4barsrest at it again!!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by IanHeard, May 13, 2007.

  1. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Another thinly veiled "pop" at the BFBB and its English National Contest!
    We all know this once great website is now dancing to the British Bandsman`s pro salvo/Kapitol Promotions tune, but come on guys!
    You would`nt mind if there was a substantiated quote from anyone...third rate journalism in my view!

    From 4barsrest-
    " It is understood by 4BR that a number of leading bands in England are wary that the European no longer offers the same opportunities to challenge the best bands in Europe in a contesting environment than it once did.

    Many are concerned that the long term future of the English National Championship which was launched in 2006, but has since seen its initial sponsorship end (although a new one has come on board), has complicated the qualification situation unnecessarily. The winners of the English National are currently the band nominated by the BFBB to represent England at the Europeans.

    "One contest too many"

    "We are worried that the English National is one major contest too many in what is already a crowded contesting diary,' one conductor told 4BR. "I know there were factors that meant that it was not a great success last year, but I wonder whether or not things have improved for this year and beyond. It seems to be a contest that no one really wants to be honest and that a number of the top bands would prefer to take their chances of possible European qualification through the Nationals or British Open."

    As one leading player added: "We already have enough contests to sort this out already. Why not get the British Open and National Champions to attend?"

    The question of finance is also one that is taxing the minds of the British in particular with rumours that at least one major band may well not attend the European in Stavanger. As that leading conductor told us: "If the top bands know that they are qualified for the Europeans a year in advance then the financial implications can be sorted out much better. It also gives the band an added incentive if they know who they are going to be up against and they could use that as a means to raise sponsorship themselves."
  2. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    Yes, very strange. Especially since they used to be very much for this contest as an idea for a selecting an English champion. The main thing about the English National that's a bonus (for me anyway) is the fact that it gives the English qualifier so much more time to raise funds for the Euro. The old system didn't give bands very long at all.
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It does make you wonder how differently UK bands are funded compared to our European cousins since they seem to manage quite easily!
  4. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I think our European friends pay for themselves to attend, such is the honour of representing your country I suppose!
  5. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    Well, I know we would have struggled to afford the trip when we went had it been anywhere further afield than Belfast and if we hadn't have had a free trip to London the previous year through a lot of luck. Fodens this year only had to get down to Birmingham, so not that bad. The last time Faireys went it was in Glasgow, also not that much of an expense in comparison to trips abroad, and the year before that they didn't go because they couldn't afford it. Although it may seem that the bands manage financially quite easily, this really isn't the case. Also, I think most European bands just have their National Championships to pay to attend, and if they qualify then the European. Going to the areas, Grand Shield, Masters, English Nationals, the Open, National Finals, Brass in Concert or whatever each band attends takes its toll. For the bands who aren't lucky enough to have A) a sponsor and B) new instruments thrown at them it's an expensive business!
  6. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Can i just make a point that everything 4barsrest says is an opinion. Its neither right or wrong its just how they see things. They come in for a lot of stick regarding what they say but all they ever give is their opinion. I believe of what they say to be true and rumours regarding one band not going are also true as i have heard hard evidence to prove that and it is simply down to funding. My band Drogheda Brass Band have qualified for the B section and had it been birmingham we would be there no questions asked but its in norway which is one of the most expensive cities in europe and will ultimately may mean we do not go! The reason it costs the top bands so much to get there is because everything is paid for them unlike my band where we pay for ourselves.

    However to cut a long story short cut 4barsrest some slack what they say is an opinion nothing more!
  7. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    However, it is also true to say that many people also consider the once totally independent and highly regarded opinion of 4BR now very much tainted with that of SP&S and the BB.

    So, even though what you state here:
    is valid... it is just your opinion too that people should cut 4BR some slack.
  8. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Totally agree with you there it is my opinion!!!:p Just i think people do get caught up with what they say alot of the time you know especially regarding results!
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  9. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    What interests me is the occasional "digs" 4barsrests seem to have against the BFBB and its activities.
    It has clearly irked the banding establishment (Yorkshire Regional Commitee included!) in this country that the EFBB chose to back the BFBB and its English National as the vehicle to decide our bands who qualify.
    There is a concerted campaign to rubbish the efforts of the BFBB and 4barsrest do themselves no credit by assisting in this!
  10. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I agree, but if you can't take the eat, then get out of the kithcen. If 4BR are going to stick their necks out and offer an appraisal of a bands performance, then they need to face the music. I know for a fact that Iwan is very much aware of this, and sensibly sees any criticism for so doing as par for the course - in much the same way as I consider this for myself and tMP when I attend WSM.

