The effect of the recession on brass bands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by nhrg, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. nhrg

    nhrg Member

    What effect will the economic downturn have on brass bands?
    What risks does it pose and how can bands prepare?

    As a starter for 10 I thought of the following issues:

    1) withdrawal of sponsorship leads to some bands collapsing
    2) less bookings/jobs due to fewer weddings, corporate bookings, parties etc
    3) decrease in concert revenue as audiences cut back on non-essentials
    4) decrease in overall fees as corporate people review fees for jobs
    5) more second hand instruments on the market as players sell old instruments
    6) less player mobility as people don't move jobs
    7) players may start asking for money to play if they are suffering financially
    8) less purchases of new instruments and music by bands due to falling revenues
    9) err
    10) that's it so far

    I guess some of things bands can do are:

    1) stay in touch with existing jobs and bookings contacts to protect existing revenue
    2) prepare to pitch for more jobs at lower prices
    3) cut ticket prices for concerts
    4) ask for the government to buy them out then refuse to play for small businesses
    5) take money from the taxpayer and spend it all on Christmas parties
    6) seek sponsorship from a bank, we own them so why not?
    7) do nothing and accept it's going to be a tough year
    8)look for new jobs
    9) contest less
    10) reduce transport costs - cut back on coaches, players drive themselves to gigs

    any more?
  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    1) withdrawal of sponsorship leads to some bands collapsing
    2) less bookings/jobs due to fewer weddings, corporate bookings, parties etc
    3) decrease in concert revenue as audiences cut back on non-essentials
    4) decrease in overall fees as corporate people review fees for jobs
    7) players may start asking for money to play if they are suffering financially

    I think these ones have all been happening for a lot longer than the latest economic downturn. Over the last 10-20 years there's been noticeably fewer decent gigs and sponsorship deals to be had, the average fee for bread & butter jobs has stayed fairly static, the decline in audiences seems to be more about age demographichs and more better-things-to-do than the price of a ticket, and there will always be mercenaries out there who try (and manage) to make a profit out of banding.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It may be my imagination, but there seems to be more of a buzz in the musical world at the moment - I'm seeing more commitment to bands, more paid gigs floating around now than there were this time last year... Reports from a few others seem to corroborate this.

    My guess is that people are, out of their social time, giving their hobbies more attention - to do so is relatively cheap, sustainable, and gives an instant feel-good payback - and so we buck the gloomy trend.

    So maybe we should be optimistic. After all, the arts generally perform pretty well when other things are scarce.
  4. Mad BLC

    Mad BLC New Member

    I agree with Alex. There appears to a decline in the availability of paid jobs for bands in recent years or is it that there are more bands having to compete for them? It also depends somewhat on the atitude of the band personnel. Plenty of charity ones on offer which might generate publicity for future paid events (or not) but some bands choose to opt out of these as it appears beneath them or just too expensive to put a respectable band out. Choosing only high profile or highly paid options. I have noted the contrast in band financial management amoungst a number of bands I am associated with. Some bands have subs, others dont. Some wont pay dep fees and rely on good will while others do. The latter I think is a little unfair in bands who have subscription members who are technically funding (in some cases) the profit of others. Although I appreciate that its a necessity in some instances if a band is to perform to their best in public in order to maintain their image. I have always felt that the true dedicated members are the souls that commit themselves to the dreaded christmas carolling season which is for many bands the hard bread and butter graft to fill the coffers for the start of the next year. Its a job thats just got to be done but often noted by the absence of some band members who only choose to feature in the more 'comfortable' and convenient surroundings. The irony is that usually they are the ones that have the newest band instrument. Fund raising is a challenge for any organisation and without a benefactor or some kind will always be a hurdle to overcome.
  5. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    We have overcome this economic downturn by selling dodgy christmas cards :)
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

  7. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I'm not sure about a downturn. We've taken bookings as far in advance as September 09 for increased fee's, Have just done 3 weddings at very good fee's, and have 3 or four more booked in for next spring. We raised more than ever at this years Craft fayre (late Sept). I fully expect to take re-bookings following this years gigs over the christmas period, with the expection of one or two jobs we take on, fee's are still increasing year on year, and we've never done more contests than we can afford, usually about 4-6 a year, Maybe we're the exception. I dont' think we are that different to any other brass band.

