The Europeans!! Brilliant Event but what happened to the crowds?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stephenmrry, May 14, 2007.

  1. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Ok i decided to set this topic up to ask what happened at the euros this year. I attened Friday and All day Saturday and must admit it was a stunning event which i felt was excellently run by BFBB and congrats to all involved there. My question is why did people not support it? The friday evening was ok not by any means full but i think this is the best time for this contest. A few reasons are that to put all the top section in one day would be a disaster as i dont think there is one person who would sit through potentialy 28 bands in a row lets be honest and that is eight hours which should u start at 10 would leave u finishing at 6 which is a very long day of non-stop banding. I also think it would see the end of the B-section as nobody would go to it at all if it was on the friday night.

    I felt saturday as always was well attended with well over half the hall full for the big names and even some of the not so big names. However saturday nights gala was very badly attended. I think this was a disgrace. The concert contrary to what some might say was excellent. Ok the whistler was for me a gimmick and was a waste of ten minutes however Willebroek where in fine form and the EYBB where fantastic. Of course we all know had it been Black Dyke then perhaps it would have been full however when we go to Norway next year i can Gaurentee they will sell out the gala.

    I came over from Ireland for the contest and wouldnt miss it for the world but why do the British banding community show such arrogance and really a lack of respect for the continental bands. I thought it was fantastic to see Hans Gansch sit in for all bands that he could during the contest along with his fellow band members however was a cory or fodens player anywhere to be seen. Its time people began to smell the salt and look around because the Brits in my opinion have began to fall down the ladder and the continental bands of Willebroek and Stavanger are taking over.

    Now i know already people will say they are not willing to pay 20 pound for the gala however there was 40 pound all day friday and saturday ticket so i dont think that its good enough reason not to go. If i lived in england i would go to brass band concerts left right and centre be it a championships section band or a 4th section band i would go because i love banding but i think people have become blinded and lost vision of what this movement is about. Of course some bands are better than others that is the same in anything in life however we need to support each other. Bands across the world have the same problems regardless of weather ur Black Dyke or a 4th section band and i think its awful that people would snub the gala concert like they did this year.

    To end i would just like to say i know there are people out there who what i have said above does not apply too but unfortunately there are many who it does apply to and i think its high time people coped on!!
  2. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

  3. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

  4. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Very mature!
  5. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    I never called into question the excellent standard of the British bands i said the european bands have began to match up to them and in my opinion have become their equals. Even some of the top players admit that it is happening and that gone are the days when the top uk bands walk in and walk out with first prize. I make a whole hearted apology about the arrongance and lack of respect comment! However i wonder why people did not go?

    On The irish bands there is no chance of us ever winning the european! We do not have the funding let alone the players to do it. All our great players either go to orchestras or go to england. However we are doing are best with what we got. To give u an idea of how bad it is in terms of funding the third place band at the euros gets more than we get in a year!!!!
  6. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    No probs Stephen!
    I think the first non british winner was way back in the late eighties, so to accuse the british of not taking them seriously is probably unfair.
    I think British Bands would still want to win the National or the Open over the European perhaps that`s the difference!
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Three reasons why I didn't go to the gala concert for the results (having listened to every band on Saturday afternoon):

    The whistler: Although I'm sure he is a fine musician, I know I would have been much more tempted if we were going to be listening to, for example, David Thornton playing one of the many fine Euph concertos available, or even the winner of the solo contest performing again. I really don't want to hear a bloke whistling (no matter how well he does it), and frankly the BFBB should be ashamed for their failure to get a world class brass band soloist to feature in one of the biggest showpiece band concerts of the year. No wonder brass bands are seen as "jokey" and not a serious musical force by the wider public.

    The cost: Having shelled out £20 for the day plus train fare, a programme, lunch and a few beers, I'm disinclined to shell out a further £15 for a gala concert (featuring a soloist I don't want to listen to).

    The timing: To be sure of hearing the results at the end of the contest I would have to drive (and therefore not have the aforementioned few beers) OR stay the night, because public transport out of Birmingham is non-existent at the time the concert finished. I know this is not the EBBA or BFBB's fault, but it explains a lot of the empty seats imho. I couldn't have gone to the concert and got the train home.

    If a ticket for the whole day was £20-25, and the gala concert and results ceremony started an hour after the last band finished (thereby finishing around 8.30), there would have been a lot more people there, I reckon.
  8. Texus

    Texus Member

    All good points!
    I would like to point out that there was very little publicity provided anywhere about the event (apart from 4BR). This can't help the situation. It is also worth remembering that people such as myself would have loved to attend but couldn't due to concert commitments.

    Also - i have to fund several weekends away with my own band ie. Cambridge and Preston. Very expensive!
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The timing of events such as the Saturday is always going to be difficult, as you weigh up the likelihood of people who'd been there all day for the contests then choosing to stay to an evening concert. Speaking personally, although we did have to keep an eye on the time as our last train was just after 11, I don't know that we would have stayed for the concert had there not been time to get something to eat in between the contest ending and the concert beginning.

    It is certainly the case that it does make it a long day, and quite an intense one with the concentration on the contest performances during the afternoon, and I can fully understand those people who felt the evening concert represented "a bridge too far". As for the content, good as it was musically - and I know the presence of the whistler definitely polarized the audience into two camps - it didn't have the showmanship and appeal that we have had in the past. Personally, I enjoyed what was presented more than I had anticipated, but I don't know that I would have forked out if I hadn't bought the tickets before the programme was announced.

