English Nationals - Why.....

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Bones, May 27, 2010.

  1. Bones

    Bones Member

    I see now the total of withdrawn bands has risen to 9 bands, leaving a field of of only 11 bands.

    Is now given the number of withdrawals, the validity of this contest be considered. Can there be a better route into Europe, without placing the burden of the costs of additional contest on already strapped for cash bands.

    I maintain, and this is a personal belief that the highest placed band at the National Finals be the representatives for Europe, this could be the same for Scotland and Wales also.

    I know there will be some strong feelings either way about this, but when you look at some of the press releases from withdrawn bands, the comments range from, "low on priorities" to "not enough money" surely this is an indication that the contest is not help in high regard.

    I look forward to the debate.
  2. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    But is the true problem that the English Nationals are not held in high regard, or that the Europeans themselves aren't held in high enough regard to justify spending the thousands of pounds that bands believe are required in order to compete?
  3. Martin

    Martin Member

    I can't help but agree with this.

    The 20 bands in the finals are supposed to be those selected to be the top bands in their respective regions (I hear the stones flying my way already!!!!!) which means that the winner can take the label of best band nationally.

    I know I've probably dug myself a Bl**dy big hole here but, the National Championships are held in such high regard, it seems silly to be running other contests when the Champion Band of Great Britain could be offered the opportunity of representing our country in Europe. IMHO.

    I've got my coat, I'll go now!! :)
  4. Metoo

    Metoo Member

    To be honest I feel that this so called English Nationals Contest is a joke and should never have been given an opportunity to even start up a few years ago. It is and always has been the BFBB's big effort to attempt gain some sort of authorititive lead and to place itself in direct competition with Kapital Promotions. It holds no significant place in the Contesting calender and is the 'easy' way (you only need to look at the entry list) for a top band to get into the European Championships without winning a 'BIG' contest. And that is only because the BFBB are a part of the governing body of the Europeans.

    I personnally have no time for the BFBB and will always remember that when it come to having a governing body, it was the National Contesting Committee who were the voice of brass bands and not a group of individuals who under the banner of the British Federation of Brass Bands request money from bands to become members of a Federation which hold absolutely no authority whatsoever. The sooner that a National Committee made up of members of recognised Associations as suggested by the Chairman of ABBA in his Chairmans Report the better for all.
  5. HornPlayerMK

    HornPlayerMK Member

    The only thing is that we send three bands to Europe, representing England, Wales and Scotland. Therefore you would have to take the top band from each respective country, even if they finish way down the pecking order.
  6. Martin

    Martin Member

    Can't argue with that as we are supposed to be a United Kingdom.!!!! :cool:
  7. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    I think Wales and Scotland already have a perfectly good way of deciding their representatives that works for them... it's just the English that seem to have an issue! Regardless of how it's decided, the reality is hardly any bands could afford to go to the European anyway!
  8. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Speaking to a few mates that are members of bands that have withdrawn I think Chris's point here seems to have some truth to it - their view ( and they were speaking very much as individuals I hasten to add , not in any representative capacity for the bands concerned ) was that the English Nationals per se as a contest was not the issue . although the timing of it perhaps is , but a real fear ( realistic or not as that may be ) of actually winning and then having to face a trip to the continent.

    I don't particularly want to re-open the can of worms about the funding mechanisms of our top bands here , but when you consider that , if memory recalls corectly a band as successful as Cory were considering pulling out of the Europeans a year or two back it does make you wonder how other bands would manage without considerable sacrifice and lots of effort ( not that I am implying for one minute that we'd not all be willing to put efforts in if we had the chance but its a whole different proposition from a weekend in Harrogate / London / Blackpool ) . Fair play to the members of Bon Accord this year who I believe all stumped up around £500 each to get to Linz even before the beer money !

    It will be interesting to see ( if the English Nationals continue to be viable in the coming few years ) whether there will be the numbers of withdrawals seen recently when the Europeans are held closer to home in Perth.

