Since joining my present band and also looking into banding in greater detail I have become increasingly frustrated at the state of the contesting situation, both musical and organisational. I admit that organisers on the whole do a good job in giving bandsmen competitions which keep banding running every year. My concern however is to do with the overall running of band contests over the year. I have to say that I am confused, in that we have a Brass Band Federation which represents brass bands and bandsmen yet it does not control any of the contests in a year ? Although i assume they haver involvement in these contests, do they have the power to actually do anything at all when an issue needs changing? Ultimately don't the people who run the contest have the final say, since its their baby (so to speak!) Richard Franklin and Phillip Biggs at least listen to bands and their requests and subsequently do something about it! Now, why don't the people responsible for the other contests pay attention to their management ? Do the people behind the Nationals listen to what bands have to say. I believe they don't, as far as they are concerned there is nothing wrong so status quo remains! I have details that may surprise or confirm things to many of you out there. In 1980 the prize money earned by the winning band at London was £2000 In 2003 the prize money earned by the winning band at London was £2000 During this period these prices have changed :- In 1980 the Programme was priced at 60p In 2003 the programme was priced at £3.00 In 1989 the Stalls cost £6.50 In 1998 the stalls were £15.00 (Not sure what they cost last year) In 1994 the Loggia were £11 In 2003 the Loggia were £25 For as far as I can remember they have cut the prize money for 4th place altogether. It is staggering why the prize money for the contest has not increased since 1980!! Point 2:- We have a test piece a few years ago by Jan van der Roost which involved standing in various places on the stage in the Albert Hall. Yet that year bands were squashed on stage and could not spread out as much as they could to create a better sound??? The year before and after had plenty of space ? Is there logic there ? Are the lights on but no one is at home ? By no means do I mean to overly critiscise anybody, but surely there should be a committee with representatives from all the contest organisers and the Federation and talk about issues, instead of the nearly tribal effect of having seperate chiefs and no communication between them. So my point is, why isn't there a main committee that has power over all the contests? Why isn't there an increase in the prize money at the Nationals, especially when bands would be lucky to get as much as 30% of the money that they spend back even when they win! Every society needs a controlling body, look at sports and look at other musical ensembles around the world that take part in contest. I have and surprise, surprise they all have ONE committee ruling. What do you think ?