    I also agree with these comments. Seems like politics is creeping into banding at all levels more and more so nowadays, and many don't like the policies of tMP for allowing people to make such comments.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's forum sites like tMP and 4BR that allow people to freely and openly express their opinions and all the better for it. If change is required then people in authority must sit up and take note of what is felt at grass roots level. Is it maybe that the BFBB is still relatively isolated from the bands that it is seen in a negative light? More direct involvement from bands and banders with them would help break this barrier down and improve our lifestyle!
  12. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    It is a sad fact that we have a low level battle going on at present between the BFBB on one side and the Regions/Kapitol Promotions/Salvationists on the other.
    I personally would prefer the single voice of the BFBB to run banding but the other factions have different ideas obviously!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    The way that I perceive the BFBB is this ... a 'union' that carries all the usual connotations of opposition and restrictions from administrative and controlling bodies. It may seem that they are more interfering than constructive. However, I might be wrong!
  14. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I guess it depends on who you think has the mandate to run things!
    One thing we can agree on is that is a mess!
  15. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Ok can somebody explain the different organizations in britain! in ireland we have our own association known as the IABCB(Irish Association of brass and concert bands) and then there are attempts to set up the regional committes again however the main body in charge is the association!!
  16. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Likewise Scotland. We have the SBBA in overall control and each region normally has its own local association too.
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think the problem in the UK - or possibly more accurately in England - is simply that no-one does have a mandate. We suffer from the legacy of not having a powerful unifying body with the authority to speak for bands of all levels. If you had a central body to which all bands had to be affiliated if they wished to take part in contesting, and if they paid a realistic contribution to that body, you would then have sufficient clout to be able to make a real difference. If the fees paid were set at a certain level, then bands would want to know they were getting value for money, and there would be more pressure for ground roots participation across the board, instead of things being left to a select few.

    It may call for a radical reorganisation if anything like a democratic structure is to be put in place, but at the moment we constantly hear gripes from bands who on the one hand feel they have no say in what's going on, but who on the other hand seem reluctant to actually get involved, and send representatives to meetings, conferences etc. Without a strong organising body, with enough finance to press forward with the plans they may have, banding is going to be torn between various promoters competing with one another, sometimes able to dictate their own terms according to the sponsorship agreements they have managed to agree.
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    If only someone could explain it, Stephen. ;) I'll have a go, but don't quote me.

    BFBB is, in theory, the only body appointed by bands. All the bands who are members of the BFBB (membership is voluntary) can elect officers at the AGM, and the BFBB runs things like the National Youth Championships. It is also England's (note, not Scotland's or Wales', despite being the British Federation)representative at the EBBA and is the body which selects the English representative at the European, which used to be done via the National Championships and is now done via the English Nationals.

    In common with most bandsmen, I don't know much about Kapitol Promotions other than the fact that they run the Nationals (and regional heats of the Nationals). They are linked to (owned by?) SP&S, Salvationist Publishing and Supplies, which also now owns the British Bandsman, which is now strongly tied in with 4barsrest.com. Kapitol are, as far as I can tell, a legacy from the years when we let Besson own and run the Nationals via Boosey & Hawkes Band Festivals Ltd. When the Band Festivals company was no more, the BFBB was allowed to run the Nationals and made a hash of it, since when Kapitol have done it. As far as I know they "bought" the rights to own and stage the Nationals from the previous incarnation of Besson and are now in sole charge of the contest, its format and testpieces.

    Personally I regard this as deeply unhealthy for the movement. Control of the Nationals should be with the BFBB, and membership of the BFBB made mandatory for any contesting band. If every contesting band in the UK joined there would be more money in the BFBB pot and a more powerful mandate to insist on changes. But I'm more likely to meet Brassneck's avatar in the flesh......;)
  19. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    No, it is the bands which are isolated from the BFBB. There is a confusion by both bandsmen (and, more worryingly, the Federation itself) that the BFBB exists to represent all brass bands and bandsmen. In fact, its only duty is to its MEMBERS - it has no mandate to represent anyone else and it would be quite wrong to attempt to do so - some bandsmen, for example, may not WANT to be represented by the BFBB. And of course, if the BFBB were to represent everybody, there would be little advantage in being a subscribing member at all. And where would that leave the Federation? Penniless!

    If bandsmen want to be represented by by the Federation and have a say in what the BFBB actually does, then the answer is simple - pay your subs and become a member. The Federation will become stronger, more democratic, and will have larger cash reserves to make the changes that its members want. It's a no-brainer, really.

    Regarding 4BarsRest, the poster who reminded us that the website is in bed with the Salvation Army did us a service. That is not to say that we should disbelieve what it publishes, only that we should bear in mind the potential for vested interest and read between the lines accordingly. In that respect, it is no different to adopting a healthy scepticism when reading how wonderful Sky TV is in The Times or The Sun (all three being owned by the same company, of course).

    Bear in mind that reports are the place for facts, but that reports can be slanted to suit a particular view. Opinions should be confined to editorial columns, readers' letters and other articles. To its credit, 4BR generally maintains these divisions clearly.
  20. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Sure, if that's your opinion then this is fine and you are of course fully entitled to it, however, I need to point out some facts here...

    4BR remains a totally independent organisation, with Iwan submitting articles and items to the British Bandsman as a freelance writer. It may seem that 4BR is part of the Bandsman, but in fact they are a totally separate organisation.

    Not too sure on this next point though as I am as confused as you are re Kapitol Promotions and their involvement with SP&S. Nikki Bland - I think - now works for the Bandsman, and maybe... I am not sure, still has a business position/interest in Kapitol Promotions.

    I will leave you to draw your own conclusions but, after all... perception is reality eh ;)

    I do know however, that the freedom of speech, open discussion and information policies that are evident on tMP are not necessarily seen in the same positive manner by all factions.

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