Midlanders - Would you pay more for better?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Di, Mar 14, 2005.


Burton Town Hall - to be or not to be?

  1. I would like to move to a different venue and would be happy to pay more.

    41 vote(s)
  2. I would like to move to a different venue but wouldn't be happy to pay more.

    7 vote(s)
  3. What's all the fuss about?

    13 vote(s)
  1. Di

    Di Active Member

    Having just spent a third day at the Midlands area, I would be interested in some other peoples points of view on the venue and its facilities. For the non-Midlanders among you, I have included some photos and explanations.

    I realise that it is a major expenditure to hire a venue for this type of event, but can we, as the paying public help achieve an improvement by paying a little more?

    Photo 1. The car park. Parking for approximately 20 cars outside the hall. There is some street parking locally, but with 20 odd bands, it can take quite a while to find a spot.

    Photo 2. The "catering" facilities. Yes, just one stand selling burgers, hot dogs, bacon rolls, mars bars, kit kats and chips, tea, coffee and a small selection of canned drinks. There is NO covered area to eat, NO chairs, NO tables. We're lucky to have had just had one light snow shower today!

    Photo 3. The "missing" trade stands area. A little disappointing for the fourth section today. This is the closed door to the room where the trade stands WOULD have been had they turned up for the fouth section! I’ve since learnt there were no trade stands for the second section either (thanks for that little bit of info Mr B.)

    Photo 4. Apart from what WOULD have been the trade stand room, this small corridor is the only inside space at the venue other than in the performance hall. There is no seating, at all outside the auditorium. Tickets* are on sale at the top of the corrider, meaning those that need to buy tickets are holding up those behind who have them.

    * Tickets must be bought for each day of the contest (run over a total of four days!)

    Photo 5. The two toilets! These two toilets are the only ones available during a performance. They are locked and you need to get a security guard to open them. There is another set of each, ladies and gents, which are inside the auditorium area and can only be got to between performances. I believe there may be one back stage somewhere, but not entirely sure.

    Now, I'm not an expert on the matter, but there MUST be a venue out there somewhere that could better serve the Midlands Regional Contest. If we had a bigger venue that cost more, but could accommodate two competitions, it would only have to used for half as much time. I'm sure with some sort of poll/questionnaire to the bands in the area we could come up with ideas on ticket costing, special offers for multiple attendance etc.

    Perhaps some members from other areas could tell us about their venues, ticket prices and value for money by filling out my little questionnaire.

    Which area do you attend?
    What is the spectators ticket price?
    How many sections does this ticket cover?
    How do you rate you facilities out of 10?
    How do you rate the value for money out of 10?

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  2. Craig_Baritone

    Craig_Baritone Member

    Kirkby in Ashfield
    Be good if they could take it back to Nottingham for 2006 There is more things to while your not playing! Only a few minute walk wherever the contest is into the city centre!
    Plus the Venue is a little better in Nottingham !!

    Kirkby Band
  3. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Which area do you attend? NW
    What is the spectators ticket price? £8.00
    How many sections does this ticket cover? All
    How do you rate your facilities out of 10? 12
    How do you rate the value for money out of 10? 15

    Blackpool is a first rate venue: there are plenty of bars, eateries and other entertainments, though most people seem to want to crush themselves into the rather noisy spanish bar. That's their choice. Parking is a bit of a problem if you have to drive (as I did on Sunday) but if you're on a coach it's fine. Plenty of toilet facilities as well.

    The big lack at Blackpool is that of a warming up area before you go on. At Harrogate it was noticeable that bands could blow through and settle after getting registered. I found that made me feel more relaxed.
  4. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Which area do you attend?
    I have attended West of England, Northwest and Midlands

    What is the spectators ticket price?
    between £5 and £8.... WoE you have to pay for each day I believe...

    How many sections does this ticket cover?
    Northwest and WoE ALL... midlands dunno.... only played.

    How do you rate you facilities out of 10?
    NW- 8; WoE- 9; Midlands- 4

    How do you rate the value for money out of 10?
    NW- 8; WoE- 8; Midlands- 4
  5. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    Loughborough University would be a fantastic venue for a contest.
    There is the autditorium in the Union and a couple of very large lecture theatres within the university which have semi-decent acoustics.
    It would be possible to register bands in rooms away from the contest stage so there would be as much proper playing as people would want without disturbing the performance.
    Plenty of space for trade stands in the Union.
    Plenty of rooms around the contest hall to leave kit.
    Plenty of space for coaches around campus.
    Lots of drinking and socialising space in the Union and on campus.

    Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to hold the areas there because it is during term time and it would be very expensive to book all the required facilities.

