I have just read 4barsrest's article about the lack of appreciable audiences for the major brass band contests claiming that the cause is due to repeated performances of test-pieces being no longer appropriate or relevant. Is this really what is to blame for crowd apathy? The major contests had always attracted droves of bandspeople to hear challengers for the top titles playing the same work against each other so a comparison can be made. There weren't many complaints then, so why now? So, what changes have occurred since these times? I can think of a couple ... much increased accomodation/travel costs and a change in banding social culture that makes these venues an attraction for meeting up with friends and drinks rather than performing and then listening to the competition. (This is not to say that everybody goes straight to the bar). Remember, contests have largely existed for the banding community and if the general public attended too, even better. Why this social change has happened is something I cannot answer but it has! The test-piece choice and contesting format is not going to please everbody and, in my opinion, cannot be blamed for this situation, sad as it has become. What are your reasons for the decline?