    AND - I would be delighted if the credit crunch lead to better attendance at rehearsals as a result of them being an enjoyable night out!!


    The credit crunch has been good for me so far,healthwise and band wise,our overtime has been cut,so instead of working a 70 hr week and missing half of the band practices, I now work 39 hrs. I havn t noticed any financial loss and it makes me wonder where all the extra money went.I now have more time for hobbies and practice and seem to be enjoying banding more than ever.

    IYOUNG Member

    I agree, although it hasn't affected me personally, the band scene has never been busier and we enjoyed a bumper charity collection last saturday....bookings are up next year as well.

    Band members don't pay subscriptions so no effect there
  10. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    Similar for us. We have a full calendar for 2009 and have had to start turning jobs down.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I wonder if the effects have still to affect bands during 2009. Do bands have guarantees that the contracts will be honoured or is there room for cancellations or renegotiation? The changes so far have been swift and not much time has been given for many to re-evaluate their circumstances.
  12. Someone made a good point today when I was in a meeting at work, "if we don't talk about the recession then it won't be as big and as noticed as it is at the moment because of all the doom and gloom the media. So, if the media stopped going on about it then it won't effect us as much because we won't constantly worry about it!"

    I thought it was quite a good point!
  13. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Sorry, but I must disagree. If you stick your head in the sand, someone will kick your a*se.

    The fact is we are in a recession and have got nothing in the piggy bank to help us through it. Vast amounts of our gold reserves were sold when it wasn't necessary and now we need them they aren't there. Which is why the Government is having to borrow, borrow and borrow.

    If you're in a secure job, or are retired and on a gold-plated public service pension, there's not much to worry about.

    If your firm is laying people off, if you're already unemployed, if you're a house owner in negative equity or in arrears with your mortgage repayments, if you're approaching retirement and have seen the value of your pension pot nose-dive, not talking about it isn't going to make it go away.
  14. Despot

    Despot Member

    Well my band pays subs and doesn't depend on sponsorships or regular paying gigs. But on the whole though I'd say the demand for the band to play gigs is increasing. (Perhaps organisers see bands as lower cost entertainment...depending on how much you charge!)

    An economic downturn could result in members having to move away to get get jobs elsewhere, but because of our location, that could happen anyway in good times or bad. With less overtime and less part-time jobs for students, one result we're seeing is an increase in attendance at rehearsals.

    Also, sterling is very weak, and now with the drop in VAT everything from the UK suddenly beccomes that bit cheaper. And for those bands looking at capital projects, with the building market slowing, it might soon be time to start building.

    On the whole, while a recession may lead to difficulties for individuals, I don't see it affecting our band greatly.
  15. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    The recession is certainly giving my rear a deft kick or two!
    The bands getting by fine though.
  16. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    You don't work for a bank by any chance do you?:-?
  17. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Recession? What recession?

    I am as busy as I have ever been , more quotes this month than any month sincs 2004 !

    I say again, whatb recession ?
  18. Well this all sonds really positive. There's 2 options I suppose.

    Either the bad times haven't kicked in within banding, or people are supporting their local bands instead of spending on those expensive cars and holidays.

    Let's just hope it's the 2nd one.


    I don t see anyone walking around with holes in their shoes or eating crow pie like they did in the 1920s and 30 s.Even in the early sixties I remember my grandad keeping a pig called percy in his outhouse..I used to feed it when I visited. One christmas I was sat at the table and asked where percy was,he said "on your plate lad ".Look at the number of overweight people about (me included )Crunch...what crunch ?Bands were more popular in the last depression than they are now, look at the number of extinct ones now.I don t think it will affect banding has nt at Butlins s going to be madness at Skeggy !
  20. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    STUART HAIGH, a one man walking Monty Python sketch :biggrin: