Can one even attempt to describe Pontins?

Discussion in 'Articles and Interviews' started by DublinBass, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    near Dublin
    Can one even attempt to describe Pontins? While at a relatively young 30 years old, Pontins already appears to be a British Banding Institution. Halloween weekend in Prestatyn was certainly quite a memorable weekend for me and definitely worth sharing with my old bandsmen back in the States. However, in the States, Pontins is a quite a mystery. In fact, until moving to England I had heard about the Areas, the Open, Nationals and Whit Friday, but never about Pontins. On the other hand, here in the UK and on, I found there to be much hype leading up to Pontins, but was there much truth to it? The easiest way for me to share my analysis of Pontins is through a simple game of Fact or Fiction.

    1. FACT or FICTION: The weather is always horrible!! There are gale winds that tear the roofs off of buildings and it downpours constantly, so everybody gets drenched. FICTION . The weather is not always horrible. This year, in fact, the weather was quite lovely. I even saw a few beautiful sunrises over the picturesque mountains (and not because I got up early to watch them ;) ) Even if it had rained, between the beer tent, the Queen Vic and the Lunars bar, it seemed very few band members left the covered areas.

    2. FACT or FICTION: The chalets are the ultimate in ming. FICTION. They are, to put it simply…quite basic. It can be awful to have your electricity card run out when you are in your chalet taking a shower (leaving you cold and in the dark). And I must admit, I did, refuse to walk barefoot in our chalet. However, they kept the wind out, the beds were comfortable, and other than the aforementioned floors, they were actually quite clean. The flats in Prestatyn actually seemed quite posh compared to our own flat in Watford.

    3. FACT or FICTION: Pontins is all about the drink. FICTION (barely). It wasn't 100% about the drink. I admit, my diet for the weekend was approximately 80% alcohol (about 2000 kcal a day in beer and only 500 kcal in actual food). Also, I did clock Sundays drinking to last approximately 15 hours straight for one of my fellow band members and myself. However, there was actually a quite good competition and a lot of socializing.

    4. FACT or FICTION: Rooming lists are subject to change. FACT . In the two chalets for six we had reserved, I think we had the variable attendance counts of 6 and 6 Friday (quite normal), 4 and 8 on Saturday (lost one person to a neighboring chalet and gave another friend a floor to sleep on) and finally 5 & 4 on Sunday (A few apparently found some others to share a bed with?)

    5. FACT or FICTION: Pontins is a fantastic opportunity to meet tMPers. FACT!!! There were so many tMPers at Pontins that I can't remember all their names (or else it was due to the side effects number 3 above). The tMP band was a fantastic experience. I was able to put faces to many of the names I knew and find out that tMPers are just as kind, friendly and have just as good a sense of humor in person as they do on-line.

    6. FACT or FICTION: Karaoke and Alcohol do not mix. ????? Depends on your perspective and whom you know. I would say it is a bad idea for myself, as I wish some hadn't seen my antics (and I’m sure some of the pictures will be circulating soon ending any chance I had for a political career). On the other hand, I would say yes for others as I was treated to some of the funniest sights and sounds I had ever seen!!

    7. FACT or FICTION: Pontins is the greatest Brass Banding Event in the World. To Be Determined. It is definitely better than any banding event I have been to in the States. Some might argue the Open or Nationals are better because they have the best bands. However, some of the finest bands and finest players I have heard can also be found at Pontins. While the Queens Arms and Goat Tavern (In London) as well as the Sports Club and Jurys Inn bar (in Birmingham ) may have been wonderful social venues, it cannot top the 100+ bands at Pontins. That being said, my banding year is still young and I want to reserve judgment until after Butlins and Whit Friday. So what do I write to my friends back in the States? Book your chalet now, sign up for and the next year's Pontin's tMP band, practice drinking now and be prepared for one of life's most memorable events and the banding experience of a lifetime!!

    Pat Herak
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