Midland Regional - New Area Venue

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Di, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Di

    Di Active Member


    The Midland Regional Committee are seeking to relocate the Area Contest with effect from the 2008 Area Contest.

    The Committee are in the process of looking at alternative venues but if Bandsman know of a suitable venue could they please advise me of a contact name and telephone at that venue. All recommendations to me (Lesley Bentley) by 31st July 2006 please to give the Committee time to follow up suitable suggestions.

    Please note that there is no change for the 2007 Area, this remains in Burton on Trent.


    Lesley Bentley
    Regional Secretary – Midlands Area

    01509 672029
    077866 04552
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
  2. imthemaddude

    imthemaddude Active Member

    erm ...... Symphony Hall? :-D :pig
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    A slightly left-field choice, but what about the CBSO centre? It's in Berkley St, Birmingham and may be just what you are looking for.

    There's a compound round the back for unloading, plenty of space, a cafetetia and foyer areas. There are also quite a few smaller rooms upstairs for registration, warming up etc.

    Perhaps you could get in touch with the CBSO's orchestral manager, Ben Noakes and arrange a visit?
  4. Brian

    Brian Member

    Whilst I believe it would be very nice to play in such venues as the Symphony Hall in "Birmingham" do think about the bands from the East Coast who already have a 4hr journey to Burton, also the cost of these places would probably be prohibitive if costings on previous occasions are still the same. To be fair to "ALL" bands taking part you need to look for a central location.
  5. Robin Norman

    Robin Norman Member

    A few thoughts :-

    • Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham : The Concert Hall in the Birmingham Conservatoire. This means plenty of facilities. It also has a Recital Hall that could be used for the Lower Sections.
    • Festival Hall, Corby : The venue that used to be popular for the South Midlands area has now been refurbished and is available to be used again.
    • Derby Assembly Rooms : Not the best venue but much better than Burton and takes into account the comments about it being central.
    • University of Warwick : Actually on the outskirts of Coventry. A great concert hall and, again, several other suitable rooms and halls to accomodate all sections and rehearsal/warm-up rooms. Also has the benefit of being on its own site away from the city centre meaning that access and parking not a problem.
    Just my 'witterings'
  6. emmah

    emmah New Member

    What about Buxton Opera House and the University. They are about 3 mins apart from each other so you'd be able to visit the trade stands easier than those at Burton. There's plenty of things in the town to do so your not sat around all day. It is in the same area as Buxton contest which takes place every May if anyone has ever been before...
  7. CubbRep

    CubbRep Member

    University of Warwick would be a great venue.You would only need to use it for one day and therefore cutting down on cost.All sections would be over in that same day and you would be able to listen to other sections once your band has finished playing.
  8. davidsait

    davidsait Member

    The University of Warwick would indeed be an excellent venue, with it's many concert halls, warmup facilities, bars and parking.
    Slightly pedentic, I know, but I ought to just point out that the venue is known as the Warwick Arts Centre.
  9. brittm

    brittm Member

    De Montford Hall in Leicester? There's just the one hall but it's a good'un and I can't believe it's prohibitively expensive, it might even keep the East Coasters a bit more happy?!

    Please, please, please can we just have a hall that we can have a seat, some grub and a wee, oh and a ceiling heght if more than 3 metres (I don't know where it was but the year that Lowry Sketchbook was the top section test was held in a conference suite on University campus).

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  10. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    While I would love the area to be back in my home town, and at an excellent hall like DeMont, trust me the cost is prohibitively expensive - and it has been since it was re-vamped 10-odd years ago. Shame.

    I agree that Warwick Arts Centre would be a good choice. I may well be wrong here, and David maybe you can clarify this, but I seem to remember that most Student Unions have first refusal on the facilites in their Uni. meaning that the MRC wouldn't be able to block book for seveal years in advance. Again a shame.