    Which area do you attend? Midland
    What is the spectators ticket price? Not a clue!
    How many sections does this ticket cover? One day at a time
    How do you rate you facilities out of 10? 3
    How do you rate the value for money out of 10? 3
  6. midlandbass

    midlandbass Member

    cradley heath
    I would have to say that there must be a better place for a contest! Although the acoustic in the hall is pretty good there is so much else wrong :

    Parking is terrible - try dragging a Bb bass over 1/2 a mile to the contest, playing, then dragging it back again. There was quite a bit of space in the car park at the rear, but entry was prohibited.
    The warming up set up is not good. After warming up you are then expected to walk outside across the road (and sometimes through a wedding in progress like last year!) and then go to register. Maybe they could consider allowing a brief warm up on stage like most orchestras do, or doing registration across the road so reducing the time between blowing.
    I do understand the huge cost of running the contest (which I suspect was the problem with Nottingham), but I read one suggestion smoewhere that said most bands were not that bothered about the prize money, and I would have to agree, it is the placing that seems more important at this particular contest.

    Having said all that I cannot give any other idea apart from County Hall at Matlock which has loads of space and from memory parking, with bars, pubs and a town centre in walking distance. No idea what it would cost though.

    Just my thoughts!
  7. katej

    katej Member

    The midlands spectator tickets were £5 for adult and £4 for concessions. There is nowhere to go and when you have young players in a band, it would be nice for the whole band to be able to get a drink together without having to take it in shifts to look after younger members! Facilities are v.poor and the backstage toilets, hmm one cubicle for ladies and no lock on the door! I heard that the trade stands were not there cos of the cost of hiring the room? I was disappointed at not being able to go round them and also not having anywhere to sit except in the hall or on the coach!
    I heard a rumour that we could use Symphony Hall in birmingham but not sure how true that is or what the cost would be.
    But as regions go I would happily move somewhere else

  8. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Which area do you attend? NW
    What is the spectators ticket price? ermmmm £5?
    How many sections does this ticket cover? ALL - on the same day
    How do you rate you facilities out of 10? 8
    How do you rate the value for money out of 10? 8

    I think the Winter Gardens is a fab venue in general - big enough to run the whole area in one day (which makes a big difference). VFM wise it is good as the one ticket covers all sections so not expensive. The acoustics aren't great INHO in some of the rooms. The social facilities are excellent plenty of places to eat/drink within the complex itself and lots of pubs in the surrounding areas. My only real compliant is the lack of warm up rooms and changing facilities (certainly for sections 2 and 3 which are the only ones I have played in at Blackpool). The sign-on 'warm-up' (if you can call it that) is right near the stage so no blowing aloud. There are also no changing facilties (unless you count the toilets) which isn't good.

    I played in the midlands for a good number of years and I agree that Burton Hall isn't a good place for the contest. A bigger place is needed so that the contest doens't need to be split over 4 different days. Somewhere with a proper bar etc. The parking certainly is awful too.
  9. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    South London
    I'm not sure how much it costs (could be quite a lot) but Warwick Arts Centre could work pretty well. There's a great hall (very nice acoustic to play and listen in), a soundproofed music centre to warm up in, a decent bar plus the bars across the way, with cheap beer, and there's a number of multistorey car parks. With a bit of organisation you could probably get all the sections in over 1 weekend.

    The prize money as it stands is pretty rubbish anyway, and I can't imagine anyone budgeting for winning the regionals, so why don't we just scrap it? It'd save a couple of grand which could be spent on a decent venue.
  10. Dawnys_flug

    Dawnys_flug Member

    I agree the venue is pretty pants, and such was it's pantsness, i was forced to spend all day in the pub down the road! ;)
    Joking aside, the facilities are pretty useless.
    Deffo agree with the lack of toilets! It's a joke that there are such few toilets for a venue like that. I found one backstage! Although i had to go even futher through the kitchens etc. than you have to play to find it and when i got there it didn't even have a lock! :confused:

    The hall is pretty nice but the rest of the place just doesn't live up to it. As Dinie said, there's nowhere for people to go apart from the hall and so i didn't get to see anyone! (apart from Naomi who found me in the pub :p )

    I suppose we were quite lucky that 3rd section was on the same day as Champ, so i did get to see a few of my friends, but the other sections were on their own. Surely having it at a venue similar to winter gardens and having all sections at the same time would make it a much more fun day! (and give everyone a bar to meet in!)
  11. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    Generally couldn't agree more. I went to the Winter Gardens to watch last year and it was much better than Burton! I don't think the areas are about the money, more about the rankings. THey should reduce the prize money and give us a better venue altogether.
    We need a beer tent or just somewhere where all the bands can do some interband bonding!
  12. Robin Norman

    Robin Norman Member

    Huntingdon, Cambs.
    Burton is really not band or audience-friendly at all. However it is a marked improvement on the Nottingham convention centre of a few years which, at times, was dangerous.

    Some other ideas for the Midlands :-

    Birmingham Conservatoire (The Adrian Boult Hall with their Recital Hall or Board Room as a possible warm-up places - Also has tons of rehearsal space)

    Warwick Arts Centre (A cracking venue but, so I hear, very expensive)

    Hall 10, Birmingham ICC (In the same complex as Symphony Hall but still seats 800+, used for party conferences etc)

    De Montford Hall, Leicester

    Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham

    CBSO Centre, Birmingham

    As a side-issue I hear that Symphony Hall in Birmingham was offered to the regional committee a few years back for only a little more than they pay for Burton but it was discounted due to the fact it was in Birmingham. Can anyone confirm this?

    Personally I would rather be performing in a decent school hall than in Burton Town Hall, but this is only my opinion.
  13. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    No way!! The East Midlands Conference Centre was a dreadful place to play in. It's a lecture theatre so the acoustic is all wrong for any type of musical event. Plus having the bar in a tent on a 1 in 4 slope is hardly the height of luxury...:frown:

    At least the acoustic in Burton is OK - but you are quite right, Dinie. The rest of the facilities in the town hall leave a lot to be desired. Although I think the question you need to be asking is how much is the entry fee for the competing bands...I would doubt that the admission fees on the door amount to much more than [guess] 30% of the revenue raised. Is the bands' entry fee fixed by BFBB?

    I know there are issues with location - the midlands area covers a huge...erm...well....area. From High Peak area of Derbyshire to the bottom of Warwickshire, from the east coast to the Welsh border, so finding a central venue is tricky and no doubt political too.

    As for some of the suggestions - DeMontfort Hall Leicester - Great place to play in, but hugely expensive since it was refitted several years ago - hence the demise of the Old Leicester Festival Contest which used to be held there.

    Loughborugh and Warwick, while both suitable are not really centrally located.
    I don't know the halls in Birmingham - except the Symphony hall which I would guess would be too expensive perhaps there is somewhere in Birmingham to hold the area?

    I understand its a tricky situation but as has been said already there must be somewhere better, surely???
  14. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    West Midlands
    The facilites are a utter waste of time CHEAP TAT RUBBISH.

    Its about time the Area moved back to Leicester De montford Hall or Royal Albert Hall Nottingham or Royal Concert hall/ Assembley Rooms Derby S*D the expense .
    All you get is a tea bar and nothing else.:rolleyes:
    Total cheap skates the MIDLAND AREA IS.
    Car park useless have to park in the street.:(
    The only good thing about it is that its only 15 mins from our band room.:tup
    But apart from that it is no good at all!!!:mad:
    Come on the rest of you MIDLAND BANDERS get your point on here and maybe some one will take note
  15. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    agreed on both points Ian! :clap:
  16. Fergus

    Fergus Member

    Which area do you attend? Scottish
    What is the spectators ticket price? £5
    How many sections does this ticket cover? 2 or 3
    How do you rate you facilities out of 10? 10
    How do you rate the value for money out of 10? 10

    As I've said in an earlier thread - a huge well done to SABBA for the change of venue for the Scottish this year. The Caird Hall in Dundee was superb - & here's hoping we'll have many more contests there.
  17. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Yes Burton isn't the greatest place to play, no one can deny. But one thing I would say is this. Whilst Symphony Hall is a fantastic place to play, with fantastic facilities (done quite a few concerts there over time), would the Midlands Area actually fill it, for what would work out as a whole weekend? I doubt it personally. In my years doing the areas at Burton I've not seen it full, except the last band before the results. Would it be worth the extra cost to play in a fantastic venue but with hardly any audience?
  18. cornetblower

    cornetblower Member

    Totally agree.

    I don' t think we'd fill it either. The Adrian Boult Hall is possibly a better bet.
    Traffic & parking could be a nightmare though.
  19. stewie76

    stewie76 Member


    The only place that has all the facilities,parking, sound quality, and most importantly atmosphere is....... De Montfort Hall..... The old area contest there was as dramatic as any of the other contests in it's day and any other venue available now....
    The Queen's hall at the university is just as good for some of the lower sections if needed, and has excellent facilities and parking to boot, though I would much prefer that all sections use De Mont.
  20. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    In a dark, dark place.
    God knows why they hired the EMCC when the university has two specially designed concert halls and another hall with good acoustic on site?

    Burton was a waste of space, it just encourages people to play and leave (which is pretty much what I did). Having no trade stands was a nuisance as well as I was in the market for a mouthpiece!
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