British To English Federation.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by IanHeard, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Although it`s just a name change, I am glad to see the federation proposing this change, it is important I guess when you are applying for arts funding that you do what it says on the tin!...or in this if you are only representing English bands, don`t call yourself the British Federation of Brass Bands.
  2. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Now all that's needed is for English bandsmen and bandswomen to join it, and we might just have an effective national body with a mandate to act on their behalf.
  3. 007ish

    007ish Member

    Had me fooled. I naively believed this was the beginnings of a much needed single unified body representing the interests of all British Brass Bands and it members. Pity… now just another association, federation, organisation to add to the mishmash that is already in place. Don’t get me wrong the idea of centralising funding information etc. is excellent and will be of great benefit and I wish it all the best over there in England. Unfortunately for the Brass Bands in Britain unification not devolution may be fundamental to its future survival :(

    To quote the original poster `Unity is Strength`
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm I appreciate the 'chicken and egg' scenario and not wanting to sound like a Monty Python sketch, but at present there is precious little reason for most bands to join the BFBB - sorry - EFBB, let alone individuals...

    OK, so the new title is probably more representative of their remit, but we desperately need a body to unify the various associations, promoters, bands, adjudicators, traders, players, conductors plus anyone else I've forgotten, for the greater good of the movement. What we don't need is another body / committee retreating into nationalistic parochialism, because that's the easy option.
  5. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    This is a much needed move in my opinion. The mish-mash you talk of only adversely effects English bands, the other nations seem to have things pretty much sorted.
    We in England seem to be suffering because our six regions lack a truly countrywide focus, as James quite rightly says its now up to us in England to make it work.
  6. 007ish

    007ish Member

  7. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Who in the past has done that?
  8. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I believe that is what's happening currently.

    IMHO the brass band movement needs a UK-wide unified body to pull together all interested parties and create policy to initially stem the current downward trend of people actually taking part in our hobby, and eventually increase the numbers of people actively involved.

    We need this right now, before its too late.

    What we are getting is ever more disparate, diverging bodies and the result is no focus, no direction and no progress.

    The lack of media attention for brass bands is our own fault:
    What do we do to attract media to us?
    Where do the media go if they want to use brass band music for something?

    The lazy, stereotyped image of brass bands in the media is our own fault:
    What are we (as a movement) doing to dispel the myth that we're all stuck in the late-Victorian era and have no relevance in modern society?

    I hasten to add that this is not just the BFBB's issue - more an issure for all of us to tackle, but without a central body, we're doing nothing more effective than ****ing in the wind.
  9. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I think that time has past WF.
    Thanks to wider devolution in the UK, arts funding as you know is separated to the individual countries of the UK now. It would be problematic imo to create policies and a unified approach when the 3 or 4 national bodies have may different ideas (and priorities!) and have different hurdles to jump to gain their own funding from their own arts bodies.
    I have thought for years that trying to solve what is obstensibly an English problem with the continuance or the creation of a new "British" banding model is doomed to failure, it seems the possible re-naming of the BFBB is an admission that a diiferent focus is needed.
  10. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    We have one already. It's called the British Federation of Brass Bands. The problem is that so many bands and individuals don't want to join it, most notably those in Scotland and Wales who regard themselves as separate nations. But in any case, bands aren't sentient beings. They don't have ideas and opinions - individuals do. And it is they - the individuals - who must take the initiative, show faith and become members. And for the BFBB's part, it needs urgently to open up the conditions of membership for individuals so that they can express their opinions directly and not leave it band representatives, or more remotely, local association representatives, to speak on their behalf.

    I repeat - bandsmen/women need to show faith - and put their hands in their pockets as well - if they want a national (NOT nationalistic) body to represent them democratically. Once that goal is achieved, then the debate can begin about what bands are for, and who they exist to serve. But that's another thread entirely.

