Numbers of Bands in Sections.Qualifying problems

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by E flat fred, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    Numbers of bands in different sections in different areas.

    This is a subject that appears to cause a lot of discussion over the years but never appears to get resolved and I am wondering if readers will; be able to point me in the direction as to where ands to whom I address my concerns.
    In my area the North West, Bands entered for the Areas this year are. 73. Comprised as follows.
    Championship. 11
    1st Sections 10.
    2nd Section 16
    3rd Section 13.
    4th Section 25.
    Surely this is not a level playing field.
    What is the correct procedure to reduce the numbers in the 4th Section to be equally spread among the other section?
    Surely 73 bands in 5 sections could be in the region of 14 in each section and an extra 3 making 17 in the 4th section.
    I am aware of the rulings of Kapitol Promotions that promotion and relegation are governed in the system of 2 up and 2 down if there are more than a certain number of bands in that section but is it not possible that the regional committee can address this situation within the region to formulate evenness in each section.
    West of England also appears to have a similar problem, but it is not for me to speak for them. I am concerned for my area the North West.
    Is it in the hands of the Regional committee to resolve this issue or is it down solely to Kapitol Promotions, the main sponsors of the National Competitions?

    Taking this issue a stage further, qualifying for the finals of the areas appears to be a lottery as to the area you are registered with.
    Extract from the Kapitol web site rules of the competition.

    Up to 16 bands entered ……………………………….. 2 bands qualify
    17 to 24 bands entered ……………………………….. 3 bands qualify
    25 bands and over entered ……………………………. 4 bands qualify

    Taking all the areas there are two 6’s and two 7’s in four sections.
    How can they then be entitled to enter TWO bands in the finals and yet only FOUR bands can qualify when there are over 25 bands entered.
    Would it not be fairer if you achieved a qualifying place in the ratio of 1 place for every 6 bands entered.
    Therefore the rule would read.

    Upto 6 bands entered 1 band qualifies.
    7 to 12 bands entered 2 bands qualify.
    13 to 18 bands entered 3 bands qualify
    19 to 24 bands entered 4 bands qualify.
    Over 25 bands entered 5 bands qualify.

    This system would not increase the number of bands qualifying at all but would give a much fairer spread of equality to the current system.
    If this change has to go to the regional committee’s if agreed by Kapitol I am sure it will be similar to Turkeys voting for Christmas but it might be worth a try for the future of our organisation.
    I trust that this thread will get some response as it appears to be a topic that always creates interest.
  2. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    4th section will always have more bands competing because a band that hasn't registared or competed for a while will increase numbers. To have more bands in 3rd to even out numbers is all ok, but these bands have to be able to compete with already established 3rd section bands and I don't feel they can. If you get promoted to another section without at some point qualifying for the nationals, I feel you will struggle as my ex band did last year!
  3. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    You've obviously given this a lot of thought and spent some time getting familiar with the rules. If you want to propose a change to the rules, you need to contact your regional committee who would then liaise with Kapitol if they think its worth pursuing. The easiest way to get that process started would be to talk to people in other bands and come up with a proposal they will support, and then either talk to someone on the regional committee or go along to one of their meetings.

    Personally, I actually think the issue is with the spread of bands across sections within each region, and the size of some regions. If the regional boundaries were re-drawn to even the numbers out (so each region had the same number of bands in the sections Champ - 3rd), then it wouldn't matter so much how the qualifying numbers were decided because every band would have the same opportunity. 4th section is always going to be a bit problematic because the numbers of entered bands can vary a lot from year to year, but the other 4 sections should stay be pretty consistent.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  4. YRBBC

    YRBBC Member

    The correct way to go about this is for bands, who support this opinion, to write to their regional committee expressing their concern in a proper manner, as E flat fred has done in his post. I am aware that others have the same concerns.

    Seek the support of your regional committe and and request your regional committee to have this concern put on the agenda for discussion at the next Regional Forum. This is the correct, and only way, that any rule changes can be made but it has to be made via, and with the support of, your regional committee.

    Peggy T.
  5. Maybe the number of bands promoted/relegated should also be determined by the number of bands in the section?
  6. marc71178

    marc71178 Member

    Although Fred's concerns have valid basis and it would appear to be well supported, I am fairly sure that this has been raised before by regions and requests to attempt to rectify the situation have been met with refusal by Kapitol. I know our local association have asked our regional committee in the past to raise it and they have been denied.
  7. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    It is!
    If there's less than 10 bands in a section, only 1 go up and down.
  8. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    There are very few NEW bands in the 4th Section.
    If they were not good enough in another section they would be relegated but the numbers would be more equal AFTER the leveling off procedure.
  9. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    There are plenty of new bands that join 4th section in other areas, midlands especially. I know this is a problem.

