Area Appeals

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Matt the Baritone, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. I have just been on the West of England grading tables and noticed that a band appealed against relegation and they have not been relegated. I'm not having a dig, I'm just interested into the conditions of which a band can appeal against going down a section?
  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I suspect there are as many different reasons for appealing gradings are as there are bands making the appeals - in theory any band can choose to appeal against their gradings (not just relegation - I've also seen appeals against promotion, and appeals to be promoted/relegated when it hasn't happened automatically on points) under any circumstances.
    The million dollar question is when and why those appeals are either accepted or refused!

    We can't really talk about a particular band's case as we're not party to their reasons for appeal or the committee's decision making process; but in general the decisions are based on section sizes and a band's past record.
  3. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    If memory serves , when one of my previous bands was relegated from the Champ section the info about grounds for appeal came through automatically (without us having sought the option). We may have actually had some very spurious grounds for launching one (I think , again if the memory is correct based on the presence at the time of non-competing bands still in the table ), but eventually decided not to on the grounds that we'd been well beaten and it perhaps would have been seen as throwing the toys out of the pram.
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I have seen appeals that I felt on balance should not have succeeded succeed, and I have seen appeals that I felt should have succeeded without question be thrown out.

    It's all a bit of a lottery, innit.
  5. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Dave it is very much a lottery, I have always advocated that there should be an independent appeals committee that covers all regions so that there might be some consistency around the country. I remember a couple of years ago when Kidlington appealed to stay in the Championship Section in London and were successful and at the same time Aldbourne also appealed to stay in the Championship Section but lost and were relegated. One could argue different area and circumstances but not on this occasion just inconsistency, different area committee's with their own approaches. No one to say who is right or wrong. I am pleased that Forest of Dean have been given more than 12 minutes to stay in the 1st Section.
  6. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Absolutely agree!
    I don't think its as random as a lottery though, and I definitely think section sizes can have as much effect on the decisions as a band's merits/weaknesses sometimes.

    I've also seen a few cases where I think a band would have a great chance at winning an appeal but they never even tried - I wonder why that is?
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    And those two appeals (which happened in the same year, as I recall?) were in my mind when I wrote my post. Frankly, I felt at the time that Aldbourne deserved to stay up better than we did, although we had a slightly better case on paper. Both were marginal, but either both should have succeeded or neither should have.

    However, the real travesty that I am thinking of came in the Midlands 3rd section last year, where an old band of mine, University of Warwick, were relegated immediately after coming 4th on a three-year sequence that included a year when they could not enter because the contest was held out of term time. That seems to me to be as close to a watertight reason for appeal success as can be imagined, but the appeal was rejected by the Midlands people.

    You are right, we need national consistency - a "postcode lottery" is never attractive. A consistent independent committee that could also examine kerfuffles like the Welsh regional argument with Wrexham Brass would be good for all of us.

    Maybe they didn't think it an honourable thing to do? Or thought that it would be bad karma?
  8. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    The 2010 contest was a week before the end of term though - 13th March compared with 20th March.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

  10. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    True, but if the clear facts don't match what the appeal was based on (presuming that the appeal was based on what was posted on here) then it's obvious that the appeal won't succeed.

    Likewise if the other comments regarding the date of the contest being released after band members signed up for tours etc. were used that would've been clearly disproved.
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    So you're saying that they had their facts wrong. Okay, fair enough, I don't have the facts to hand myself, and simply trusted what they wrote. I would also submit that relegating a student band (whose membership will change almost completely over a three year period) on the basis of a recent good result, an older poor result, and a no-show is quite harsh, although "them's the rules" - on that basis, even with the dates etc. taken out of the equation, an appeal seems morally sound at least - I have never seen another band relegated with the same or higher place in a large field being their most recent result.

    This example aside, the fact remains that there are regional inconsistencies between the ways that appeals are treated.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  12. fatcontroler

    fatcontroler Member

    Your example is an interesting one regarding Warwick. I am very familiar with the band and fully agree that between the first and third year of the area rolling average there could be maybe 2 or 3 players that are the same.
    In that sense the 3 year average goes both for and against the band. One year could be a very good group of players and the previous 2 years of poor results (not in this bands case but theoretically) would count heavily against the band. Incidentally the same can be said for a number of 4th section bands - they traditionally have a higher turnover of players than those in the higher sections.

    However, if the scores were more akin to the Scottish system you could get relegated by 1 poor result, and certainly would have done by not competing.

    I think that on whole the system of promotions/relegation is fair. The appeal system however is very judgmental and decisions based on other factors such as size of areas. For it to work it needs to be independent which is difficult in the community we are part of. It would be a very strange band that appealed against their promotion - are there any bands that have tried/succeeded in preventing a promotion?

    The system cannot suit everybody and I feel this is the fairest way of dealing with relegation etc
  13. DRW

    DRW New Member

    I may be being naive, but why do appeals take place anyway other than to challenge correct application of the rules? If a band's performance on the day is not representative of their usual standard then they should be putting their efforts into raising consistency rather than raising an appeal.
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    1) There may be mitigating circumstances for a poor performance (illness, inability to rehearse together for a university band with a contest early in the term, etc.).
    2) Contesting can be pretty arbitrary - standard of performance is strongly correlated to result placing, but it's perfectly possible to pick up a couple of very unlucky placings in a row at the area. When you get hit with one of these adjudications, you can have prepared as hard as you like and still come out with a way-down placing.
    3) If a band is unable to attend an area contest for a good reason (e.g. university band outside term time, or maybe something unhappier, like a coach crash on the way to the venue), it incurs one placing below the lowest placed band that did attend. Such a situation would be clearly not fair.

