Contest Withdrawals

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by davethehorny, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    Watching with interest the line up of band for the forthcoming Wychavon Contest being reduced by withdrawals, I began to wonder what is the best way for organisers to minimize bands dropping out less than two weeks before the contest takes place.

    Wychavon problems are made worse by the pre-draw that takes place with bands being allocated a performance time a month before the contest. A band withdrawing then puts a gap in the timings or the organisers have to shuffle other band timings forward or backwards.

    As a contest organiser myself, I wondered what ideas fellow TMP'ers had to help us reduce the drop out rate.

    I can only think of charging a much higher entry fee, part of which would be refunded to bands that actually take to the stage for the contest e.g £150 entry fee but with £100 refunded at the draw.

    For me there is nothing worse than preparing for a contest, setting timings, printing programs and then the week before the contest taking a batch of phone calls or e-mails from bands secretaries saying that they won't be coming.

    Bands dropping out also reduce the takings on the door from band supporters, which in turn can place in doubt the financial viability of the contest itself. The money raised from supporters of bands paying to watch is often more than the entry fee bands pay to compete. Assuming every band brings 10 supporters who pay £5 each to watch, five bands dropping out could cost the organisers £250 and suddenly the contest may struggle to break even or even lose money.

    Also the audience that is paying to watch the proceedings may have seen the advertised line up but not know that some bands that they have come to watch have withdrawn.

    Any ideas/suggestions will be very welcome.
  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    The trouble is, increasing the entry fee will probably just discourage bands from entering at all - even if some of it forms a returnable deposit of some description.

    Its a difficult one - I've experienced the inconvenience and confusion first hand that withdrawing bands can cause with pre-draws, as I'm sure a lot of people here have. Its especially galling if the reasons for the withdrawal are - shall we say - less than life or death.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    How about raising the entry fee a little for everyone, then offering a discount the next year to bands that actually played the previous year?

    Or raising the entry fee for bands that have withdrawn from your contest previously? An insurance policy.
  4. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    not many bands withdraw from good contests
  5. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    But a fair amount of what makes a good contest is what bands are there, and so you get this domino effect - when one good band withdraws, others tend to follow [not necessarily implying that this is what's happened with Wychavon], and that's the effect the contest organiser wants to provide incentives to mitigate.
  6. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Areas? Wychavon?, Butlins? ....

    (The Area is pretty essential to get your grading - the other two have prize pots in the 000's. I could list more if I had the time or inclination....)

    ...all have had withdrawals in the last 12 months. Are you suggesting none of the above are 'good' contests?
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  7. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    I think that Flowers (from their press release on 4br) had a good reason, Whychavon hardly compares the Albert hall, and having lost 1/3 of their back row, I think they've done the right thing!
  8. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    No criticism intended of any band in particular - especially one of my former bands - just the question how can we minimize withdrawals happening.

    I do appreciate that most bands do have valid reasons for withdrawing but when it happens less than two weeks before the contest it can be really frustrating for contest organisers.

    On a personal note - once I have played in the 4th section next Sunday, I had intended to buy tickets to watch the Championship Section. With Flowers having withdrawn (a band I really wanted to watch) and rumours (as yet unconfirmed) about Tredegar possibly pulling out, I will think twice before shelling out for the tickets.

    If other people think the say way the Championship Section may well play to a much smaller audience and the financial viability of th contest may be called into question.
  9. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I think that penalising bands for withdrawing is a bit harsh...most bands wouldn't enter then withdraw from a contest without a very good reason....maybe they could just lose their deposit....or if another band enters in their place, no penalty at all, because the contest hasn't actually lost out.

    This used to be the case at Pontins contest....if you withdrew, you lost your entry fee, but if another band entered in your place, then you lost nothing.
  10. How about the reverse problem. I declined to play at the Open this year because the band I conduct had a march contest..............which was cancelled!
  11. Ali

    Ali Member

    Major bummer!!!!
  12. tubaminstrel

    tubaminstrel Member

    I'm not sure there's a definitive answer to this problem. I guess every band that withdraws from a contest needs to make sure that they have good reasons to preserve their credibility with the public.

    I notice that alot of bands seem to have recognised the value of a good PR man at these times.

    Tredegar withdrawing? I would be a big step for the new Open Champions to let a contest down like that so I think (and hope) it's just rumour
  13. tubalation

    tubalation Member

    I'm pretty certain the Leicestershire Association used to request two cheques - an entry fee plus a second 'security deposit' which was returned to the band at the draw (and presumably banked if not!).

    I'm sure that the vast majority of bands generally have good reasons to withdraw from contests, but I agree that it can make some contests financially unstable if there are late withdrawals. I think therefore, to ensure the long term future of contesting, bands should be prepared to make an additional contribution to balancing the costs of a contest if they withdraw, although there probably can / could be some flexibility to return 'security deposits' if there's sufficient notice to invite bands from a waiting list.
  14. Horn_goblin

    Horn_goblin New Member

    Yup, just a rumour, we're definately going to support this contest as we have done in recent years, I believe now they're down to only 4 bands in the top section, a real shame
  15. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    That's good news, but are you saying that another TWO bands have withdrawn in additional to Flowers? Any idea who?
  16. Horn_goblin

    Horn_goblin New Member

    I don't know i'm afraid, i was just advised that there were only 4 bands in the Champ section

    I'm told Pemberton are going and BTM for definate
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  17. Tredegarboy

    Tredegarboy Member

    The organizers confirmed there are five bands now with Flowers and Bedford having pulled out.

    Going to be a good contest in a great venue......see u all there
  18. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    Thanks for that