    Although I can't really suggest anywhere (there are a couple of places in Leicester, but I wouldn't say they were much better than Burton) it does surprise me that there isn't anywhere suitable in Birmingham. I'm not suggesting the Symphony Hall (although that would be nice), but there must be a suitable venue in the sprawl of Birmingham somewhere surely?
  11. kierendinno

    kierendinno Member

    wel maybe 2 far2ward yorkshire but the 2 secondary schools in Worksop are bein rebuilt..... 2 great venues... lots of halls and big spaces.... plus its pfi so they would love to have the area here. plus itd b brill 4 worksop
  12. brittm

    brittm Member

    (This is not targeted at Wooden Flugal)

    I may be in the minority but I would rather pay for a good day out than suffer the complete absense of facility at Burton or a.n. other. A couple of "k" for the use of a hall for the weekend (and that's all we're talking about) set against the enjoyment of all those concerned is surely worthwhile.

    As it stands, the Midlands area contest it a bad joke and I'm not sure how many more I'm willing to turn up to. With all the discussion about a dwindling following for, and membership of bands, why would we continue to prove the message that it's an out of date failing institution.

    My message is that a bit of investment in the quality of venue would mean that I could bring my family, something that I could never do at a venue of the quality of Burton Town Hall. Where are the next generation of bandsmen going to come from of they've been turned off by a wet weekend standing outside a burger van?

  13. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    A few in and around Brumshire...

    What about the ICC in Brum - rarely used at weekends - large rooms with decent stages - countless other halls which could have warmups/waiting space in them...

    Adrian Boult Hall would be good in the Conservatoire...

    Midlands Arts Centre near Edgbaston

    NIA? NEC? CBSO Centre? Birmingham Uni? Aston Uni? UCE?

    Not short of venues... all perhaps more expenisve than at Burton...
  14. SuperMosh

    SuperMosh New Member


    What about Nottingham?
  15. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Martin, I agree with what you are saying, but DeMontfort hall really is out of reach price wise - FYI and last time I heard (which was just after it was refurbished) it cose £25000 per day to hire not including extras like staff, and opening the bar and restaurants.

    So there were 80 bands competing this year over two days. Assuming no discount and adding another couple of grand for the bar etc and other expenses, £52000 / 80 = £650 each to enter. I know my band couldn't afford that, and I would imagine that goes for nearly all bands throughout the Midlands. And can you imagine the uproar on here and elsewhere if the MRC asked this much for us to play at the regionals? All talk of the nice hall would be forgotten in a stroke.

    As I understand it there is little money coming from ticket sales, which is not the fault of the regional committees - would you pay a fiver (or a quid for that matter) to listen to 12 bands struggling to get to grips with Images of the Millenium for example? I know I wouldn't (and didn't)

    I not having a go here, but I know how hard it is to find a venue - bear in mind what has to be considered:
    • Centrally located in a vast area
    • Able to cope with the throughput of about 1000 bandspeople per day
    • Facilities backstage for registration, assembly, and (this would be nice) warm up
    • Ideally 2 halls on one campus
    • A good acoustic to play in
    • Cheap (relatively - remember any cost will be directly passed on to the bands)
    • Good parking facilites - for coaches and cars
    • Bars & resaurants
    When you consider that lot, you see that the MRC and all other regional committees have their work cut out. I know any decent suggestions will be looked at seriously so give them some suggestions to work with, rather than bemoaning the lack of facilities in Burton.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  16. brittm

    brittm Member

    Wooden Flugal,

    I know we're talking semantics but £25k per day doesn't sound even close to the cost of the hall (not even in US$), given that the maximum capacity at De Montford is c.1700, that would mean just to cover the cost of the hall you would have to charge an average £15 per seat have a capacity audience and have no other costs! The figure just doesn't ring true. Incidentally, I've put in a call to Phil Giddings (0116 2333152) at the hall but he's probably watching the football.

    I think your being a bit harsh on my bemoaning the facilities at Burton. If we don't learn from experience we'll surely end up with another poor venue, I thought this was a discussion forum. I might have been a touch more succinct in expressing my opinion but your bullet points show exactly the same requirements.

    I do however unreservedly agree with your third paragraph.

    Back to topic:

    I'm sure phone call to Phillip Biggs would be of benefit in terms of identifying an appropriate venue as he has certain amount of experience in booking halls and will have good idea of location and relative merits.

