It's not often I find myself moved to such an extent that I'll post something serious on tMP, however the arrival of a letter from the BFBB and it's tone and content have (not to put to finer point on it ) really got my hackles up. Now granted I'm not the most fervent supporter of this organisation which proports to represent the bands of England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, however I was in the past fairly happy to let them get on with what they were doing with a general feeling that they believed in what they were doing. I have , however, changed my mind somewhat on this after recieving what can only be described as something close to a final demand, the like of which I would expect from a utility company! . Just so you all know what I'm talking about I'll copy it out to you word for word format for format : <quote BFBB> "I am writing to you as the secretary, or the First Contact of a band, and to remind you that the 2006 Subscriptions became due on the 1s January, 2006. So far in 2006 you have neglected to give us your supports. THIS LETTER IS TO REMIND YOU OF THIS FACT." </quote> Is it me or does this sound more than a little threatening?, no mention of our band name (they couldn't be bothered with that it seems) and I really think they need to run a spell checker (mind you so do I at times ). But never mind that, "Pay up or else" seems to be the tone... Ok well lets move on since the letter then goes on to point out the "benefits" of membership.. (oh and bear in mind we are a 2nd section band). Representation within the Arts Sector, ensuring brass bands are recognised where it matters. And this would be where exactly? In all my years of banding every band I have known generally gets itself represented on local arts councils and has to promote themselves. or are they referring to getting "top" bands on the radio? Preferential Brass band Insurance rates which provide substantial savings. I'll let them have this one as I've never used their insurance, we use a private company. Advice on issues essential to the brass band movement so you are always up to date. Erm... Anyone?, I use tMP and 4BarsRest. Complimentary copy of the Directoy of Brass Bands and entry to the federation website. Ok, possibly helpful but usally more accurate to go to our regional website or look on the internet or tMP. We operate a helpline at our national headquarters in Barnsley Has anyone used this?, if so what for? I can't really think of anything which my band would require help on that we can't get from local sources or the internet. Representation of member bands in Europe to ensure your voice is heard. Eh? why would I worry about our voice being heard in Europe?, Only a handful of bands get through to the europeans and we certainly wouldn't be one of them. There is free access to Member Bands to our Music and Score Library Ah at last something I can use... anyone else used this? how does it work (cause this is the first I've heard of this one) can we borrow our test piece for the areas next year to save us spending £60 on toilet paper? There are discounts on Overseas Tours Possibly useful once every four years. Once again anyone used this? There is low price on Hotel Accomodation Where?, someone enlighten me please. We operate and manage the British Brass Band Registry, incorporating over 17000 bandsmen and over 500 bands. Ah, here we are, the lynch pin. Forget the benfits this is the crux of the matter really. Don't we have to pay for this anyway to get our cards renewed each year? Or is there now the catch of "no BFBB membership, no cards". As far as I remember this was never the case, and why should be forced to belong to an organisation to participate in a national event which is sponsered an run by a completely serperate organisation (and other organisations for local competitions)?. We shall be runnign the newly-formed English Championship (Championship only) at the lowery center in Manchester on the 1st July 2006. Yes I know it's in the press, how does this benfit me? So essentially they want my band to cough up £65 for a load of stuff which I don't really need or isn't applicable to me. Whilst I can accept that they do run the registry and I'm sure theres plenty they do for top section bands (Europeans, English Champs etc), tbh they do very little for us lower section bands. They didn't help my band secure funding for it's trainging band, they don't help us promote our concerts or help promote bands in general in the area in which I live. So forgive me guys at BFBB if I get more than a little bit narky when I get what seems to be a "Final Demand!". Thoughts anyone? (oh and can someone let me know if you have to be a BFBB member to use the registry..).