Contesting Venues

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DublinBass, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    After chatting with Dinie a bit about her experiences at the Midlands Areas I was wondering what you all thought about various contesting venues (as a player and audience member).

    I liked Harrogate alot as an audience member. It was easy to get in, get a nice view, easy access to trade stands etc... There were pubs and restaurants rather close within walking distance and it is a lovely town. I heard the bands didn't like playing there, but I think a shell would remedy that.

    Symphony Hall is fantastic!! I like playing on the stage, I like watching from the audience. The trade stands are easily accessible. There are many good restaurants and pubs within a short walk (and there is even the cafe inside)

    RAH is good,mostly because of its history. A fantastic building to watch in. Sometimes a bit tricky finding the trade stands. There really aren't that many restaurants or pubs nearby (even the Queens is a bit of a hike).

    St. Georges was a good venue to watch in if you weren'ton the lowest level. I found it a bit crowded by the trade stands, waiting in the que to get it and in the tiny pub. There were quite a few other places nearby I guess I could go for food or a beverage, but I couldn't be bothered.

    Winter Gardens in Blackpool seems exciting! I didn't get much of chance to hang out there (will do more at the spring festival). But the Opera House was very nice (as an audience member), the Spanish House was okay. I didn't actually eat there, so I don't know how that was. The pub was quite crowded (I only went to the one in the Winter Gardens). I was very disappointed in the service in the back pub (the larger one).

    Anybody else have anything to share...Is there a venue you wish your areas was at (and you'd even be willing to spend a bit more to have it there - either in tickets or entry fees)
  2. Souter

    Souter Member


    Our first time playing in the Caird Hall on Saturday and although we had been warned that it was going to have a sound that we had never experienced before it completely took us by surprise. You could not hear anyone else when you were playing, exceedingly warm and I was amazed at how quickly my mouth dried up. That said when I listened to a few of the bands it did sound good from the audience perspective.
  3. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Open sarcastic mode

    My all time favourite is the concert hall at Stevenage, AKA, the gym

    Close sarcastic mode

    In all seriousness the best venue for the L&SC areas was the Towngate theatre in Basildon. Not only was the theatre a decent acoustic, with everything being heard on the stage, and in the auditorium, there was a soundproof warm up facility, that was available to every band in the contest. Unfortunately the parent company of the theatre went into liquidation and it has not been used as a theatre since 1998. What a pity.

    RAH is a very different beast. I have sat in the Gods, and in the choir behind the competing bands. In the arena, and stage left in the stalls. Doesn't matter where you are you can hear everything as the acoustic are set up and changed to suit the style of ensemble. Playing and singing there are a completely different kettel of fish. You do feel like you are playing a solo without any accompianment. I have actually sung there standing right at the back of the choir seats, about 100 feet away from the conductor on the podium. Can you sing any louder basses? Luckily the acoustics weren't that good, that the reply didn't quite reach the conductors ears LOL

    My only gripe about Harrogate is that L&SC bands, are always the last to qualify, and therefore get the loveliest hotels for the natioal lower section finals. Last year we were almost in Leeds and my brothers band's hotel was closer to Manchester, or so he would have me believe.
  4. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Well the Riviera Centre in Torquay leaves a lot to be desired! Probably OK if you are in the top sections, but us poor lower section bands have to put up with an awful sports hall to play in. When the Adjudicator says he could only clearly hear the cornets and trombones, it makes me wonder why I bothered with all that practice. I shall take a lot of persuading to bother going there again!
  5. postie

    postie Member

    The Town Hall in Burton is fine as a venue for the contest itself. But unfortunatly the facilities leave a lot to be desired no bar, and even worse yesterday no trade stands at all. I can understand the MRC problems with cost and so forth. But I would have thought that Trade Stands would be their even if it is only the 4th section.
  6. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

    Couldn't agree more.

    This is the first year that I can remember L&SC being the last, but that makes the point about "availability" of hotels nearby even more pertinent.

    Is there any reason why the MRCs could not aim to have their regional competitions on the same weekend? OK, it might take a few years to organise, but it would equalize the amount of time available for each band to practice, and give any humble or sursprise(d) qualifiers an equal cahnce of getting a half decent location for their hotel.