    Although the audiences were not as large as they could have been, it was noticeable that more of those who were there stayed in the hall to hear more bands, with the bars not becoming as crowded as is sometimes the case. Whilst it is true that more people probably could have made the effort to come along, that should not be allowed to detract from the overall success of the event: it was those who failed to attend who missed out, whilst the rest of us enjoyed a feast of good music and a great chance to meet up with fellow-banders.
  10. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    You could have heard Willebroek's Stef Pillaert play Harlequin...
    (I announced the program here on tMP!)
  11. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    My apologies, Jan, I missed that!

    However, there's still a difference between a member of the band playing a stand-up solo (supremely talented though I know he is) and a genuine guest soloist of international renown - I just think that the BFBB missed a trick. In terms of major brass band concerts, the European Gala Concert is the absolute pinnacle showpiece concert in European banding - why could we not have Roger Webster, or maybe someone like Christian Lindbergh? Or Simone Rebello? Presumably cost is the major issue, but it seems like a missed opportunity to me.
  12. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    I would have to agree that the whistler all be it very talented was a bit of a gimmick i actually thought he was a tin whistler not an actual whistler. Mind u his rendition of czardas had to be seen to be believed but roger webster would have rounded off the concert nicely! Willebroek where great on there own and then put webster with the youth band that would have been perfect! So basically the general feeling is the lack of an international soloist was what the concert lacked. However i was of the opinion that the gala was suppose to feature something of the countries culture so possibly there could have been more of that element as well
  13. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    I didn't go 1/ Cs we had Buxton contest
    2/ I am a student and couldnt really afford it, actually i probably would have spent the money on it but other years but i can't really see spending that amount of money when it is in birmingham...if it were in a different countrie i probably would have made more of an effort to go. (If we didn't have Buxton that i) as I have with previous years.

    I know a few who were n a similar situation money-wise.
  14. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I totally agree with you.
    I remember the gala concert of the 2002 European's in Brussels: Black Dyke playing Call of the Cossacks, YBS Hymn of the Highlands (possibly both premieres?), And both did a piece with a Belgian top soloist as well (Stef Pillaert with BD, Ivan Meylemans with YBS).

    I'm still disappointed that I couldn't make it to that concert :( I know several people who still say that was one of the most memorable brass band concerts in Belgium ever.

    Or how about YBS playing Apocalypse (in Bergen, I think?). Amazing...
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  15. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I didn't go to the European event because I spend over three quarters of my weekends doing band concerts, contests, recordings and extra rehearsals. The prospect of going to the contest was tempting but not to the gala concert. Whilst people may rightly highlight that the whistler may have been perceived as a gimmick, and yes it probably does strengthen pre-existing stereotypes it does have an added variety to the concert. Perhaps the addition of the whistler was a gamble but from a personal perspective, with all due respect to the top banding soloists in this country (and possibly beyond) I would actually like to have something different to go and see if I had to go to a gala concert. No arguing the quality of messers Thornton and Webster, but their addition to a weekend of brass band followed by brass band followed by brass band would be so tedious. How about having Boban Markovic or another type of brass band?? Or something completely outside of brass...the old....its a band event for banders to play to banders is the thing that is killing banding. Why not have Alison Balsom or Catrin Finch (Harpist) or blah blah etc etc. i.e outside the movement and would at least add variety to the event.
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    One of the difficulties there is that England does not have such a distinctive national cultural identity as some other countries. It is true they could have included a folk group or some Morris Dancers, and you imagine the uproar that would have produced in some quarters!

    When you consider that the previous English-based gala concerts have included Black Dyke (inc "Planets" extracts, Mvts from "Year of the Dragon", "Deep Harmony") & YBS ("Cry of the Celts" premiere) (Barbican 1997); National Youth Brass Band, Steven Mead & YBS ("Windows of the World" premiere & Brenton Broadstock's "Winds of Change") (Birmingham 2000) expectations for this year could have been expected to be high, with hard acts to follow.
  17. steve_r

    steve_r Member

    Strangely, we bought tickets very late from the web site for the gala and there were only about 8 seats left. We were surprised to see the hall 1/2 empty.

    Was the day ticket for the gala too and people just went home??
  18. Jonesy

    Jonesy Member

    Isn't that a bit like saying there should be an all-female gurning contest to round off Crufts, because dog after dog just gets boring?

    It's a brass band event and that's what people come to hear. I wouldn't expect to hear a champion whistler at the RNCM or Bridgewater Hall festivals. The more quality brass music the better.

    Just playing Devil's advocate ;)
  19. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Yes the weekend ticket included the gala u got the gala if u worked it out for 5 pounds if you bought the weekend ticket which is for nothing! The friday test piece section is 15 pound and the saturday b section and own choice was 20 so then it was 5 pound for the gala if u work it out!!!:cool:
  20. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Indeed, you have to have a devils advocate in these things and everyone has their musical tastes. I get your point. However, something new in brass band terms is like extract blood out of a stone and in considering bands remaind for the majority of the last century in a different pitch to all other musical genres it is now clear that looking outside of the brass band box for some is like opening pandora's box. How about Maxwell Davies's piece for massed orchestra brass band and choir? A piano concerto with band? How about NYJO who were outstanding at Pontins/Butlins?

    Just a case for of being same old same old.

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