Invitation contests, entitlement to enter and rankings

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by iggmeister, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    I thought that this may have had an airing here before now.

    I was surprised to read the submission to the letters section of 4br from Mr Shenton on behalf of the Rothwell Band and even more surprised at their reply to Trevor Caffull's (in my opinion, very well worded) comments.

    It has aired what is arguably a sensitive matter - this thread may not assist that, but it is an interesting issue and is well in the public domain now.

    My personal opinion about any such events are that if they are invitation only, there is little that can be done if you get overlooked.

    Generally, about this specific incident, I thought the last letter was more than slightly disrespectful towards their local rivals and also the contest organisers. I just don't see how airing it in this way can do the band any credit. There is also the glaringly obvious contradiction about the fact their highest points tally (or at least one of them) came from an invitation only contest.

    Rothwell clearly are (and have been for some time) a very good band but this to me seemed a very strange way to try and get an invite.

    I'm sure I'll get slated for this post but it is clearly in the public domain, is being talked about but (for some reason) not on here. What are everybody's thoughts?

  2. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    But don't the whole 4barsrest Rankings warrant similar critism from bands that don't take part in loads of contests. 4barsrest include various local and national contests in their rankings so for example there are a number of Yorkshire bands that take part in nearly all the Hymn and March contests and these results go towards the rankings.

    Does anyone really believe that the rankings correctly identify the "standing" of one band against another? It's just a set of results based on a ranking criteria set by 4barsrest - inclusion of invitation only contests or not is neither here nor there. If a band wants to improve their "ranking" just enter and win more contests that you can enter.

    Perhaps the ranking/invitation issue is more to do with the fact that this band hasn't been invited to play at BIC whilst other bands in the same area have been given an opportunity to do so.
  3. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Not at all Igg... this is exactly what we're here for. This is for sure a very interesting post. Let the discussion continue...


    I also read the letters in question, and agree with you, Igg, that it seems a bit of a strange way to win friends and influence people.

    The idea that BiC is an invitation only contest and therefore shouldn't have any rankings points, is a bit daft really. Does this mean that Mr Shenton believes that all invitation only contests shouldn't have rankings points, as not all bands can access the points available? Surely this would include The English Masters and Cambridge, both of which Rothwell compete in...
  5. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I think it is a valid point for discussion and think Rothwell are well within their rights to question why they have not been considered, or a least feel they have not been considered. They are up there with the top bands in Yorkshire so have as much right as anyone else to be a BiC. Although I'm sure there are plenty of bands who have equally strong cases for being at BiC. Likewise, does it really matter whether you are 15th or 115th in the rankings, other than your image and self belief? Maybe it matters more? But I'd have thought that if you are winning or doing well at contests, surely that is more important.

    The question perhaps is the validity of the 4br Rankings, which has been discussed many times on this forum. They are a nice idea and seem to work well to a certain extent, to give a guide of the relative success of your band, but only a guide, and they have flaws. I'm not sure what the solution is, but with more use of the internet and a wider readership of 4br, people appear to be taking the rankings more seriously, and surely someone needs to consider if there is now an impact of the rankings on bands - and whether there is a way of improving them?

    Ultimately I think Rothwell are not actually asking "should the contest be included in the rankings", but "why were we not invited (and given the opportunity to win some of the money)". Which is fair enough, as we all want to win as much cash as possible!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
  6. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Just listening to last Friday's LTTB and Rothwell's programme on there would have gone down well at BIC

    Title: ‘THE COSSACK’
    Title: ‘LIVE AND LET DIE’
    Title: ‘SCARAMOUCHE’
    Title: ‘MADRIGALUM’
  7. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Too right, especially now that 4br seem to be concentrating far more on the money winners table than updating the rankings:rolleyes:
  8. JR

    JR Member

    Well it shows at least one thing - the Salvation Army as personified by Trevor Caffull has a rather big say in who gets invited to the UK's biggest Entertainment Contest - I didnt know that until now - did you?
    In fact I'd no idea what criteria were used (and still don't, despite Trevor Caffull's enlightening response) to invite bands to Brass in Concert - and I've conducted there 4 times with 3 different bands.
    I think I'd be slightly miffed if I'd been trying to get an invite for years, finally won the Masters and still got overlooked without explanation
    Trevor C's brief nod to "geographical" representation would benefit from some expansion - Scotland seems to do quite well for invitations but why not London for instance? Aveley have won Yeovil, Redbridge have won Butlins - or are we back to the rankings?

    john R
  9. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    Gosh, wrong on many levels. Since when did Trevor Cafful officially represent the Salvation Army as an enitiy?? I must have missed that one. Out comes the Salvation Army conspiracy theories again. And listing the names involved in the organisational comittee...Mr Cafful is only one in five names on that comitee. So he has a fifth of the say in theory.
    Really, you do seem to have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about Trevor Cafful don't you?! Apparantly you seem to be well respected in the banding world, but you do seem to show a lack of professionalism in your post here.
  10. tkhbss

    tkhbss Member

    From what I have read this is the case isn't it? Trevor Cafful and Roy Newsome choose the bands (not 5 people) and although they say they take into account geographical area Mr Shenton is merely stating in defense that there are other bands in the same geographic area who have been selected this millenium and who are lower in the rankings. I hardly think this leads to any kind of disrespect, he is merely supporting his case with facts.

