Guildford may be in danger of losing it's Brass Band

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by Matt the Shed, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Matt the Shed

    Matt the Shed Member

    Guildford may be in danger of losing part of its heritage following the news that rehearsal facility rental charges for the town’s brass band are set to rise by almost 350%. Friary Guildford Brass Band will be forced to move out of their rehearsal venue at Weyfield Primary School, Woking Road, unless they can find an extra £3,000 a year to cover elevated rehearsal costs following the move by Surrey County Council to centralise the management of local amenity rentals from April. The band, which receives the majority of its funding through player-member subscriptions, has been forced to start looking for new accommodation in a stance to protect its future. However, with rental costs for suitable premises in Guildford at an all time high and with little in the way of grants or subsidies for non-profit making organisations, the band has been forced to widen their search to include facilities outside of the town.

    Guildford is a town that is proud to have had its own brass band for most of the last century. However, like many other suburban town bands, their existence has not been continuous. There have been three ‘incarnations’ of a brass band in Guildford. The first band existed in the early 1900s when the Friary Meux Brewery had its own Brass Band, the second band in the 1950s and 60s, and the third and current band was formed in 1983. Since then, the band has performed in and around Guildford at hundreds of events, ranging from formal concerts in the Electric Theatre to entertaining crowds under Tunsgate Arch during the Queen’s visit to Guildford in 2006; from supporting the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra in Shalford Park to performing with local schools and groups in and around the borough; and from playing to picnickers’ in the castle grounds to leading the annual Armistice parade down the High Street. In its twenty-five year history the band has also supported many local charities and in the last year helped raise money for the Surrey Air Ambulance, Guildford’s branch of the British Heart Foundation and the Royal Surrey County Hospital special care baby unit. When not performing locally, the band has also made a name for itself in the brass band world by winning silverware at contests across the country against some of the world’s finest brass bands.

    The band is currently holding discussions with Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council as well as seeking help from local residents and business to ensure that one of the south’s premier brass bands can continue to thrive in Guildford. If you think you may be able to help, please contact the band’s chairman, Mark Yarham, on 07814 443394 or email the band at
  2. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Oh no...! :eek: Best of luck folks - Hate to lose another band. Fight the good fight - we're all behind you! :clap:
  3. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    I really struggle to understand the logic of local authorities that do this type of increase - and its by no means unique. Lets take the worst case scenario where they lose your rent - its a pound to a piece of s*** that every other voluntary group that uses their facilities is in the same situation. Therefore they lose almost everyones rent and have a lower income as a result. Mind you they then dont have the overheads of keeping caretaking (sorry building maintenance) staff on site and lower heating and lighting costs and you ask yourself the question whats the most expensive. If there still is a shortfall, hey what the hell, we can put up the council tax next year anyway to cover it.

    Unfortunately in todays world its the bean counter's opinion that counts, not that of the greater or cultural good of the people they are supposed to serve. Good luck with your negotiations and/or search for a new band room - dont let the ******** grind you down.
  4. jim

    jim Member

    Kepp plugging away something always comes up, as hard as it is be posative and you will get there.
  5. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    Good luck to you all at Friary. Let's hope the money grabbing so'n'sos come to their senses!
  6. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    You have a strong team at Friary and I'm sure you'll sort things out. All the very best of luck.
  7. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    We are in a similar situation, the school where we practice want an extra £36 for the caretaker to stay until 10 to lock up. We have found out that schools gets money for these after school activities, so we shall asking what they are doing with this money and I suggest you do the same.
  8. HorniKaz

    HorniKaz Supporting Member

    Possibly paying the caretakers wages? I'm sure you wouldn't be prepared to stay on at work & not get paid! I know of other bands whose room rental is increasing. There's a lot to be said to owning your own bandroom.
  9. Goldie Horn

    Goldie Horn Member

    All the best to friends at Friary x
  10. Aardvark

    Aardvark Member

    Too right, unfortunately it not easy - particularly in the South with the price of land etc...

    ps Not having a go as I know Staines worked very hard to get their bandroom :clap:
  11. clairetab

    clairetab New Member

    Have you tried the local secondary school instead? We rent a classroom at the comp in Portishead, which also has a 'sports centre' (in the very loosest sense of the word!) attached which takes bookings till 10pm. There are loads of other activities/local groups also using the premises, therefore the cost of keeping the caretaker on till 10pm isn't born solely by us. They also let us rent a container in the grounds to store the kit. It's not ideal, but its an awful lot better than nothing!

