How many bands are too many?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by davethehorny, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    With this years Areas fast approaching, I am considering the thorny question of how many bands are too many for one section?

    The Fourth Section in the West of England will see (if they all turn up) 27 bands battle it out for the title.

    The draw has been divided up into three sections and play will commence at 9.00 am. The Championship Section will follow at (and not starting before) 4.30 pm, over seven and a half hours later.

    With the prospect of promotion being on my mind, I am sure that the first four places will as usual be easy to pick out, but after that do placings become a lottery?

    How do you choose between the band that is placed 7th and the on placed 17th?

    Can we really expect the two men in the box to remember if the band playing number 1 was better than the band playing number 27? :oops:

    In 2004 five bands were relegated from the Third Section but only two promoted to replace them, thus leaving only 14 bands in the Third Section. Is this madness? :confused:
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    If every band that was affiliated to the L&SC 4th section turned up to compete in Stevenage, there would be something like 45 bands :frown: . Quite a marathon for adjudicator and listener alike!
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    That's a lot of bands, but, what could be done about it? I suppose splitting WoE ino multiple Areas, but then the other sections would be small.
  4. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I feel sorry for the adjudicators with a large amount of bands to listen to even with 2 in the box its still a big ask of them and agree how can they remember from band number 1 to band number 27 in 7& half hours.:eek:
  5. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I would, of course be very wrong to discourage bands from striving to compete in a contest. Perhaps, a preliminary contest could be held (with the same test piece) a few weeks before the main contest for those bands who have come into contesting for the first time (or had a break). Another possibility might be to utilise the split draw that some contests have had over the years, also giving the adjudicator(s) a longer comfort break.
  6. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    Are there really that many?! My old band are one of the 27 and i will be there supporting, and listening to the championship section, i hadn't prepared myself for such a long day tho!

    27 does seem a lot, i've played when there was about 23, and if i remember rightly the organisation wasn't that great, we had to stand outside with all our stuff for a couple of hours cos we weren't allowed into the warm up room, it wasn' t great however i believe the band did get a good result that year.

    27 does seem a lot, and it can't be that great for the championship section starting that late? I mean any slight hold ups during the day and the band drawn last are going to be playing very late indeed, and what about the stewards etc, are they going to be expected to "steward" or what ever the term for what they do is for 12 hours?!

    I don't think you can say that the number of bands in the section is too big, its great that there are that many bands willing to compete, I think the issue of how the day is going to be run is more important so that everyband is comfortable and able to give the best performance they can.
  7. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    The trouble is that the West of England region is too large. There will be bands from as far apart as the Isle of Wight to the tip of Cornwall competing.

    Would it not be fairer if the bands in all the Regions were divided along the lines that the Boundaries Commision use for electoral purposes? i.e. each Region to have say 20 bands - or 30 or whatever, but an even division across all the UK Regions?

    Then the "promotion" and "relegation" should be strictly on a "one up" and "one down" basis, as they do for the football and rugby leagues.

    Finally spare a thought for the excellent musicians, some young new players, some who have been to every contest since 1949, who have practiced for three months collectively, individually, and in sections; who travelled a long way, getting up before dawn, stood around for many hours without food and refreshments, to be given just five minutes on stage.

    They wait for the result to find that they have come last, and that there are only 27 points separating the first and last bands! What a waste of effort, and how demoralising. No wonder bands are folding!

  8. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member


    ""That's a lot of bands, but, what could be done about it? I suppose splitting WoE ino multiple Areas, but then the other sections would be small."" (brasscrest)

    And it would be unfair to just split the fourth section into different regions - as then you'd have (for instance in WoE - say - 2 groups of 14/13, from that you would obtain 2 first placed bands, 2 second placed bands ETC. meaning that the possibility that bands in what is effectively the same section would be much more likely to end on the same points (and this could cause something similar to what happened in the 3rd at WoE a few years ago, where 4 bands went down on the same points)

    The idea of "preliminary" groups does appeal to me - why not break the 4th section into smaller regions and take the best 2(or so) from each preliminary set - then those bands play at the area for the oppertunity of a place at nationals...

