Numerous discussions have taken place for several months now and still BBE have not made a statement or given any direction into which direction bands should go. After several high level meetings Kevin Holdgate and myself have released the following statement in order to evaluate the support towards our suggestion. If anyone would care to reply to either one of us with letters of support from yourselves or your respective Band please send via email as listed at bottom of statement. We would also like to receive comments from BBE Members on your opinions of the problem STATEMENT. With the Regional Championships now completed time has now come to restart the debate with regards to the future direction of the brass band movement in England and the position of Brass Band England (BBE). What became very clear in the lengthy debate that took place at the start of this year with regards to Kapitol, the BBBR and the Regional competitions was that BBE was not fit for purpose with its current management structure. The chaotic meeting that took place in Barnsley was evidence enough that the management of BBE were more interested in making ‘unfounded’ and ‘unproven’ allegations against individuals not there to defend themselves, than they were in offering any semblance of a solution to the issues that were meant to be discussed. It was very apparent that committee members and management of BBE present on the day had their own agendas, which they were quite happy to pursue regardless of the purpose of the meeting. They had no answers to the fundamental questions being posed by the bandsmen and women there, nor could they offer any retort to the position put forward by Mr Morris of Kapitol. It became very clear during the course of the meeting at Barnsley that any concept of trust that we may have held in the supposed ‘custodians’ of the movement in England was misplaced. In our view, and that of many other people we spoke to at the meeting, and in the ensuing months that have passed that there is no place in the movement for the ongoing ‘power struggles’ and uncalled for ‘mud slinging’ from the officials of BBE who are charged with the development of brass bands in England. The concept of BBE as an organisation is a sound one. Anyone who believes that the brass band movement should be preserved, nurtured and developed in England will recognise that a well organised, co-ordinated approach through a parent body must be the best way ahead. However we are more than ever convinced that this task cannot be entrusted to the current management at BBE. BBE currently has a membership of 243 bands, associations and individuals. This represents less than 10% of the estimated number of brass bands in England, which could hardly be described as representative. By way of comparison the Scottish Brass Band Association boasts a 100% representation level, the Welsh Association is also close to 100%. Both of these associations are in full control of their own competitions, youth development structures, registry's and futures. Both of these associations have received substantial financial support from the Arts Council of Great Britain in recent times. What have BBE been doing in the mean time? From what we can see, lots of talk about Kapitol, lots of talk about how well they are operating the BBBR, but very little by way of visible action. The recent appointment of a new Development Officer with experience of education is perhaps a welcome move, particularly after meeting the previous post holder at the Barnsley meeting, however given the somewhat limited funding available for England currently we remain sceptical of what can be achieved in this role at the present time. What are the possible alternatives? First of all we must congratulate Mr Morris for bringing into sharp focus how totally ineffective BBE is, as a ‘parent’ body for the brass band movement in England. Robert Morgan and the executive members of BBE have failed to operate an effective organisation that can be trusted with the administration of the movement. The problems at BBBR are the subject of an industrial tribunal being held in July, and at this stage therefore should not and cannot be discussed here, however the result of the actions taken by the executive committee of BBE led directly to the formation of the new Brass Band Players Registry, controlled by Mr Morris. We have no confidence in the executive committee of BBE. We know that this is a view held by many other people within the movement and we believe that there are many more people in the movement who hold the same view. Now is time for everyone to step forward and voice that view. Nothing will change unless the executive committee of BBE is removed by a vote of no confidence. A number of meetings have taken place to discuss how best to proceed towards this goal and it is now proposed to hold a meeting at the Spring Festival Competition in Blackpool on 11th May. More details of the time and venue will be announced in the next few weeks. In the meantime if you wish to express your views on this matter we would be very happy to discuss this with all interested parties. It would also be advantageous if BBE Members would contact us with their point of view. Our email addresses are :- firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Kevin Holdgate & David W Ashworth.