Festival Series ... gone?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cujo_134, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. cujo_134

    cujo_134 Member

    I have heard rumours going around that SP&S had decided to get rid of the Festival Series, and rather publish pieces individually. I was just on the Music Ministires Unit Web Page and under publishing news, it had nothing for Festival Series. Does anyone know any further info on this??? Is Festival Series really being terminated?
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  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    You are correct regarding the Festival Series. I believe the decision is in part due to the reduction in the number of bands of sufficient size and standard to tackle the more advanced pieces, and partly as an attempt to make such pieces more attractive to purchasers outside the current subscription scheme.

    Whilst I can understand the thinking behind it, where we are likely to lose out is in not having the opportunity to have a look at music which, although we may be unable to bring it up to performance standard, nevertheless gives us something challenging to work on.

    Having said that, it may be that some of items that may otherwise have been destined for the Festival Series could appear in the General Series instead. It is certainly good to have both Triumph and General Series printed as A4 pages.
  4. cujo_134

    cujo_134 Member

    Yes I was thinking the same. Our band usually looks at a few pieces a year to keep us humble, and it will be unfortunate to not have this. Also, it will be unfortunate that if some of these pieces come within the playing ability of the band in the future, they will not necessarily be in the library for them to use.
  5. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The whole focus of SA music publishing has shifted quite dramatically since the decision was made to open the library to "outside" bands. This is just another indication of how much it has changed.

    When SA bands could not use outside music, and outside bands could not use SA music, marketing was not really a consideration - pieces to be published were chosen based on their perceived utility in the Army setting (hence the name "Festival Series" - pieces intended for music festivals but not ordinary meetings). Now, marketing is an overriding consideration, because there are not enough SA bands to sustain the operation of the publishing house, and particularly not enough SA bands of the standard to play much that's published in the Festival Series (in the US, for example, there are probably only a dozen or so SA bands that could consistently handle Festival Series-level pieces). The series concept is an old one and a change is probably in order for the modern world of on-demand publishing.

    There's nothing to stop SP & S from still offering a "subscription" even though they are selling pieces individually (although it looks like they've chosen not to do so). The USA Southern Territory does this with the American Instrumental Ensemble Series - the pieces are individually packaged and sold, but it's possible to simply buy all of them as a subscription. Just like a magazine publisher - you can get copies at the news stand or you can get them delivered on a subscription. SP & S would be wise to consider such a model (if they haven't already). This could work for all of the journals, not just the Festival Series.
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    That's a good point: Hadleigh band at some time in the past ceased purchasing the Festival Series, which leaves quite a gap in the library, and we've quite often gone to get a piece out that our present BM would like to use only to find it's not there.
  7. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I've had the same issue with my corps band, where we stopped getting the Festival Series several years ago. Fortunately, I have easy access to the National Capital Band library, and I can usually borrow from them if necessary (not that I've got enough players to do FS or GS pieces at the moment).

    I wouldn't be entirely surprised if they go the same route with all of their publications within a few years.
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    We discussed this with Stephen Cobb at a workshop held as part of our Divisional Musicians' Councils a couple of years back: the subscription system is very good value, providing you are going to use a fair proportion of the works included. If, however, all you want are one or two major pieces then the pricing regime until now has been prohibitive, particularly if a band was just want one small piece on a four-page release. Let's hope they can find some way of getting the balance right so as to encourage the purchase and use of new music by SA bands, who are not always renowned for spending their hard-earned subs, as well as developing sales to other bands ;)
  9. Our band stopped getting Festival series a few years ago. The subscription has been a good deal but we already had loads of music which would never be opened again because of the difficulty.

    We've now resigned ourselves so a select folder and the Favourite marches and hymns settings book.

    Saw the ISB today and it gave me even more spurring on to go and grab some of the wilting festival series copies in our band cupboard. I agree the a4 printing is far far better. On the standard a5 kind of size they were printed in some of them are mighy hard to read.
  10. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The new size on the General and Triumph Series is much better also, although here in the US A4 is a bit maddening (difficult to get folders/binders/paper in that size over here, since we have to be different and use a slightly smaller standard size). I fail to understand why we can't seem to match the rest of the world in terms of weights and measures.
  11. cujo_134

    cujo_134 Member

    Same here in Canada, the A4 is to big for our folders. It's worth it though, it's way easier to see.
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