We all know that brass bands in South East Wales have been in decline in recent years, with many bands that were once oversubscribed now desperately struggling to recruit players. Pontypool brass band, after struggling for many years to attract new players, have finally got an almost full band thanks to the efforts of their musical director and loyal members and supporters. Many excellent players who had left banding were attracted back to the brass band scene to join Pontypool band and were rewarded with winning the regional contest in March of this year, when only a year previously they did not have a band to compete with. Moral within the band was at an all time high and the players were looking forward in anticipation of competing in the SEWBBA contest at Ebbw Vale in May. The new secretary of the band paid the contesting fees in January, believing that everything was in order for contesting in 2009. However, it now appears that a form (that the secretary did not receive and being new to the role did not know about) was not completed and instead of contacting the band to request the form from them, SEWBBA are instead preventing Pontypool from contesting at Ebbw Vale. Instead of supporting an up and coming band, the association are refusing to be lenient in any way. The band appreciates that rules are there for a reason and wish to keep to them, so would have returned the form along with the payment, had they received it. What we want to know is why, at a time when the brass banding community is in such decline, they are putting an improving band at risk of losing players over such a trivial point. Support, don't destroy our bands SWEBBA.