Just heard the sad news that a top English band will not be representing my country at the forthcoming Eurppean, this following on from a similiar scenario for the "Worlds" and other elite bands in England. While I understand that the cost of attending these events are substantial, surely some of the costs could be offset by the players themselves, as happens more often with European Bandspeople who seem to realise that they are "amateurs" and seem more prepared to dip into their own pockets for the honour of representing their Country. It would appear that the age of big sponsorship in English banding is coming to an end,perhaps the current mindset of some top players needs to change or Europe and indeed the World will leave us behind. Ian Heard. P.S. This is`nt a dig at any one band, merely a response to recent events.