring Festival will be on the weekend of the 19th of May is one of the most poorly thought through decisions of this year, this will mean it is only 7 days before the Cambidge Masters. It was bad enough that this years contest was moved from the 1st weekend of May to the middle weekend of May just 14 days before the Masters but to move it yet another week later for 2007 leaves several bands in a very difficult position. By my reckoning the decision will effect at least 4 bands GUS Polysteel BTM Redbridge It will be almost impossible for those bands to compete at both contests, for those of you who have spent the last 3 weeks working hard for the Grand Shield and have woken up today hung over and extreamely tired would you be able to then rehearse every night for another week in order to appear at another contest on a different test piece (and the talk is that next years masters piece will be a newly commissioned piece) Should any of the above bands have to decline their invite to next years Cambridge Masters then their likely replacements will almost certainly be a band also competing at the Grand Shield. In an era where sponsorship in the Brass Band world is declining, (you only have to look at the recent announcement that this years JJB Wigan contest has been cancelled due to the loss of the sponsor) organisers of this countries major contests should be working together to ensure that situations like this do not occur. Philip Biggs has worked hard to ensure that the Cambridge Masters continues as a major contest in the Brass Band diary and may I also add that the contest has always been on the last Sunday of May, so why do they keep moving the Grand Shield weekend to a different part of the month ? I understand that the Winter Gardens are not available for the early part of May 2007 in which case either if should have been booked much further in advance or a different venue should be used. Maybe if any of above bands are not able to accept their invite for next years Cambridge Masters they can be given a guaranteed invite for the following years contest. Lets hope that that the organisers of the Grand Shield have already booked the Winter Gardens for 2008 and 2009 (and on the 1st weekend of May as previously) to ensure that bands are not put in this position again.