Cost-benefit of contests

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by joseuph, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. joseuph

    joseuph New Member

    Hi all,
    I've been pondering the benefits of contesting, as it seems integral to our movement.
    Of the contests I've been to, I've always been overwhelmed with the quality of the musicianship, but when it comes to announcing the prizes, their value just doesn't ever seem to reflect the level of skill and effort of the bands. For example, one contest I went to (admittedly only 4th section) the first prize was a palty £150. To be honest, I don't think it even covered the petrol to get the band to the venue!

    Any views?
  2. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    I'm sure this is true to some extent even for the bigs boys! More money, but higher costs and outlay for players etc.

    Check out this article if you haven't already seen it:

    I am surprised by the differences from contest to contest. The area 1st prize wouldn't even cover the coach in most cases yet you go to Pontins for example and it's £1'500 (or more) for 1st place.:confused:
  3. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Depends on how you view it, looking at the prize money league table on 4BR, none of the figures quoted there are any where near enough to cover the running costs of those bands, and I'm sure the same can be said of everybody else's prizewinnings this year. However the marketing power that the title gives is altogether different when pricing for jobs throughout the year, and may lead to extra revenue off the back of a win, rather than just the prize money.

    So, to sum up, if bands only contested and have no other means of income, they wouldn't last long.
  4. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    South Wales
    Correct. Unless they have got a HUGE sponorship
  5. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    One of the reasons my band have not contested much over the last few years is because of the cost of getting the band to a contest. We have had to limit ourselves to the Area, Nationals (when we were successful at the area ;) ) and previously Pontins. We could not enter Pontins this year as we have always had a long standing, annual engagement on the first Sunday in November. At the time, we could not afford to turn this engagement down to enter a contest that would probably cost us a lot of money to attend.

    I also have to say that if you're lucky enough to obtain some sponsorship, which we have this year, it does take the financial pressure of attending contests away to some degree. And for me, attending contests is not wholly about winning. It is the atmosphere, the preparation, the social aspect and lots more. Of course, to win is always the icing on the cake. :biggrin:
  6. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I think you can (or maybe you should) pretty much write off the prize money for almost any contest - even if you win its unlikely that the money is going to cover the real expenses of getting your band there. There are a couple of exceptions of course - Wychavon being one and Butlins is fairly good money too. Although if you start to look at the day entry fees and accomodation costs of Butlins then that prize would soon get swallowed up.

    I guess its hard for the organisers to raise the money for decent prizes. Think about it, if you were a business would you put money into an event which lasts all day and has no interest to anyone else but the limited number of people who are directly involved through competing in it? Thought not. :)

    So go by all means, and use it as an investment to improve yourselves as a band, just like spending money on a pro MD, or individual lessons. And while your there, have a drink or two, get to know some people, even listen to some of your competitors, and you'll have a great time!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2006
  7. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    West Boldon
    Can you really put a cost-benefit analsis on this. Fair enough, you practice a testpiece for 6 weeks, perform once and if it goes well you win some money. What about considering that 25-30 people spend a year earning the money to attend 4 contests a year (for example), they spend this time enjoying the music they play, they improve the sound and ability of the band for doing so (in my opinion) and on they day of the contest they have a jolly good day out. OK, you may get the nerves (I'm up there with the worst of them for nerves), but it is a completely enjoyable experience, if you get placed or even win there is a feeling to be had that is fantastic, but when a group of friends go out and enjoy themselves in this fashion there can be no greater reward
  8. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Very eloquently put. Couldn't have said it better myself.
  9. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    I would be surprised if any band entered contests to make money. ! pay to travel/ stay over at all the contests I go to. As has already been mentioned, the amount you may win will not completely set off the costs.

    I don't even see how you can budget for income from contests. That wold be highly presumptuous and would likely end in financial difficulties.

    I expect many bands would decide to enter a certain number of contests each year taking into account the costs to the band and individual players (and families), how this would affect the possibility of raising funds from concerts, venues, test pieces etc. Prize money is a bonus and something which may persuade a band to enter one contest instead of another.

    I think the real reason for contesting is the sport element i.e. claiming a title, improving yourself against other bands (a crude marker as it were) and enjoying a bit of one upmanship and banter! If lucky enough to get some prize money, that assists the cashflow.

  10. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    South Wales
    Yes I agree with this comment. Espescially when the local contests in Wales you get £180 for 1st prize!
  11. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I think the reason we contest is pure and simply a way of testing our abilities and the chance to play more audacious music. Prize money rarely comes close to covering the cost of a contest particularly if it is a nationally based contest, with transport, hotel bills, and for the bigger name bands the cost of the conductor outweighing anything but the biggest paying contest. Having played in the top section at contests around the country there is no way any band could make a profit from contests. We do it for the thrill.
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I think it also depends on your expectations when you attend to play in any competition. Everybody would like to be a prizewinner but reality dictates that most make up the numbers. The occasion is great to test players' nerves and if things come off then brilliant. For me, contesting is about bringing bandspeople together in one venue to hopefully meet up and chat about banding in a social context. Notes can be compared on performances heard on the day and how they will fare with judges as well as their peers. It's getting more difficult to stage a full band nowadays because of rising costs and player availability. It has been said before that prize money is becoming meaningless but pride is still maintained throughout, as everybody is giving full effort on stage after all the hard work done in preparation.
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