Iwan Fox's call for immediate change today on 4br

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by JR, Apr 1, 2011.


Would your band pay £150 pa and you £20 pa to create a budget to run UKBBA?

  1. Yes

    10 vote(s)
  2. No

    8 vote(s)
  3. Its too much, but I'd be prepared to pay less...

    8 vote(s)
  1. JR

    JR Member

    Iwan makes in my opinion several extremely important and timely points - numbers are down therfore we need change, and quickly.

    I concur with the vast majority of his proposals, in particular:

    An immediate re-vamp of the current 5 section set-up as the 1st Section is no longer fit for purpose - re-align/re-grade all sections leaving an absolute maximum of 10 in each top section

    An immediate review of Area geographical discrepancies in numbers - sections in Wales and the North East had 4/5 entrants sending 2 bands to the finals whilst 4 or 5 times as many bands competed in the Midlands and London

    The introduction of a completely new, Norwegian influenced innovative approach to 4th section banding including open judging

    The Kapitol Music Panel to be open regarding their test piece selection systems and criteria

    It is essential for the future of British contesting that the newly formed "Alliance" take these issues forward as a matter of urgency - do nothing is not an option

    John Roberts
  2. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member


    Here's the article.

    Whilst it's outspoken in it's language I do agree in principal with pretty much everything he says. It is a bit vague tho, some nice ideas without really fleshing them out. Perhaps we can put some meat on the bones here

    I fully agree with the primary strain of what he is saying. No change is not an option
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  3. 007ish

    007ish Member

  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    90% of what Iwan says is (IMHO) absolutely spot on.
    This really must not be ignored.

    Cannot the momentum be kept up and discussions take place between Kapitol and our representative organisations to perhaps implement at least some of these excellent suggestions and drag our movement kicking and screaming into the 21st Century?

    Let's face it, these ideas are not particularly radical, they are just a common sense and logical appraisal of a failing rickety system with sensible suggestions to put it on a sensible sustainable footing.

    I've served my time in banding and retired from playing, but I do hope that something is done to implement some of Iwans proposals or I have genuine fears for the future of banding.
    We are at the crossroads !

    - Mr Wilx
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  5. Cornet_Matt

    Cornet_Matt Member

    Yeah, this time I actually agree with what Iwan is saying, although I'm sure many of us have picked up on those points of how we can shape the future of our movement already, but just restrain them to after-rehearsal talk in various pubs!
    I'm keen to see what this new umbrella group can achieve as they have set out some key issues that need tackling, and have given some possible ways to solve them.
    They also need to be willing to take the views of Iwan and bandsmen into account, as we experience the movement from a competitive aspect.

    My personal opinion is that we need to try to combat the dwindling number of bandsmen as even the top bands are struggling to find players these days. A key point was raised at this year's inaugural University Brass Band Championships: if bandsmen kept playing whilst at university and didn't forget about their instrument for good after school, then we wouldn't be losing as many members.

    With regards to test piece selection, I agree that we need some structure in our choices, but generally there are many test pieces out there that just don't get the exposure they deserve, which can't be helped unfortunately as there just aren't enough contests out there to give them airtime. Sandy Smith's article earlier this year was interesting and raised the point of own-choice test pieces for the major contests. This certainly would increase the enjoyment for the audience, but would make the job harder for the adjudicators.

    Again, something needs to be done, and soon, but who will do it, and how it will be done are questions I don't quite know the answer to yet.
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    So how do we move this from an internet debate to actually force so e change on the current system?

    Who do we email/write/phone?

    Is there anyone with some standing in the organizing structure who will stand up and be the focal point of these calls for change?
  7. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    :clap: Good point- it seems that the brass band community has mulled over these points for a long time and now some real action is needed ; if there appears to be a concensus of opinion, then we do need to know HOW to go about it.
  8. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    Radical i know, but all stay at home next March!!
  9. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Is there a brass band 'figure' on tMp prepared to be the face of a call for change?

    the structure of regional committees & national organizations is too slow to react to the ground swell of opinion.
  10. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    1. Form a national body intended to represent bandsmen/women.
    2. All bandsmen/women to join that body and pay a subscription.
    3. The national body's executive then to canvas opinion of its membership about what it is required to do, made legitimate by democratic vote(s).
    4. The national body's executive, armed with a clear mandate, then to negotiate with the relevant parties to enact the wishes of its membership.