    As for other qualification routes in the event of the demise of the current route , I'd go with the option expressed above by a few others. Highest placed English band at the RAH qualifies.
  9. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    As far as the Europeans are concerned, the regard isn't the problem. It's the cost of getting there, especially as it's in Austria which isn't really do-able by coach (unlike say, Belgium). Northop were asked last year and would have had to raise at least £25k on top of the normal running costs of the band in order to go. Most bands I know of just about break even each year and would be delighted to go to the Euros but horrified at having to raise that much extra cash, even for the most prestigious contest.
  10. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    I don't think it's helped this year's contest with the fact that people are starting to experience how much of a s**t tip Preston is, in particular realising how absolutely s**t the piece is, and generally not bothering to turn up when either the bands realise they have no chance against Dyke/Fodens, or realising that coming 6th to a dubious decision isn't really worth it for bands like Leyland/Hepworth etc. Invite Dinnington i'd say!
  11. greenegiant2

    greenegiant2 New Member

    I agree..... highest finisher from England in the Nationals would work. Maybe this is the last year from Preston albeit a lovely place to go.
    Perhaps on the back of what transpired in Scotland there only are a few bands in England with the finances to make a full bloodied challenge anyway.
  12. tubaloopy

    tubaloopy Member

    Are we saying that the English Nationals is simply a qualification contest for the Europeans?
    The winners are INVITED to participate in the Europeans, not forced.
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Er, yeah, pretty much. I don't know of any band that really hankers after the title in the way they want the Open or the (GB) Nationals title, or even BiC. OK, there's a nice pot and a few grand in it, but most bands will have spent the potential prize money just getting there - coach, hotel, MD, deps, cost of the music, entry fee, registration fees, etc., etc.

    The main prize on offer is the Euro place, imho.
  14. tubaloopy

    tubaloopy Member

    Personally I would rather have the title of English National Champion than All England Masters International Champion.
  15. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Fair enough, and your band has already made the decision I believe. A lot depends on the potential competition, as well, I guess - in order to win the ENBBC you'll have to beat Dyke and Fodens, who aren't at the Masters.

    The Masters title carried more kudos when the majority of "big names" were in it. Would have made more sense to make that effectively the "English Championship" in 2005 rather than start a new contest (20/20 hindsight), but then entry to the Masters is effectively via invitation only rather than a recognised qualifying route so it might have been seen as "unfair".

    I guess my pecking order of importance/kudos would go Open, National, European, Grand Shield, Area, BiC, ENBBC, Masters, Butlins, Pontins, then the various local association contests, but I'm sure many will disagree. When rehearsal time and/or money are limited, it's a question of balancing potential reward and prestige against the time/money you have to put in with no guarantee of success.
  16. barrytone

    barrytone Member

    I personally don't think the venue or the contest is the problem, the Guild Hall is a great place to perform in my opinion, this year has seen an unprecedented amount of withdrawals and I believe this is down the the piece chosen. Apologies to the composer, I have played very difficult pieces before, last years piece being one, but I cannot find any music in this year's piece at all.

    I would not play this piece through choice and I believe that the severity of the technical demands made by the piece upon individuals within the band is unprecedented and the piece itself will need a huge amount of sectional and rehearsal time to get it anywhere near the standard required.
  17. Ali

    Ali Member

    Surely that's the point? If you want to be judged to be the best band in England to represent the country at the euros then you have to be playing blindingly difficult pieces. Are they not when chosen as open test pieces? And I dissagree about Eden. There's some great music to be made in it. Good choice I say!

  18. Couldn't agree more and IMHO I believe this is the main reason for so many bands withdrawing and has nothing to do with the financial costs or the bands being busy - they would have known this or at least had an idea when they accepted the invite.
  19. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    So Brighouse & Grimey withdrew/didn't enter because the piece was too hard?

    Are you 'aving a larf...

    Of course you've just paid a HUGE compliment to the likes of Skelmanthorpe, Fishburn et al (no dis to those bands, but you see my point)
  20. pemjo

    pemjo New Member

    Come on Paddy are you having a laugh now!!

    Your the betting man, what is your bet for why these four bands have pulled out in the last 24 hours??

    Grimethorpe/Brighouse withdrew or didn't accept the invitation many months ago due to other engagements/priorities fair enough!!

    To pull out with a month to go? Starting to have a look at the piece? What do you think? :rolleyes:

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