    Sincerely, Martin
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Hey Martin I wasn't disagreeing with you directly, or trying to flame (maybe quoting you directly wasn't the best idea I've ever had - but I was too slow in replying and my post made no sense at all after the ones after yours). I agree with what you've said - the facilites at Burton are not great, but I've read that time and time again here, and people seem quick to criticise and very slow to actually come up with a workable solution. The reason I replied in a fairly strong tone is that I could see this thread turing into another "Burton is a rubbish venue" thread, and I don't think that would be very helpful to what the MRC is trying to achieve. We all know Burton has issues, and by opening this debate the MRC have have recognised this, and are asking for input from the people who really matter - the banders competing. Personally I find that honesty and openess refreshing.

    I do know that any suggestion will be looked at seriously, so maybe DeMont is in the frame. Incidentally the 25K figure referaces a quote I think the LBBA had when trying to resurrect the old Leicester Contest. Maybe things have changed now, after all back then the place was effectively brand new, but looking at the ticket prices for concerts and gigs there your £15 is about right. Also don't forget you are talking about a full day - maybe 10 or 12 hours, not the average 2-3 hours most gigs and concerts take up.

    But as you say lets not get bogged down in sematics - if DeMont is a suitable price, its ideal - the second hall could be the Uni or Wyggeston school which are both less than 5 minutes walk away and DeMontfort Hall has an OK (only OK though) car park. Going back there would bring back fond memories of the Old Leicestershire Association Contest, and I also made my contesting debut there. I would back DeMontfort all the way, but I still think its beyond what the MRC can afford.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  18. Bones

    Bones Member

    Given that the costs element seems to be a problem, it might be worth our new Secretary, (Congrats on your appointment Lesley, I don't envy you the job) liasing with her opposite numbers to determine how other regional commitees fund the areas.

    As for my two pennorth, instead of looking at this conundrum from the approach of what is available. Why not look at it from a what is required perspective. From my personal opinion, it should be as follows.

    Adequate parking - dedicated for coaches and or vans and close ot the venue
    At least 2 warm up facilities.
    Registration away from the stage, ie close to the warm up facilities
    Refreshments - both alchoholic and non alchoholic. If close to a town centre then so much the better
    Reasonable sized room with raised roof. - no more Nottingham University.

    Now looking at this criteria. I did a google search, and what did I find. Pera Innovation Centre in Melton Mowbray. Accessible for the Notts, Derby, Leicester Bands. Also the Northamptonshire and East Coast band would find it more central I am sure. The facilities listed are as follows.

    The first class conference facilities at the Innovation Park include:

    A conference hall to seat 500 theatre or 340 cabaret style
    Large scale foyer ideal for small scale exhibitions and web demonstrations
    A suite of five meeting rooms with adjacent informal seating/exhibition space
    Additional meeting rooms to seat from 8 - 90
    Free car parking for up to 300 cars
    We can even provide a helipad if required!

    Looking at the map, it is a walk to the town centre.

    Now I've never been here, it might be utter tosh, but it has a conference hall, foyer for trade stands, a'la Symphony Hall, additional rooms for registration, warm up and changing and plenty of car parking. Plus a helipad for adjudicators.

    Also a point to consider. Conference centres in my mind are typically used during the working week, so there is often availability at weekends. Plus the people that run these centres are business people, negotiation is the key here. From what I recall of the Nottingham centre, one room with the tiered seating was quite good, but the other venue with the flat roof, was rubbish So don't dismiss conference centres.

    Got to be worth a look. And that is just one potential unit, I'm sure there are more.


    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  19. davidsait

    davidsait Member

    I'm pretty sure it's not the case. The Warwick Arts Centre is run as an entiterly seperate commerical business to the University. The SU don't really book their facilities for performance that much.

    Hence why the brass band only get the opportunity to hold a concert in the Butterworth Hall once a year, and never on a friday or saturday evening! The dates are offered to the Music Centre and it's usually a case of take it or leave it.
  20. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Wow, I had totally forgotten about that one! It seems years since I played there in the old S. Midlands & East Anglia area! Great venue with lots of facilities.

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