    Good luck with the search.

  12. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry to hear this news, best wishes to all at Friary as they try to sort this out.

    My own band were in a similar situation a few years ago - homeless through absolutely no fault of our own. We got through it and ended up with a bandroom that is actually better than our old one was. True, our own bandroom would be the best option, but we simply don't have the resources to do that just yet - and it sounds like Friary are in a similar situation.

    The best advice I can give is: shout. Long and loud. Someone out there will be able to help. We sent press releases to local papers and radio, both gave us extensive coverage as a result - a big article in the local paper and a feature on our local BBC radio station. Also we sent stuff out to 4BR, Bandsman (front page!!), here and IBEW who helped get us more coverage nationwide within the movement. The result was an overwhelming response of offers, both short term and longer term, and the messages of goodwill from the coverage in the band press help keep our spirits up. As I say, we're better off now and our band hasn't looked back.

    Best of luck with your quest - let us know how you get on.
  13. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Sorry to hear this. Perhaps, instead of negotiating with the council, take your custom elsewhere. After all, you are paying to use their facilities, you don't owe them any debt of gratitude. If you go somewhere else, they've lost a good customer.

    Guildford is a reasonably large town (or is it a city?), so there must be a church hall out there you could use for a knock-down price. Perhaps you could get a place for a low price if you offer to do an annual concert for the organisation?

    City of Cambridge get Trumpington (no sniggering at the back!) Village Hall at a fairly low price in return for the odd concert in the locality and some Christmas Carols.

    I'm sure you are already looking, but I'm sure there will be something out there. Failing Church hall, how's about Working Men's Clubs, British Legion Clubs or the like? Perhaps the band might approach the old brewery sponsors to see if they might offer a room?
  14. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    I take your point, but the caretaker is already being paid to stay on till nine, we are being asked to pay £36 when we usually lock up ourselves. Apparently the police have been called out to false alarm calls and are complaining. None of the call outs have been when we were there, yet we are the ones to pay.

    The school gets money for community projects after school, they should not be making a profit out of it.
  15. Matt the Shed

    Matt the Shed Member

    Thanks to everyone for their support. With the distraction of the areas out of the way, members of Friary are wading through a long list of potential venues in and around Guildford - hopefully we'll find something suitable soon...

    Press releases are going to local papers + radio stations, etc at the moment. Will keep you posted with any news...
  16. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Unfortunately , like many fine old regional breweries Meux have long since vanished - taken over by Ind Coope in the early 60's , and they themselves have subsequently been bought out .

    Best of luck in your search for a new home though.
  17. Martin

    Martin Member

    Good luck and Best wishes. Hope it all works out well for you. :tup
  18. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Don't worry, there's no chance of that happening - the band is very fit and well, we're just in danger of becoming homeless!

    As Matt said, there's a lot of research happening behind the scenes, but unfortunately the county council in their wisdom have stitched up the schools hiring, for some odd reason a lot of the local village and church halls aren't that keen on hosting a noisy band, and this ain't the cheapest part of the world! We're hoping that if we make enough noise then we'll mange to find an alternative locally, but if not then we'll be moving out of town.

    Thanks all for the good wishes and ideas :tup
  19. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    All thebest to Friary, Alex. Hope you find a new home soon.
  20. weenie

    weenie Member

    Media exposure can work. It did for Flowers when I emailed the local BBC with the story of us losing our band room. We eventually got somewhere...............and not just a band room either! Stay positive and pro-active! Best of luck to you all at Friary Gulidford.

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