Is it time to limit the Whits

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, May 30, 2007.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Now here's a controversial question. The Whit Friday March contests have become a victim of their own success. Last time our band did the Saddleworth area we only managed 4 or 5 contests due to the extended waiting time especially at Delph. We now tend to do Thameside which hasn't quite got the same atmosphere but does allow you to get round twice as many venues.

    So Is it time we limited the event in some way?
    For example limit the contests to registered bands 4th section and upward? i.e. stop the the numerous youth, unregistered and scratch bands competing.
    Or alternatively, start the contests earlier say 2:30pm and limit the afore mentioned categories to play before 7:30.
    I know this seems very harsh but when bands are coming from all over the country spending hundreds of pounds on coaches and taking annual leave from work, is it not a poor show when they can then only play at 4 venues for 5 minutes a piece because they have to wait for some noddy local scout band that has no chance of winning any prize?

    .....Ducks for cover..:-? .....
  2. sunny_jimbob

    sunny_jimbob Member

    But would it still have the much vaunted atmosphere without said unregistered, youth and scratch bands? I doubt it. They're all part of the Whit Friday Experience(tm).
  3. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    What a ridiculous suggestion.

    For a start a lot of the scratch bands are the bands that travel a long distance, so why should they be limited to a small window of opportunity?

    Or are you assuming that those people don't have to take time off work and pay hundreds of pounds for a coach?
  4. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    This sounds as though all whit friday is about is competing in as many as possible. Personally I would rather do 6 quality performances anyway. The sheer volume of bands competing is what makes the night special.
  5. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    If you are going to do anything to relieve the congestion, how about adding a couple more venues to spread bands out ?
  6. hellyfrost

    hellyfrost Member

    Excellent Point! There's a few contests that are no more such as Roundthorn. I don't remember it always being as ridiculously busy as it is now, but i was only kid so I wasn't paying that much attention! lol:D
  7. jonford

    jonford Member

    Our University Union brass band (LUUMS) do Whit Friday every year, and although we don't take it as serious as some bands we have put a lot of work into the march with what has been a very busy time for students with exams and coursework.

    It's an event we enjoy every year and is one of the only contests as such that we can compete in as we are an unregistered band because so many of our players are members of other local bands.

    We have looked into doing other contests but this is the only one we can realistically do so if it was limited to registered bands I think it would be very unfair.
  8. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Which bands win prizes (bar the sectional prizes) except the top few bands anyway? Not many! So by that line of thinking it should be an ellite contest with only selected bands playing since the prizes that are generally won by other bands are 'sectional prizes'. Just remove the sectional prizes and limit the bands to invitation only. This would rude the waiting time greatly!

    This could happen, but then it would NOT be whit friday! I don't think limiting by ability would be in the spirit of the occassion at all.

    Perhaps the total number of competing bands could be set. The bands have to pre-register to take part in the event. Then when the number, say 70, bands have registered then the entry is closed.

    Whatever is done delph and dobcross are always going to be a nightmare. We only managed 4 or 5 villages last year. Saying we should limit by ability is totally unfair IMHO. Perhaps 2nd section bands should be limited on competing to allow for championship bands to play ;)

    Anyway I hope to bump you guys at the whits this year, it is always good to catch up with old friends.
  9. winterman

    winterman Member

    Just my humble opinion but..

    I don't really see Whit Friday as a contest anyway.. Yes the big bands win a fair bit of money, the smaller local and lower section bands may see some prize money..

    The way I see Whit Friday is as a Festival of Brass (often seen announced as the Greatest Show on Earth - quite rightly) where young and old, good and bad, famous and learners rub shoulders and join together in a celebration of the way of life we enjoy..

    How many bands do you think would drop out of Whit Friday if there were no prize money at all? I actually reckon very few, they do it to be part of something truly amazing and international (visitors and players from all over the world come just to see it). For some it's just the fact that they may walk out of the arena as their "heroes" from Dyke or Brighouse and so on are waiting to walk in, which may be a very rare treat and for a youngster, just starting out, to be stood side by side of their greatest inspiration and may be even get just a smile or a "hello" from them, that is priceless..

    I enjoy being there as a spectator (only been once as a player and so far do prefer it this way), standing around at Delph and enjoying more brass band performances (of vastly varying quality but all thoroughly enjoyable) than some "enthusiasts" hear in a year.