    Over to you lot!
  11. 007ish

    007ish Member

    'To reflect these fundamental changes the BFBB Board of Trustees will recommend to the next Annual General Meeting to restructure as the English Federation of Brass Bands'

    It seems likely that BFBB will no longer exist, so what do we do then? Create yet another body?
  12. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Ah yes, of course. Too late. What a pity.
  13. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    In banding terms of course they are seperate nations. The biggest crime for me has been the years of total inertia from the six English regional commitees. Where we should have had a realisation on their part that English banding needed a single voice putting forward a plan (as with every other nation in Europe!) we`ve had nothing from them collectively, apart from them slavishly organising the Nationals for a private company.
  14. YRBBC

    YRBBC Member

    The mandate of the regional committees is purely to present what most would consider to be the most important contest in the diary of any band - the Regional Contest - the only opportunity to go forward and become a national champion of whatever section the band competes in.

    We run a contest - nothing more, nothing less and we do it as unpaid volunteers but what you should also remember is that most of these volunteers are from various associations throughout the country and work dammed hard for those associations. The association meetings is where our voices are heard and we make our contribution to banding in general.

    Do you go to your local association meeting - if not why not - or are you one of the many on this forum who are quick to criticise but do nothing to make things better ?

    The 'Summit Group' instigated by Stan Lippeatt, ABBA and the BFBB, and now involving many more representatives from all areas of our movement, are working hard to form a single voice for the good of our movement. Reports of the meeting last Saturday will soon be published. I understand it will be going out to associations for thoughts on matters raised - will you be there to give your association the benefit of your opinion ? or will you be like the majority - sit back and do nothing ?

    This is my own personal opinion and not representative of my regional committee and I will not enter in to any further comment on this matter.

  15. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Your idea of your "mandate" is not obviously shared by two of the regional commitees it seems, namely Scotland and Wales, they obviously looked at the bigger picture and realised that their mandate is slightly wider and the bands in their countries needed tending to. It`s a shame that the English regions together could not make the leap of faith required and make the rather logical step of talking to each other and perhaps organising themselves for the good of English banding, instead we have had this strange period of directionless parochialism where the English regions have done very little collectively to advance the cause of banding in this country, and in some cases have sniped at the one body (the BFBB) that was trying at least to give us some form of direction.
    History will not judge this generation of English banding administrators kindly, I suspect.
  16. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Just a small history lesson here. The Scottish Brass Band Association is the oldest national band association in the UK, having existed since the late 19th century. Quite some time before the regional contests. We do not now, and never have, viewed ourselves as a regional committee.

    Other than that I wholeheartedly agree with your argument re the amalgamation of the English Regional Committees.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    This is turning into an interesting debate, but I don't agree with your opinion Ian. Surely the best way to direct a movement (such as it is, but that's another subject) is to do it from the top - ie from a management position? As has been said the regional committees have plenty on their plate organising the regional contests - and given there is some - lets say - interpretation around the committees on the rules for that, its hardly likely that they'll pick up the phone and start some sort of banding revolution together.

    No I think the drive should come from above, so the BFBB or whatever abreviated organisation happens to be in charge on any given day. I still remember sitting in a committee meeting several years ago when the BFBB was first launched and the band's subscription went up from something ridiculous like a fiver a year to something much more realistic like fifty quid (sorry can't remember the actual figures, but they were in that order of magnitude). But personally speaking - and I know James and I fundementally disagree on this - I feel the BFBB has concered itself with far too many of the small matters and neglected the big picture. The national picture or even the international picture if you like. I feel if they'd looked there and worked on the big things many of the smaller stuff that they have done would drop into place as a result.