    Personally, I think it is a good case and I will look out with interest for the reply to Mr Shenton's most recent points made on 4barsrest. This is a good debate. If Trevor Cafful really does want to show a fresh contest with the best talents available then why have Rothwell not been invited before, especially in a year that they won the All England Masters?

  11. Sandy Smith

    Sandy Smith Member

    here here:clap:

    Any "ranking" list seems only to concentrate on a very specific aspect of banding - the contesting - so we end up having a hierarchy based on the opinion of a handful of adjudicators spread over a handful of events !

    Are we really to take them seriously ?

    Why not have a ranking based on the number of engagements a band does or on the fees they are able to charge or the audience numbers they have played to or the number of empty chairs at rehearsals or.........

    There is,or certainly should be,more to being a successful band than winning a few pots but as usual gnash our teeth over how the band "ranked" 45th could possibly be considered better than the band "ranked" 54th as the wider musical world looks on slack jawed.
  12. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    I was aware of how the contest chose to invite bands and who was involved in making that decision.

    Is it the case that we want the rankings but only if they serve our own purposes?

    The British Open is a private contest and relies partly upon invites (invites to the Senior Trophy, or if the band is situated outside of the UK, invites to the Open from the organizers/ owners). Would a band from say the US raise an eyebrow in this if they did not get an invite to the Open but BB of CF did, especially if they were higher ranked? What about, say, the great Norwegian bands who might have fancied their chances in the Open? What about the European Champions, BB Willebroek?

    I take on board that Mr Shenton was stating facts in his statement but the impression made on me that he saw fit to mention those facts was one of bitterness. I noted the call that the Contest should have no rankings points. Again, my initial impression was that the band may feel they are missing out on vital ranking points which was helping their local rival’s ranking. Is it a case of self-preservation? This may be a bit unfair but that was went through my mind when I read it.

    From this, it seems obvious that the rankings have become a serious business. Most people I know who play in top section bands take great pride in their ranking. You even see the odd letter now and then on 4br from an up and coming 1st section band asking what their ranking is. We all love a bit of one upmanship. It may not be a perfect science but it is one of the only markers we have. I do like the idea of Sandy Smith’s empty chairs ranking though – that would be brilliant!

    In any private contest, it ultimately comes down to who the organisers who they pick. It is their contest. Does their selection process have to be fair?

  13. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    My point exactly. I agree with Sandy that the rankings are about as useful in determining the relative merit of the band as knowing how many punters they can regularly get to concerts or how many CDs they sold last year, and we as players shouldn't take them too seriously.... But we do.

    I remember a moment last year when I went into work and proudly announced to the office that I was playing in the 167th best band in the world (first time Stannington had made it into the top 200). I certainly took it seriously. So if people are going to take them seriously - choosing which band to watch, support/sponsor, play for, etc., - isn't it time we tried to come up with a more accurate reflection of bands merits. Is it even possible? (I doubt it)
  14. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    ...maybe so, but if a true, comprehensive means of ranking cannot be found as we doubt it can, then surely if we do base the rankings on contest results alone, surely they must be done by the most accurate means possible, which I don't believe they currently are. I think we sould set Daniel on to it!
  15. robcav

    robcav Member

    [/QUOTE] Apparantly you seem to be well respected in the banding world, but you do seem to show a lack of professionalism in your post here.[/QUOTE]

    You are absolutely right in the first clause of the above statement but utterly wrong in the second and I fail to see how you can accuse JR of being unprofessional in his post. What is unprofessional about expressing one's opinion about a contest system and the role of the personnel involved if, as the original poster said, the information is out in the public domain?

    Let me be very clear - I have no bee in my bonnet with any individual, institution or band and have no involvement with Rothwell Band. I do, however, in principle, regard the phenomenon of 'invitation' contests as potentially divisive. Let's imagine an invitation tennis or snooker tournament where one of the grand slam winners, and a consitent performer on the circuit is not invited. If I was that tennis or snooker player, I'd be pretty annoyed at not being invited, very annoyed if there were ranking points to be gained by participating, and absolutely furious at not being given the chance to pit my wits and skills against the best of the rest, many of whom I'd beaten previously, and thereby put myself in a position to win some money. Equally, I have to say, that anyone on an invitation panel who didn't invite me after having been a grand slam victor would have to be pretty short-sighted.