    Keep it as it is and start earlier I say or maybe set some preset routes down for bands to follow and pre-book so all the villages are done in exactly the same order..

    Oops.. I've gone on a bit sorry :D
  10. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    My recollection of Whits last year was that it was busier than I had previously recalled - checking the bands competing in Saddleworth over the last 6 years it confirms it.

    2006 - 139
    2005 - 123
    2004 - 130
    2003 - 125
    2002 -125
    2001 Foot & mouth
    2000 - 138

    however there was only one band more in 2006 than in 2000. We managed 6 venues in 2006 (4 in Thameside) and 8 the year before.

    I do think there is a problem with the number of bands going but it relates to the numbers of players - just have a look how many bands are looking to find players to complete their line-up. It seems that every band wants to go regardless of the fact that we are probably all short of players.
  11. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Good point - we followed a band last year at a couple of venues and they only had about 12 players.

    If all the bands were full then that may noticably ease congestion.
  12. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Perhaps the best way to "limit" the numbers of bands would be to set a minimum number of players on the stand - although that might have to be on a sliding scale e.g. 4-6pm minimum 20, 6-8pm minimum 15, 8-10pm minimum 12 - just to allow for the natural wastage of players through the night.
  13. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Whilst the concept of tens of semi-inebriated Brass Bands marching through Henley, Richmond or Windsor is somewhat appealing, I think you probably mean 'Tameside', not near the Thames :confused:

    As for the 'not enough people in the bands' - I think the problem basically sorts itself out through 'shuffling' of players - few bands, even the big names, have 100% of their normal registered band out on the march, not least for physical fitness reasons (one reason why there are always loads of requests in the Dep's forum for EEb & BBb players). Some bands (like Imps this year) decide not to go, but quite a few of their players want to play so help out elsewhere. However few of the 130+ bands you refer to in saddleworth last year had less than 25 playing members, and many bands have more - e.g. joining junior & senior bands together & playing 30+ on the road & taking turns on the stand.

    This does mean though that any concept of 'registration' as a means of restricting youth or scratch bands would be impossible as even the 'big names' would be excluded.

    Having thought a little more about it, and about the situation for spectators at most of the venues, I reckon it would be in the organisers (council, local trade associations, businesses etc.) interests to open a couple more venues since not only would that spread out the bands, it would also spread out the spectators, and I bet overall you could sell a lot more beer / chips if people didn't have to queue so long.
  14. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    Well, the most obvious reason for that is that the contest is on a Friday afternoon and evening. Bands that are reasonably local can get away with their players just arranging to leave work early or starting playing late, but all of the growth in numbers comes from bands travelling from further afield, and members of those bands have to take Friday off work to come. For many players, that isn't an option, and there's only so many players out there willing to take a day off to dep for another band.

    Of course, you could both solve that problem, and extend the playing time, so reducing congestion, by turning the Whit Friday contest into a more relaxed all-day Whit Saturday contest. Whether that could be fitted around the other events of the weekend, I don't know, aside from the idea probably offending quite a few traditionalists. It does seem like the contests have outgrown the traditional Friday evening timing though.
  15. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    Well, of those three we've done that in Windsor anyway.
  16. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    :eek: :eek:

    Moderators - please, please remove the above post - it is obviously someone's idea of an offensive and distasteful joke but has no place in a peaceful forum like this one. ;)
  17. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    Mark my words. It's going to be busy, busy this year too. Because i'ts quite late (early June rather than late May) some of the bands that usually dont attend because of the Masters will be out. Bands that usually give it a miss are deciding to have a dabble this year too! We are going out earlier than usual to try and get a few done before the madness descends! Start early guys.
  18. Owen S

    Owen S Member


    Why not though?
  19. ballyhorn

    ballyhorn Member

    What an absolute pathetic statement that is....and you wonder why our movement is dying!!!!!.....if it wasnt for the "noddy bands" as you so tastefully put it we wouldnt even have a contest to go to...maybe your band should get a local to help with directions as whenever Ive played there the bands have always managed at least nine contests...including supporting the "noddy bands" before we play instead of firing off into the local boozer.....
  20. postie

    postie Member

    To be fair Phil I think if I were you I would head for cover. In a country at the moment where tradition counts for very little its very important that the Whit Friday contests continue being a huge success. This is also means that the noddy little scout band gets the chance to play as well as the Fodens and the Fairey's of our world.