    We already see yo-yo effect in section, promotion then relegation soon after. This is not a level playing field. You're in a higher section because you are better than the bands you are competing with, not just to make the numbers up. Is that good for bands and moral?
  10. Backrowmike

    Backrowmike Member

    I feel that we have a problem with quality of lower section bands in the North West region. In the last six years the North West has produced 4 National Champions and 11 top six placings. This is certainly not a level playing field and it is not good for other regions when they are competing with bands that certainly would not be in their section regionally. For example Besses Boys were second in the Regionals and second in the Nationals, they are doing well in being placed in regional third section contests, yet they are still in the 4th Section nationally. On another thread, someone is suggesting that the Yorkshire Region relegates more bands to try to raise the quality of their lower section bands! The North West currently has a good number of bands who are better than the bands they are competing with nationally and should be in the next higher section, this needs sorting out for the good of the movement.
  11. Backrowmike

    Backrowmike Member

    Sorry I need to amend my last post, in the last six years the North West has produced 6 National Champions and 11 top six placings. I forgot the two North Western wins in the third section. :redface:
  12. Rebecca Owen

    Rebecca Owen Member

    Definitely agree with this. In the Midlands 4th section we have 27 currently in the grading table with two new comers this year taking the total to 29. Luckily only 20 bands are playing at the contest this year (there was 25 in the programme last year), so it will be a shorter day.

    Compare this to the NE area where there were only 11 bands that played last year or the L&SC area where there were 16. So the chances of being placed in the 4th section in the Midlands are much reduced.

    It does seem that it should be time to change the boundaries. It appears that once the other areas have been given their boundaries, then what is left is a huge chunk of the country which is just called the Midlands. Maybe it is time for North & South Midlands (because to be honest I don't really think an area of the country North of Derby, close to the peak district & Sheffield qualifies as the Midlands anywhere else other than the brass banding world).

    The midlands goes as far east as possible with Skegness band, as far south as Rushden (if they were 20 miles further south then they would be in the L & SC area, as far north as Chesterfield (again 6 miles further north and they would be in the NW area) and as far west as the boundary with Wales.

    Or maybe have an East/West split. Anything to even the numbers out.

    Some bands have a 20 minute drive to the contest venue where as others have over 2 hours. I wonder if this is a reason to why some of the bands that have always been to the contest have suddenly stopped going in the last few years. Bus travel is not cheap, and adding 4 hours travelling time to your day can make it a very long day.

    Ah well, good to get that off my chest. Just my thoughts.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  13. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    It was part of my ex bands reasons for a number of years and beleive it is for a number of bands now. Its a long drive and dosen't put your in a right frame of mind when your on stage.
  14. sunshine

    sunshine Member

    Add to that the extra time added when the bus breaks down as it did one year at the pick up just down the road from where I live. I had to keep running back to my house with band members so they could nip to the loo.

    We arrived with just minutes before going into the warm up room. So as you can imagine not our best performance that year.

    Also last year the main road we used to get to Bedworth was closed due to maintenance until 10am, unfortunately we only found out about it at the top of the slip road at quarter to 8. (Always helpful to carry a spare satnav, for drivers, who dont think they need one.)

    Sunshine x
    1st Bari Corby Silver Band
    1st Bari Boobs & Brass
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Mind the numbers with L&SC... I agree, 16 bands have entered this year - and there has also been a general decline in 4th section numbers at Stevenage in the last 10 years - but there are currently 24 bands in the table, and 12 years ago, 33 bands played. This illustrates nicely the problem with trying to even out 4th section numbers - the variability of the entry, which will always mean that it makes sense to have a larger 4th section entry than in other sections. Another problem is the uneven distribution of bands quality-wise - if you'd rejigged the Southern region 10 years ago solely on the basis of numbers, you'd have moved 10 bands or so up from the 4th section - and degraded the quality of the upper sections (the top bands from which already struggles to compete on the national stage) - and for what? With 17 bands fewer now entering the 4th section, we'd now have a 4th section as small as the one in Wales this year that looks rather concerning combined with woeful and relatively bloated 3rd and 2nd sections.

    In other words, we need to think carefully about any change on this front lest today's solutions become a bigger problem tomorrow than would have occurred if we'd changed nothing...

    I agree that the 'Midlands' is a rather ill-defined entity geographically, more defined by omission than inclusion, i.e. not this, not that, not the other rather than 'it is this bit'.

    I think we need to take a nationwide approach to any redrawing of boundaries. It seems to me that we have following problem areas currently:

    1) Too few bands in the Wales area, especially in 4th and top sections, where there are 5 and 7 entrants this year respectively. No section has more than 10 - 40 bands entered total.
    2) Too few bands in the North of England area, especially in 3rd (6 bands) and 1st sections (5 bands). No section has more than 10 - 38 bands entered total.
    3) Too few bands in the Scotland area, especially in 4th (7 bands - although 5 more entered and then withdrew, I believe) - 49 bands entered total.
    4) A disproportionate number of bands in the 4th section in the NW.
    5) Ditto in Midlands.
    6) Ditto in West of England.
    7) It is claimed in this thread that a number of NW 4th section bands outshine other 4th section areas.