    Manchester is nowhere near where we stayed, mind. We were just outside Whitby. :rolleyes:
  7. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Did they have trade stands at the other sections then and decide that 4th section players wouldn't buy anything? Sooner they move from Burton the better. No pub on site, what's that about?
  8. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Full agreement with that. The acoustic in there is OK, it's much, much better than the old East Midlands Conference Centre, which was just plain awful. But the facilities are non-existant - I had to queue for the toilet for nearly the whole of the preceeding performance after registering - not good. If you don't want to listen or drink in the pub round the corner there is nothing to do there, especially with the lack of trade stands.
  9. mr b

    mr b Member

    No trade stands at the second section :(
  10. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, our treasurer was really pleased about that...;) :D
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  11. Brasstrom

    Brasstrom New Member

    Its a nice idea having them all on the same weekend
    but how many conductors have conducted more than one band ?
    and how many are also adjudicators ?
    we might find they are spread too thin!

    also audiences may decrease even further if you cant go to other areas to listen
  12. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Although I previously spoke against the lateness of the area, it does allow an extra three weeks of rehearsals when you take the date of the NofE regionals into account.

    Still it would be nice to qualify and have a choice of relatively close hotels to the International centre, or alternatively, we'll just have to get into the champ section and get through to the RAH for a home fixture [​IMG]
  13. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    The Brangwyn Hall...difficult to get to backstage area ( really small staircase ) , warm up area seems to be the foyer of the swansea guildhall..
    bar was very quiet yesterday and saturday , low audience figures. catering is ok but nothing stands were closed when we got to the hall yesterday afternoon , not the easiest place to get to swansea , just under 5 hours in the car on the way home. quite a lively acoustic ( like the PJ Hall in Bangor ) ,Really hot on stage ( but all bands have to deal with that) when Wales has so many great venues ( New Millenium Centre , St Davids Hall ,Aberystwyth , William Aston Wrexham , PJ Hall Bangor , Theatre Clwyd Mold , Theatre Hafarn Newtown ) it makes you wonder why the Brangwyn is still used.
  14. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    I'd like to see a contest at Huddersfield Town Hall, ive done many concerts there... Its always a sell out... When the halls full its great...
  15. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    Colston Hall, Bristol had a very nice accoustic and I seem to remember lots of room + close pubs - shame its long gone.

    Watford Town hall wasn't wonderful - only good thing was that the carpark barrier opened if you walked across the sensor with a tuba case :)

    Not that impressed by Stevenage: when we got there last year the trade stalls were all packing up - and that was at the start of the Championship section....

    There IS a decent bar right next to Berts Barn - you just have to be a member of Imperial College Union to use it (that Life Membership was worthwhile!). HOWEVER, I do think having all the finals in the same place on the same day is good as it means that people can go and listen to all the sections - particularly if you've had to travel to get there (which you used to be able to do when it was in London - Fulham Town Hall, Chelsea TH, Imperial, RAH - and wasn't there another venue?)

  16. Di

    Di Active Member

    As Pat said, I've been discussing the facilities or lack thereof in the Midlands area. When you've had your say in this thread, perhaps you'd care to have a look at my poll and questionnaire? :biggrin:

    Midlands Poll/questionnaire.
  17. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I haven't seen this shameless of a plug since HBB and the 24 months live awards ;)
  18. Di

    Di Active Member

    Well you pinched my thread idea! :tongue::rolleyes::biggrin:
  19. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    The Ballroom at the Winter Gardens is a great hall to play in. The Spanish Room however isn't. The audience are practically sat on your knee!

    Caird Hall in Dundee is great. When we played there in 2003, there was a warm up room provided which is a great help. The acoustics were fab!

    Harrogate ICC was ok. Everyone was saying it was awful & you felt like you were on your own. Wasn't that bad at all. The warm up area was a bit strange though. There you were sat in the corner of a large room whilst there was a band registering, 1 having their pictures done & another just coming in etc!
  20. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Which is which?
    You do mean the one in Blackpool dont you?

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