    Interesting that the 'summit group' has been mentioned. In principle its a Very Good Thing Indeed, but I fear that it'll end up as just another talking shop. Do they read this forum for instance? Are the rank and file invited? If not, why not? If they are, how come no-one here has been, or will admit to it?
  18. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Help me out here John..... having in recent years gained some experience of banding in other areas after being Scotland only for 25 years plus, is it really so wrong to consider us and Wales as having regional committees of the UK as a whole? After all, we qualify and attend Harrogate on similar terms to every other English regional contest (apart from our own promotion/relegation/depping rules being different, which I perhaps naively assumed were the same across the UK?). So why not have regional sub-commitees to look after local matters but one organisation to run the UK's banding as a whole so we all run on the same basic contesting rules? or am I being unpatriotic? :dunno
  19. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I'm an ardent nationalist so I'm probably somewhat biased on the subject. However, in purely practical terms I do not believe that a UK wide association with as wide ranging a remit as the SBBA would work. The biggest stumbling block, as has been mentioned previosuly in the thread, would be due to the political devolution of funding for the Arts. We could hardly expect the English Arts Council to fund Scottish or Welsh projects. We already have some examples of this such as the Lawn Tennis Association where England gets the lions share of funding and Scotland relatively little. In political terms Scotland has devolved further from the UK with the election of an SNP administration in Scotland. This position has been exacerbated with the election of a Tory led coalition to Westminster with very few votes from Scotland. It remains to be seen if Scottish disenfranchisement with Westminster converts itself to Nationalist votes at Holyrood. If it does then the SNP will push for even greater devolution with the knock on effects being felt on all levels of Scottish society including the important areas of sport and the arts. Against this backdrop I think it quite prudent of the BFBB to be taking such a brave decision on the name of the organisation. I think I am correct when I say that no Scottish bands are in membership of the BFBB and in fact in years gone by membership was actively discouraged.

    Having said that, the idea of a UK wide association whose remit was to run the National contest and be the guardian of a universal set of rules does have some merit and would be worth exploring. Some may argue that we have this already in Kapitol. However, I would prefer to see a democratically elected organisation representative of its membership, rather than a private company. I would also like to see much closer co-operation between the registries of the member nations. To this end I hope that the discussions of the working group chaired by Stan Lippeat bear some fruit and usher in a new era of co-operation and mutual respect between the home nations.

    As to the history of the current situation. I have mentioned previously how the SBBA has been in existence since the late 19th century, and running a Scottish Championship contest since 1895. The Nationals came along in 1948 (IIRC) and in fact the Scottish qualifying event did run separately from the Scottish Championships for many years. At some point the SBBA in conjunction with the Nationals organisers took the sensible decision to combine both contests such that the Scottish Champions would represent Scotland at London, and subsequently Harrogate. The BFBB came along much later and to me at least it seemed that it appointed itself as the only association for bands in the UK, with no regard given to the years of successful national organisation which had been going on in Scotland. Such a position immediately put them at odds with the SBBA and any dreams they may have nurtured of a British Federation were doomed without the support of Scotland.

    In closing may I say that England needs a central democratic representative body. The newly named EFBB is in pole position to be that body and I would urge all English bands to seriously consider membership. In Scotland a band must be a contesting member of the SBBA in order to compete at the Scottish Championships and that is one of the reasons we are so strong, because our National Association is supported by all of our bands. That is not the case in England. To change it would require agreement between Kapitol and EFBB. Only then would the EFBB become a truly strong representative body. These are exciting times for English bands. You have the opportunity to effect real change and to speak with one voice. Don't let it pass you by.
  20. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    The frustration for me at least, is that it could all be pretty much solved if the EFBB were to join forces with the six english regional commitees , with the EFBB acting as our governing body.
    Every contesting band in the country (and a lot of the non-contesting ones too) is under the umbrella of one local association or other, and all of these local associations are in turn under the umbrella of one of our six regions. How hard would it be as part of every bands local subscription to it`s local association to also include a levy payable to the EFBB?
    The democracy issue would immediate be solved as the each member band would have either one vote or if preferable perhaps have a vote locally to send a regional rep to a over-arching commitee at the EFBB.
    John in his very polite Scottish way is telling us that in Scotland at least a UK governing body is a non-starter, we need to take the hint I feel.

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