    Point 1 is already in place - the BFBB (or is it the EFBB already?). The rest is dependent on bandsmen/women to enact point 2 which will require them to show commitment and put their hands in their pockets instead of engaging in futile, speculative chit-chat of the type seen in this thread and elsewhere.

    I apologise for sounding like a cracked record, but I have made this point time and time again and very few people seem to grasp it. It's the only way forward if you want action, and if you want to create a brass band movement. No such institution exists in the UK at present. That's why so much needs to be done.
  11. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Real change is impossible all the time our National Contest is owned by a private company...FACT!
  12. bariwizard

    bariwizard Member

    All good points and well made in the article, but with the restructuring of the sections / regrading of bands, is it not time to consider the differences in standards between areas? Maybe a couple of areas should have a really healthy 1st section, but if they only have 1-2 genuine champ sect bands, then they could perhaps compete in another area?
  13. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I would have thought that would make changes easier. Just imagine if all the local area committees had their own input and tried to protect their own structure.
  14. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    This response from so many intelligent people is an excellent start, but how do we nurture this initiative so it actually blossoms into positive action ?
    I reckon we need an elected and briefed delegation to sit around a table with Kapitol to discuss the situation.
    They have invested heavily in the brass band movement and it is in their interest to make changes that will stimulate growth rather than sit on the sidelines and watch the movement, ( how I hate that description),whither away to the detriment of their business.
    Now is the time to canvass banders for their ideas and opinions and format some proposals that can be presented to Kapitol on behalf of ground roots banders who are, after all, crucial to the success of their business.

    - Mr Wilx
  15. JTKBrass

    JTKBrass Member

    From a Scottish point of view:

    1. SBBA has been in place for a long time, hopefully the new English body will be set up soon.

    2. All [contesting] bands in Scotland have to be a member of SBBA, and all bands have to pay an annual membership fee.

    3. SBBA did this a couple of years ago, on issues such as open adjudication, test piece choice, section size, promotion/relegation etc. It was discussed at length on the Kingdom Forum and the SBBA executive meetings, and then voted on at the AGM. Earlier this year all bands were asked about their opinion on pre draws for the Scottish Championships (there wasn't enough support for it to happen though, but that's a different discussion).

    4. The changes the bands voted through from 3. were then put in place.

    So it is possible to have change, but you do need the mandate from the bands through a structure that everybody is part of.
  16. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Well, possibly, possibly not. But if my 4 point plan for progress actually came to fruition, and with plenty of money in the bank and a following wind, it just might lead to the purchase of title to the National Championships by the national body. The National Championships owned by a national body under the democratic control of the bandsmen. Just imagine.
  17. steve_r

    steve_r Member

    Am I missing a point here? I agree that many changes could be made to the Areas, but the most important point made here seems to be that numbers are down. Unless there are a lot of bands who do not do the areas (and I don't know any) then the simple fact is that numbers are down because the bands have folded.

    Isn't that what we should be putting our efforts into? Making the Area better, good idea as it may be, will not reform 100 bands.

    Any thoughts?

  18. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Listen to this man. He talks a great deal of sense.
  19. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I don`t need to imagine James, I just have to look at the example of every other country apart from England. I want England and it`s bandspeople to have what every country in the banding has, ownership of it`s own multi-sectional National championships.
    The biggest problem of course for England is that we are trapped in a 'British' National that works nicely if you are Scottish or Welsh, but if you are English it`s a bit of a 'dog`s breakfast'.
    The creation of the EFBB is a good first step, but IMO we`ll never solve the 'English Problem' until we go it alone.
  20. Lofty Snr

    Lofty Snr Member

    I know a number of bands who did'nt compete because they could not put out 25 signed players. Making changes to the areas may not cure the problem, but it may help to slow the decline.

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