Contest audience numbers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alangiff3, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. alangiff3

    alangiff3 Member

    How can contest organisers start getting audience numbers up again? Or is it something we will never see in the modern society?

    After going along to spectate at the masters not too long ago I realised that the audience number even at its largest never went over about 80-100 spectators which is pretty poor considering the hall had 567 seats and 6 private boxes.

    I was just wondering what peoples thoughts were on maybe getting audiences filling at least 50% of the hall and maybe if there are contests out there that do attract big numbers, what are they doing to achieve this and would they be an example for others to follow.

    Lets see what peoples thoughts are :)
  2. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    I'm not in a position to advise the organisors but in their place I would first set about determining why so few people do attend, e.g. a survey of players in the area around the contest venue or ask for the impressions of people that were in the audience. I know a lot of players that rarely sit in to listen to other bands at a contest, let's ask them why (beer and a natter in the bar a more interesting and rewarding experience for many, possibly?). If they discover the motives for not attending and detect a common thread they can then think about how to rectify it (if possible).

    My own views are that there are just too many priorities competeing for Joe Public's time (and money) and the most attractive of those is what will get his attention. Back to the old favourite, how do we make brass banding more attractive to a largely disinterested public?
  3. reelbigtrombone

    reelbigtrombone New Member

    Heya Giffo :)

    I think it's more now where the bands that take part are the biggest numbers! Sure enough you'll get people watching who are naturally favourable of brass bands in the audience, but I am always happier playing in front of people who are waiting to see how one band did a certain part of that test piece or going to watch higher section bands to what the higher bands do.
    Plus unless it's a concert with a cause, it wont have much of a pull for Mr. Joe Bloggs of the general public.
  4. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Step back a moment and consider the same situation taken out of a brass band context. Would you go to a contest of 15 pop bands all playing a nine minute arrangement of lets say Lucy in the sky with diamonds. I wouldn't, although I quite like the beatles.
    You are never going to get Joe Public attending. The days of mass audiences went with the days of there being large numbers of bands. Nowadays only people closely involved in the brass band world would be interested - and I suspect it was true in the past too, only then there were far more people involved in the movement.
  5. MrsP

    MrsP New Member

    I agree with Bighorn. Although I enjoy playing I don't enjoy listening to the same piece over and over again. Plus the higher the section I normally find the worse it is to actually listen to. I know technically it might be brilliant but on occasion it can just be a load of noise, sorry don't mean to offend anyone but not all the top section pieces are that pleasant as a piece of music to my ears but then I am quite heathen and like to hear some sort of tune.

    Also I never listen to a band before I have played as if it is radically different it can make me quite nervous.
  6. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Alan as you know we have been to a few contests and sat and listened to ALL the bands but we are dedicated brass band people.
    When i play at a contest i dont listen to any other bands.
    If im not playing and see a contest to go and hear i do and now my girlfriend does as well she dont know all that much about brass bands but knows a good performance from a bad one and is amazed at some of the poor results that come out by certain adjudicators


    Brass Bands are like pubs,going downhill fast.Anyone who has been around brass bands for 30 or more years knows this is a fact.
  8. euphymike

    euphymike Member

    Lets face it Brass band contesting is never going to be a mainstream viewing spectacle! Like crown green bowls its a thing where the people involved are the main supporters and audience!
    With no blood letting and the drama of virtual tv I cant see even Channel 5 being interesting in a contest unless the stage collapses, the adjudicators tent falls over or the bar runs out of ale!
    most likely what you see nowadays is the best your going to get?
  9. bassendworld

    bassendworld Member

    I agree that Joe Public isn't going to be tempted, so the answwer lies within the movement.

    I number of people say '' they don't listen to other bands'' if they are playing or even if they are not and enjoy the attractions of the bar instead.

    Fair enough but no point complaining then if the contest struggles to survive.
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Enderby Jackson's 1860 'Great National Contest' at the Crystal Palace drew over 12,000 spectators (and entries from more than 115 bands).

    What's changed? Well, lots of things, obviously. Back then, the idea was new and fresh, and Jackson's dynamism produced a smash hit of a concept involving qualifying pools, massed band concerts en route and a final stage that was adjudicated by no fewer than 18 judges.

    Jackson was a monstrous egomaniac, but he was a showman who knew how to sell his concept to the audiences of the day, and made money from it too while giving away a decent prize pot.

    Perhaps this is what we are missing? We are all so willing to accept that contesting has had it in terms of audience appeal that we don't consider what could still be done with it by someone of this type.
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Jackson also arranged for free train journeys to London for all the competing bands...
  12. welsh_tenor

    welsh_tenor Member

    Hi all,

    I've been in banding for 15+ years and for me personally to listen at a contest depends on the test piece. I quite like attending the major contests when I've not been playing but the piece would dictate whether I can stay there all day. (Personal best was Harrison's Dream in Cambridge, first time I'd heard it and listened to about 20 of the 22 bands!)

    My other half is not a "band-o" by any stretch of the imagination but will normally listen to three or four bands to get a feel for how my band has played the piece. The location is important here as he won't listen to every band and if there's not many facilities or easy access to the local area then the contest is vetoed! He came to Yeovil and went to the shops while we rehearsed then listened to four bands and that was fine for him. He didn't come to the Masters in Kettering and I'm glad he didn't - one of the worst venues I've been to and wouldn't appeal to non-banders who just fancy listening to a few bands. Miles from nowhere with no real facilities, no public footfall to rely on either.

    I agree with what people have said, the days of old have gone but if we're to get people listening and supporting our movement again then we need to look at making it more appealing for the mass-market to attract people in.
  13. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    As others have said, we have been playing to ourselves for years at most contests.
    Rightly or wrongly, the whole contest experience is geared toward encouraging entries from the bands themselves and keeping them happy, usually by sticking to rather arcane practices like closed adjudication.
    It would be interesting for just one contest organiser to think out of the box and perhaps try and enhance the contest day experience for the average punter in the audience.
    Ideas off the top my head are, open adjudication, the band remaining on stage after the performance for 5 minutes and given immediate feedback and a placing (thus far obviously!) via the Hall public address system by the adjudicator of the day and via a compere the views of the conductor and perhaps even the odd player or two.
    There are obvious holes in those ideas, but if our hobby is going to be a musical prizefight, lets at least borrow some ideas from other 'sports' and make it interesting.