It is quite clear to me that there are currently too many contests for bands to enter and compete during the annual calender. Having played at the Preston contest last week I am completely convinved that having more contests with the traditional format, rules, regulations and rituals is completely pointless. For many years the main contests in the claendar have pandered to a specialised audience, one which is knowledgable about bands, techniques and "insider" speak. These people come to all the contests, an expensive "holiday", and enjoy the discussion about who is best, was robbed, conspiracy theories etc. etc. The contest which should be highlighted as a beacon for any new type of event should be Brass in Concert. Embracing new instrumentation, musical concepts and allowing music to be entertaining rather than an exercise in pure technical ability. In my opinion I believe that more people go to the BiC than any of the other major contests. Why? Perhaps the reason for this is the fact that people hear a variety of repertory, not always to the comedic taste of all, but nevertheless entertaining. As the letter written on 4barsrest by John Shimmon suggests, if there should be another contest it should be an outdoor occasion in the summer. This being an entertainment or bandstand type of contest and is located in a large municipal park somewhere, perhaps in one of the parks. Many contests in the nineteenth century were after all located outside, playing pieces of music transcibed into selections from the classical (which was a form of popular music at the time) repertoire i.e. pieces significant to those stopping to listen. There are many contests involving banding movements around the world. i will provide one example of such a contest here. In this link you will see the Guca festival, held in Serbia, and involves Romanian and other eastern European people playing in bands. In the link, pay close attention to the number in the audience. Link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpoXWsm5qWo or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTcnuYNMTog I am not for one second stating that social factors and musical taste are identical or even anywhere near the same in Serbia as here, that would be rather simplistic. However it does demonstrate what a social event an outdoor contest would be. Brass banding is never going to regain a central position within the popular culture of this country but to perpetuate and even encourage more contests which are just another clone of the major other contests does not achieve anything but take up time and effort to play to yet another half, or less than half full event, irrespecive of however well run it may be. Although the ethos of the Whit Friday event may have evolved over the last centruy, possibly losing sight of its original concepts, it still advertises the possibilities of a mass audience. Something the "major" events in this country do not. I appreciate that people may highlight that the only reason that whit friday is so populated is the proximity and lethal doses of alcohol, something that it shares with the Guca festival above and Glastonbury. Nevertheless it reaches and attracts new audiences, a concept that was once part of why contests were organised. It's time for a rethink on these extra contests. This idea iof an outdoor entertainment contest is not something radically new, it's something the band movement has conveniently forgotten when addressing the topic of contesting. In addition who are we play for in these major indoor events? Is it the general public or are we just playing or rather praying to a set audience which will and has erroded significantly in the last 40 years.