    It's all very well to say "play by the rules, but better", but sometimes the rules deal you an unfairly bad hand.

    Incidentally, fatcontroler, do we know each other? I was the solo euph at Warwick 1997-2000, the chap with the big dreadlocks (now long gone!).
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  15. DRW

    DRW New Member

    Quite true, but this applies to all bands that contested and some will have put contingencies in place. Should those bands not deserve an advantage for being well-organised?

    Agreed, but isn't that is the very nature of contesting?

    I wasn't aware that university band members are not allowed to meet outside of term time. The coach crash scenario would be sad and unfortunate and a difficult one to manage. I can see justification for leeway on that one.

    After every contest result, we know that most bands feel hard done by. We all have our excuses / reasons why we could have done better and feel that we don't deserve the result we were given. For an appeals process to be fair, mitigating circumstances for all bands should be taken into account. Who knows, the appealing band may have been awarded an even lower result had the other bands been fully on form.
    It would also be interesting to see if appealing bands also declare any advantages they may have created for themselves, such as the use of non-regular members. Hmm - I expect they may overlook that.
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    To a certain extent. But sometimes life will circumvent all of ones organisation... What if the solo euph comes over ill while performing their cadenza and vomits down the front of the stage? Or, more plausibly, what if an instrument's valve sticks mid-solo (*)? That can happen even to those who maintain their instruments fanatically. I think it a good idea to allow for the possibility of having to correct the natural result of such a happening later on.

    (*) Or the bass trombonist bangs their slide walking on stage, denting it, causing it to jerk mid-solo, making them sound quite silly momentarily... Happened to me at the area a few years ago! Who knows what that 3rd place might have been?? ;-)

    In an ideal world, no, it wouldn't be. Yes, in this flawed world, we must learn to put up with results from time to time that make you want to pack the whole thing in... But to insist on their legitimacy beyond the contest day - to extend the use of such results blindly to curse a band's prospects for three years - is something that can be unnecessarily unfair. To allow for the possibility of working around such results is sensible, I think.

    To pick an example that didn't require action (so far as I know), but might well have, in 2003, Black Dyke were clobbered with a very unexpected 13th place at the Yorkshire area (in an otherwise-unbroken podium-placing sequence for that contest that reads 3, 1, 1, 13, 2, 2, 2, 3, 1). Who would it benefit to see Dyke in the 1st section? It would severely damage Dyke, and it would make every 1st section contest they entered completely ridiculous.

    Heh. Well, of course. But if your band is made up of penniless students who have no accommodation outside term-time and are consequently living hundreds of miles away, and are probably flipping burgers day in day out while there in order to make ends meet during term-time, then it becomes so impractical as to be practically impossible. I thought that was reasonably obvious.

    Sold! All I was after was constructing a counterexample that you wouldn't disagree with in order to demonstrate why an appeals process exists at all.

    I see your point well. But you and I both know the impossibility of collecting all the relevant data. In this still flawed world, the best that can be done is for informed people to make a judgement call with all of the information that it is practical for them to obtain.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  17. DRW

    DRW New Member

    I think we'll have to agree to our differing views on this subject Dave.
    Mine come from a perspective of the bands who graciously accept the result in the spirit of a fair contest. In my view, any band that appeals on the grounds of the type cited in your examples is being unfair to fellow bands. When signing up to a contest, I would have thought it's based on acceptance of an independant evaluation of the performance on the day. It's not based on what could have been achieved if absolutely everything went as planned / hoped.

    I don't see such allowances being made in other aspects of our daily lives. e.g. the ideal job applicant who was ill on the only day of the interview and couldn't turn up. He doesn't get a second chance and could have made a big difference to his livelihood and to the business he was joining. His bad luck is someone else's good luck / opportunity. That's life / you're only as good as your last gig / *insert another metaphor here*.
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Perfectly happy to agree to disagree... But -
    1) It's possible to "graciously accept the result in the spirit of a fair contest", and simultaneously hold the view that then using that result to compute gradings is to extend the validity of the result from something that is short-term hurtful to something that is long-term detrimental to the well-being of the band. Appealing against either relegation or promotion (which incidentally does happen - I can think of a couple of instances) is not the same thing as disputing the result of the contest; a crucial distinction to this.
    2) We're not talking about what "could have been achieved if absolutely everything went as planned / hoped". We're talking about achieving what you would have expected to have seen achieved under normal circumstances - or rather avoiding implementing what came to pass that seems unrepresentative in hindsight (a more accurate phrasing, but clunkier).

    Lucky us - we've got a means to offset life's little cruelnesses in this one particular arena. Bands are not businesses, existing to make money; they exist to give us fulfillment. We can do better than businesses because we care about ourselves and try never to think about the monetary bottom line.
  19. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Hatfield appealed against a promotion and were subsequently kept in the section they were to be promoted from. I think the grounds were that they had only been promoted into that section the year before - please correct me if anyone knows that to be incorrect.

    I wonder how the other bands in the section felt about a "duly promoted" band staying and competing against them the following year?
  20. ophicliede

    ophicliede Member

    Interesting tubafran, I know that earlier this year after the results of the regional contest I muted to several of the regional committee about the band I conduct staying in the same section. The response was that they would find it difficult to support as we were competing in the finals and that could change the decision. We did not appeal to stay in the section so will be promoted having only been in the section a year.