    Here's the actual tottings-up for each area for each section this year:

    Area: C, 1, 2, 3, 4 : total
    L&SC: 12, 17, 18, 14, 16 : total 77
    Midlands: 12, 18, 11, 15, 20 : total 76
    North: 10, 5, 8, 6, 9 : total 38
    NW: 11, 10, 16, 13, 23 : total 73
    Scotland: 10, 9, 12, 11, 7 : total 49
    Wales: 7, 10, 10, 8, 5 : total 40
    West: 11, 15, 14, 12, 22 : total 74
    Yorks: 12, 9, 12, 12, 13 : total 58

    However, trying out possible improvements quickly shows that there are plenty of difficult issues to be taken into account, many of them conflicting. Most can be drawn together under a couple of general headings:
    1) Uneven distribution. The bands that it would be useful to put into a different area are not generally in positions that make it possible to do this! e.g. There are too many bands of low standard in the West, L&SC and Midlands areas - these 4th section bands cannot go anywhere else easily... e.g. 2 There are clusters of top bands in several places, particularly South Wales and the Northern industrial belt - moving any of these geographical areas to a different region would create an unfair glut of top bands in that region.
    2) Loyalism. People are attached to their geographical affiliations. Imagine the uproar if you carved up Yorkshire between the North, the NW, and the Midlands in order to have enough bands to make both a West Midlands and an East Midlands area! Or if you added the counties along the Welsh border to Wales to bolster Welsh numbers, and then moved the area to somewhere central like Shrewsbury.

    By the by, I believe the West Midlands plus East Midlands area idea was tried in the 80s, but abandoned due to insufficient bands. I'm sure someone else knows more about this than I do? Similarly, Wales was unsuccessfully split into South and North.
  16. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    It does seem that it should be time to change the boundaries. It appears that once the other areas have been given their boundaries, then what is left is a huge chunk of the country which is just called the Midlands. Maybe it is time for North & South Midlands (because to be honest I don't really think an area of the country North of Derby, close to the peak district & Sheffield qualifies as the Midlands anywhere else other than the brass banding world).

    The midlands goes as far east as possible with Skegness band, as far south as Rushden (if they were 20 miles further south then they would be in the L & SC area, as far north as Chesterfield (again 6 miles further north and they would be in the NW area) and as far west as the boundary with Wales.

    As the above post states....................Market Rasen, Skegness, Horncastle in the Midlands? wherever the contest takes place it is a 2 + Hour journey for these bands (very few arterial routes) an early pre draw meaning 2 drivers ensures any band is £600 down before a note is blown. I spent all of my playing days in Yorkshire, ah so easy, then over 2 week ends 30+ bands in the lower sections.
    Aything can be changed for the benefit of all, and to the detriment of none, however, to change anything, there must be a WILL to listen and a WANT to see things better. The powers that be appear lacking in the latter.
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Go on then, suggest a way to change it that makes things better for everyone - there aren't enough bands up and down the sections in the Midlands to just split the area into two, so that doesn't work as a solution...
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It should be noted that the journey that Lincolnshire bands make to the Midlands areas is not extraordinary by the standards of other areas - there are bands in each of Scotland, Wales, West of England, London and Southern Counties, and North of England that make journeys that take as long - and some of them markedly longer.
  19. Rebecca Owen

    Rebecca Owen Member

    Thank you Moomin Dave for your response to my post. You obviously have a much better understanding of the history of the area contests than I do.

    I would just like to restate that my post was just a few thoughts I had, not really serious suggestions. People have been complaining about the size of sections for years, and I do understand that if there were to be any changes, then it couldn't possibly be a quick decision to to solve the problem of numbers - as it would create many other problems in doing so.

    I do believe that it is sensible for the 4th section to be the largest - but when it is so much larger than the 4th sections in other areas, that is what I don't find fair. I believe that the yorkshire catchment area is for the north, west and south yorkshire counties, where as there are at least 11 counties in the Midlands (not including Norfolk and Suffolk). Now there might be less bands per county in the midlands, but as you have posted there are 76 bands in the midlands, 58 in yorkshire and only 38 in the North. So double the amount in the midlands compared to the north of england - surely this shows that something (whatever it is) needs to be done. The 20 bands competing in the midlands are part of the 29 that are currently registered in the 4th section. Maybe next year it will be more - last year it was 25 and there has been 2 completely new entrants this year.

    I wouldn't suggested that bands are promoted to the 3rd section just to lessen the numbers in the 4th. There is a huge difference in the standard between the 3rd and 4th section in the Midlands and it seems mean to promote bands, just to have them back in the 4th section the next year if they can't keep up with the standard of the 3rd.

    As for loyalism - I think bands will be happy to play wherever is convenient and reasonably close to their practise room, I do know of one band, previously in the Midlands, who have changed their practise room, to one a couple of hundred yards up the road and now compete in a different geographical area, with less bands in the section. I wouldn't call that particularly loyal.
  20. Rebecca Owen

    Rebecca Owen Member

    Instead of spliting the area in two, bands could be "invited" to play in another area. Therefore being their choice. As my previous post stated one band chose to move, so they could play in another area. There are another 2 bands, very close geographically to the band that has already moved, who travel 2 hours to bedford, but if they played at bradford it would only take them an hour.

    Maybe bands that are within 15 or so miles of a boundary could be asked if they would like to move.

    Again this is just a thought.

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