Bands and politics

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by baritone impresario, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. Should bands accept money from anybody / organisation even if they are short of cash? Just come across an article on a far right website and it shows one of the countries top bands accepting £500 from the BNP. The article is from 2011 but is still there on Google for all to see. I just wondered what to make of it seeing as a majority of people in the band are teachers etc.
  2. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    At first I thought that this might be a bit of a wind up, but having used a couple of search words I have found the article in question, it would appear to be a true story.
    I wouldn't want my band to accept money from a political organisation, regardless of which organisation. My intuition tells me that accepting money from a political organisation would be to endorse them (especially if it turns up on said organisations web-site).
    This would be wrong in my opinion, as to my knowledge, no one organisation reflects the diverse views of my bands membership (btw the profession of the membership is neither here nor there.)
    This could very easily become something of an own goal.
  3. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Oh my word, if you just Google "BNP and Brass Band" you get the hit... I wonder, though, did they know who the cheque was coming from...the article is not entirely clear on that
  4. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    Ok cat out of bag.
    Maybe this quote (with accompanying photo op) from the BNP website answers that question:

    That brought proceedings nicely on to Darren [BNP representative I assume] showing the audience a cheque of £500 donated by our MEPs to Carlton Main and Frickley Colliery Brass Band. It was on top of the £500 acquired for South Kirkby Church Clock Tower earlier this year.

    I hasten to add, the article doesn't say if the cheque was accepted.................
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  5. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    hmm...we must be looking at different pages...though with the same protagonists, since the quote you provide above does not appear on the page I'm looking at
  6. I suspect that the BNP are taking credit for a cheque that they never paid, or hid its origin from the band in question. I'm sure that band would be sensible enough to not receive money from the BNP. But then I don't consider the BNP to be a political party, but more of an offensive group of loonies.

    on the wider idea of bands doing gigs with politicians, why not? Labour, Tory, lib dem, etc, are hardly the BNP. Bands have marched with striking minors listening to socialist speakers, or do fundraisers at the local Tory HQ. It's all acceptable.
  7. Bbmad

    Bbmad Active Member

    This is a possibility. As far as I can see, according to the BNP website dated 28/08/2011, Mr Darren Lumb, of the BNP presented a cheque to the band manager of the CMFB. There is a photograph purporting to show the handover of the cheque.
    Whether the cheque was cashed or not is not mentioned, so I suppose that cannot be determined.

    It is acceptable, it just seems unwise to me and divisive to the membership of the band.
    I can see some circumstances that bands and politicians might mix, for example if a town Mayor or local politician was to organise an event involving local community organisations, but that would be surely done under as a "civil duty" banner rather than being seen as "party political".
    As for accepting donations, it just seems like a very unwise idea. IMO.
  8. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    This subject can be split into three distinct portions.
    Accepting money as a donation from any political party where it is a bit obvious that it is a vote winning exercise for the benefit of that party, then I see that as a big no shouldn't be done.
    However, accepting payment for actually doing some work for that party, such as marching in a parade or other political function could be a bit of a grey area!
    In fact if some members/players of the band feel strongly against that particular political party, for them it may even be a resignation from the band, therefore the band is losing good players.
    On the other hand as previously mentioned, accepting money for being a part of some civic function I see no problem!
  9. owain_s

    owain_s Member

    Either of these scenarios would be in keeping with the ways the BNP and other similar organisations operate. There's also the possibility of the cheque being accepted, but not being cashed after the band had realised what was going on.

    Thankfully, the BNP are almost entirely spent as a political force: they've only managed to field eight candidates for this election, one fewer than the communist party! If they write you a cheque nowadays, anticipate it bouncing.
  10. Gadgie

    Gadgie New Member

    Bands need money to survive and we accept it from all sorts of different sources. The Cooperative movement has provided substantial funds over the years and still sponsors some top bands, NASUWT and other unions like RMT and UNISON do as well. One of the best days out for bands is the Durham Miners' Gala on the second Saturday of July every year when maybe 70 or so bands are paid to march banners round colliery villages and Durham City in what is a predominantly socialist (if not necessarily Labour) celebration. Just in terms of balance, CMFCB were sponsored by Horden Colliery at least twice recently (including 2011, I think) and it's great to see bands of that calibre taking part.

    There's a balance between us selling our services and prostitution and I'm sure we'd all walk from our own bands if they were doing something we couldn't tolerate. No idea what happened in this particular occasion and I don't really care - they're a great band with some terrific players who are still proud to play for their band so all is well.
  11. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    Pot - Kettle - black etc.
    Banding is one of the most political hobbies imaginable.
    Without the politics, band committees and playing members would have little reason to drown their sorrows after each rehearsal.
    Politics will always be a part of banding, at all levels.
    As for the BNP, I had little idea that they would support anything that didn't involve violence or racial tension.
    If the money came from their membership subscriptions, they have now obviously emptied their coffers! ;-)
  12. Awww gawd i were only askin fer a fwiend...
  13. mattthebass

    mattthebass Member

    Interestly this is where one of our idioms comes from, "To get on the wagon" or "Band Wagon". During the 19th Century it was common practise for Americian (and probably English) Candidates to hire a band to play at public venues. Once the band had drawn a crowd the propective candidates would jump up on the wagon and make his political speech. People would endure the speech hoping the band would continue the entertainment afterwards.
  14. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    Money has no morals, it is just metal and paper. All charities receive donations which are derived from criminal activity (just a fact of life). The issue is the PR associated with the giving of the donation if it is not just cash bunged into a collecting bucket.

    However, bands have traditionally received money from the labour and co-op movements. This is political too.

    The question is how far right is too far right for a donation to a brass band.
    What about UKIP or the local conservatives or the Liberal Democrats.

    In terms of corporate donations what about Wonga, a tobacco company or an arms company?
    What about a donation from the local shop that sells Buckfast to under age drinkers?

    How would you make the judgement?

    Big charities do this by having guidelines and process flow charts to determine what to do in cases like this.
    It might be worth SBBA or equivalent in England producing some guidelines for bands to help them make these kinds of decision.
    At least that way the band could say it had made the decision following best practice.

    (Disclaimer: I am a member of the Institute of Fundraising, but this is my personal opinion only, not of any past or present employer.)