    But enough of the analogy. I've never been to the BiC contest, either as a player or spectator, but I applaud the organisers for putting on what seems to be a very successful event and a major date in the contesting calendar. However, the invitation panel/orgainsers are their own worst enemies if they don't have clearly defined criteria by which they decide who is to be invited. They leave themselves open to the charges of favouritism, nepotism, the "old boys' network" and, worse still, ignorance, if they fail to even consider a band which is consistently performing well and has won a major title over a band which hasn't. I can't think of another contest, but please correct me if I'm wrong, where the organisers get to pick and choose who participates in their contest based on .....well...what...their personal preferences?

    Obviously it's a matter for 4BR whether they continue to award ranking points for the BiC contest and to be honest that, though it may be important to some, is really a minor issue. What's at stake here is the principle of giving a platform to those who have proven their mettle in the contest arena. If we as a movement want to parade the best that we have to offer (and I mean no disrespect to any band which competed in last year's BiC) then the invitations to the contest should be based on merit not backroom discussions.

    In conclusion, let me suggest to the poster, part of whose post I quoted, that he is deeply misguided in accusing someone of JR's professionalism, sincerity, experience, and straight-talking honesty of a "lack of professionalism" when expressing his sincere, and in my view valid, comments on this matter.
  16. Mr_Euniverse

    Mr_Euniverse Member

    May I throw a contraversial spanner in the works and say that the Spring Festival is in essence an invitation event. How else do you get selected for the Senior Trophy?
    Tongwynlais (a good band incidentally!) tried for years to get an invite to the Trophy but we weren't "a name band" so didn't get invited for years!
    Since we were invited we have gained promotion every year so far!
    Do we not inculde all of the Spring Festival + British Open from the rankings as it's an invite contest at its grass roots level?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  17. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Totally unfair to count invitation only contests in any rankings. You should only count contests where entry is open or through some kind of qualifying. The very fact that they are using words like 'geographical representation' means that the bands aren't chosen strictly on merit.
  18. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    As for which contests should and shouldn't count towards ranking points, I'm really not that bothered. It's interesting to look at them now and then, but I really don't think they mean much, especially the further down you go where you can leap up and down 20 to 30 places with one result. Does anyone really believe you get that much better over night?! I don't think you can start excluding events on the basis they are invite only. This would exclude a lot of contests really and make the rankings even more useless.

    Although the original letter started as a complaint about the rankings, it has turned into a debate over who gets invited to an event. So the organisers decide who they want to be involved... isn't that up to them? It's their event. If you don't manage to get in, it's a shame, but publicly complaining about it is hardly likely to help. What's next? Complain to a concert venue they are employing a band ranked lower than you when your band was available? Brass in Concert has become more popular in recent years (largely due to a venue change etc.) and more high profile bands have started to attend the event or return to the event. When you can only fit in 12 bands max. it's very difficult to please everyone.
  19. tkhbss

    tkhbss Member

    Very good, Chris, coming from a member of a band which gets an anvitation every year. And what would Leyland think if they did not get an invite and started slipping down the rankings because other lower ranked bands were catching them up? Ranking points are important to bands, and indeed they are one of the qualifying factors in getting an invitation to the English National contest. You say it is hardly likely to help by publicly compaining about it, but I think this is a very healthy debate about a topic which could affect any band, even yours, and it is therefore in the interest of every band to join in the debate and see a proper conclusion.

    But I think you are right from what I have read - this was never about which contests get included in ranking tables, it was about getting invitations to contests. From what I have read Rothwell are getting an unfair deal and I think that this has at least got some discussion about the subject for everyone's benefit. The original letter said that the band had asked for five years how to get an invitation to BiC, and they were told that they that would not be competing this year or next - what else should they have done?

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  20. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    I'm not questioning the debate, I just don't think a back and forth on the 4br comments pages is the way to go about it. I'm sure Rothwell would compete very well in Brass in Concert and I'm sure if they keep getting the consistently good results they have been then they will get an invite. However, if you don't get an invite to Brass in Concert, there are many other contests that carry ranking points that a band can go to. What about all the bands that were dumped from the Masters a few years back to make it international? The only way to make any invitation system "fair" would be to have a situation like in the Nationals where any band can qualify. I think that would be an expensive, and nigh on impossible undertaking. I also doubt the list of bands at the end would be that much different!

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