Butlins update

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by GER, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. GER

    GER Active Member

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    203
    Just seen they've released the competing bands for Butlins. 1st section numbers are well down, 16 bands this year against 23 bands last year (initially 25 but two withdrew), and 24 in 2017. All other sections are down but only by one or two, except fourth which has increased by one. Wonder what's caused the lack of interest in the first section bands?
     
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

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    1,990
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    IMHO, both the pieces are very difficult for most first section bands to perform convincingly... Perhaps this put a few off, or maybe they just didn't appeal (would be a shame if so, IMHO)
     
  3. GER

    GER Active Member

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    203
    How times change, played Force of Destiny (and won) It was the second section CISWO final piece in the mid 70's. the band I played with then were 2nd section for CISWO and third section nationally.
     
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  4. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

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    Location:
    Dereham, Norfolk
    I wonder if many bands have got fed up of oversized sections and decided to give it a miss? Also whether many of the bands are fighting relegation/pushing for promotion at the areas and have put their eggs in 1 basket?

    The testpiece choices may have had an effect - although the numbers have declined steadily for 2 or 3 years now, especially in this section. I also wonder whether the fact the contest keeps edging forward - its only a few years ago it was the 3rd week in Jan - has had a bearing
     
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  5. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

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    Euphonium lite brings up an interesting point with regards to forward thinking (areas) as that's another piece that will really sort the wheat from the chaff (and the underestimaters ;) )
     
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  6. GER

    GER Active Member

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    203
    I don't disagree with what you are saying, but don't you think this will happen every year, irrespective of the test piece? It does run close, our areas are 1st weekend in march so only give us 7 weeks to get test piece up to scratch. I wonder if prize money has anything to do with it-seems a bit strange that prize money is same for 1st section as it is for fourth, and championship section prize money is so much greater than any of the others.
     
  7. Christopher Batty

    Christopher Batty New Member

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    1
    Do you not think the cost of going to butlins may have something to do with it. It gets more expensive every year to attend butlins and only the bands that win get anything back.
     
  8. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

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    1,394
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    Chigley
    I don’t follow this thread particularly but wondered if you might clarify something for me, please. Does it cost the same to enter any section or are some more expensive than others, how is the entry cost worked out. In the unlikely event that I ever went to Butlins to Contest then I’d be pretty upset if the entry fees were the same but some other sections got noticeably greater prize money than mine. Of course tastes vary and some folk might get added value from listening to higher section Bands so, within reason there’s some case for them receiving higher prize money but only if all the sections are of similar size.

    If I contested I’d be focussed on winning ‘cause it’s a lot of hassle to go through if you’re not going to get some cash back. However my single mindedness is probably misplaced, isn’t Butlins an event in which Bandsmen (and women) meet for pleasure first and then to contest second?
     
  9. GER

    GER Active Member

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    203
    Sorry don't know, but would imagine the entry is the same no matter what section
    Personally I have always found contesting to be business first, and pleasure afterwards, however there is a camaraderie in banding, for example, due to a player being unable to attend I have been asked, this weekend, to play for another band in the same section, I asked my band if this was OK and there was no problem. Makes it a busy week for me, but just glad to help out.
     
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  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

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    6,571
    Location:
    Oxford
    I think you capture all the relevant points here - the usual huge numbers in the first section (often more than 20, sometimes as many as 26) inevitably make for something of a results lottery, which, while it can't be taken to heart, isn't very encouraging either. It's a victim of its own success in this sense. One attends the lower sections at Butlins in the knowledge that getting the band out on the contesting stage so early in the year can only be good for its form, whatever the result or how deserved it feels. They don't seem to have discouraged entries in the past, but perhaps it is working in combination with other factors.

    "So early in the year" is perhaps a more relevant point than people think. In 2010, the Butlins Saturday was the 23rd of January. Annual weekday dates drift earlier by one (usually) or two (leap) days per year, and so every few years they need to be put a week later in order to preserve their place in the calendar - the usual method is to advertise events as "the <x>th weekend in <y> month". Whatever their reasons, Butlins have chosen not to do this, and the last 10 contests have each been earlier than the one before, to the point where the Butlins Saturday is this year the 13th of January, a full week and a half earlier than it was in 2010.
    It's fallen on the following weekends in that period:
    2010-2011: 4th weekend in January
    2012-2016: 3rd weekend in January
    2017-present: 2nd weekend in January

    So this year is the third occasion that bands have looked at the schedule and seen what amounts to an available one week of rehearsal in the New Year to prepare their piece, and perhaps they are losing their relish for the 0-60 aspect of the challenge. Now bands can devote time to it before Xmas - but that isn't ideal, is it? It's the busiest season for most bands, and anyhow things get forgotten over the break - how to play, in some cases! The timing certainly makes me think twice about the wisdom of advising a band to attend. I wonder how much earlier they intend to push it, and why they're doing so?

    Why is probably the easiest to answer - though the brass band weekend is big news to us, they have other weekends that they wish to favour more - presumably because they make more money on them. This year the brass band weekend is followed by the
    Butlins Rock & Blues Fest, 19th-22nd Jan, and then by the Soul Weekender, 25th-29th Jan.

    I just rang their reception to check their calendar, and I learn a) that the brass band weekend is the first of the year, and b) that it's always been the first weekend of the year - at least in the 6-year memory of the woman I spoke to, the friendly and helpful Pam.

    So it seems obvious that they're using the captive audience of the brass band weekend to open up extra weekends to revenue by simply letting it drift to an inconveniently early date in January - they established an audience for it at a more friendly date. I guess they'll let it drift as early as they can before attendances drop further than they're willing to countenance - which might be quite a long way if the weekends that have replaced it later in January are doing well financially. I wouldn't bet against seeing it scheduled on the 1st weekend in January by 2024.
     
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  11. GER

    GER Active Member

    Messages:
    203
    When we were there last year, after the weekend Butlins was closing, just opening for the 'weekend specials' until March . It may well be just a commercial decision, closing as soon as the xmas new year period is over, and kids are back at school. It wouldn't suprise me if the Butlins weekend becomes the 2nd weekend in January on a permanent basis- dont think it will be the first as generally kids are still on holiday. It's an easy sell-compete here and still have time to prepare for the area's, and let's be honest, whilst xmas is a busy period it's not heavy on rehearsal time, whether there would be a fall off in numbers staying for the weekend due to cost so soon after xmas is probably their only concern.
     
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