    Though this way would still have a problem - what points do you allocate to whom??
    By this I mean - what points would you give to those who qualify... and what do you give to those that dont?
    Maybe you could give points to those who qualify as their position (1, 2, 3 etc) and those who do not get
    [(number that qualified) + (number of bands that beat them at their qualifier) -1] points
    By this you have the bands who didnt qualify on more points than those who did, and ranked in a sensible order (the -1 is because you count 1 band twice in that).
    The potential problem this could cause is that you can get bands on the same points more easily (as the range of points available will be less than it is now) - however this would be more likely to occur on bands with more points - and as this is the fourth section we refer to it doesnt matter in terms of relegation as it may do if you tried to apply this in, say, the third section.

    Thanks if you could be bothered to read all my (rather random) thoughts
  9. I'm always very uneasy in any contests with more than 15 bands. Quite frankly I'd be in favour of holding two contests, with only two bands going from each if the entry was 27. We criticise judges, but then we put them in a frankly impossible situation like this. They may well get the winners right but no one on earth can accuratly place all the bands in the middle, and that fact can get you relegated.
  10. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    The problem with doing it this way is that you can get doubled up points at the top - meaning you could end up with more than the 'desired' number of bands going up. :p
  11. GingerMaestro

    GingerMaestro Active Member

    Check out the article on 4Barsrest by Alan Morrison who happens to be one of your adjudicators this might set your mind at ease as he talks about a system he uses to try and eliminate the issue of large contest fields
  12. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Mind you it's a nice problem to have, better than talking about lack of bands or bands folding.
    West of England has always had this problem even when the area was smaller. I can remember one year playing in the 4th section that had 34 bands!
  13. This is a real quandry!

    More than 20 bands (and many professional adjudicators would say more than 14 or 15 bands) is definitely too many for a single contest, whatever process they apply to derive the full result.

    The West of England Committee has to some extent created this problem due to poor control over the promotion/demotion situation compared to other Regions. The number of bands competing in the sections between Championship and Third has fallen by 10 bands over the past 8 or so years. In the meantime the Fourth Section has continued to grow such that it now represents 1/3 of the competing bands in 2006. The past two years have seen significant numbers of bands demoted from the Third Section with less going upwards.

    Before anyone comes back and says the rules is the rules....I know they are, so maybe there is a need to reword the rules to ensure where possible the numbers promoted/demoted match out.
    Whilst on the subject of rules...if it doesn't exist then maybe it a rule that deals with additional promotion spaces for the situations where higher section bands fold (this would serve to try and keep the % of a Region's bands in each section as even as possible.

    As discussed the other solutions to the problem require much more radical changes to occur, which given the progressive nature of brass banding...are simply unlikely to be concurred on!
    You could even out the bands amongst regions, this would require the amalgamation of the Northern Regions and division of the Southern (Midlands included) unlikely to happen!
    Additional Regions could be created in the South and Midlands to spread the bands (though this would leave some relatively sparse higher sections without a major re-grading exercise) likelihood is on the low side.
    The totally radical introduction of an "FA Cup" style draw of all entering bands into groups of 14/15 for the National Qualifiers could be undertaken....yes some long distance travel may be requireded, but in the larger geographical regions this is already the case for many bands.....okay, I know too radical by far, but it would be fun even though it would be cost prohibitive....and you would manage the promotion/relegation issue would also need to be another no go!

    Oh well! We'll be there to take part in the where do I buy the ticket!
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    What about subdividing the region just for the fourth section? With the top band in each subdivision qualifying for the Nationals? You'd have to be careful about exactly how the subdivisions were split, but not really any different from having the whole country split into the regions as they are now.
  15. The_Eighth_Dwarf

    The_Eighth_Dwarf New Member

    and I spose here in lies part of the problem that the other sections already have that number in.
    Champ - 12
    1st - 14
    2nd - 16
    3rd - 14
    4th - 27 (competing bands, 37 registered bands)

    even if you even it out for 12 ion the championship and 16 in the 1 - 3 you would still be left with 23 in the 4th section!
  16. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Why not add a 5th section by spliting the 4th section down into 2?
  17. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    My sentiments exactly.
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    One of the problems there is the disparity in numbers of bands throughout the eight regions. Having had a quick look at last year's figures, three regions had 20 or more in the 4th Section, 2 between 12 & 20, whilst two regions only had 9 bands taking part. To split those with fewer bands into 4th & 5th sections would make for very low numbers.
  19. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    No only split areas with say 20+ in 4th Section into two.
  20. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    If you did that, you'd remove the incentive for qualification for the finals - or are you suggesting a 5th section finals for those applicable regions?

    I still favour the idea of a split into two equal halves, with say 2 qualifiers from each going on to the finals.

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