The future of the nationals etc....

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by westoe_horn, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    Don't know whether anyone else has picked this up yet but there's another article on 4BR about the future of banding!

    I know this topic has been discussed many times but has anyone got any thoughts after reading?
  2. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    What are your thoughts??
  3. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    I don't really think there are any real new thoughts or ideas here. It just seems a regurgitated version of the other articles/comments we have all recently read over the past 12 months or so, but it is useful to have these all summarised to ponder in one place.

    I do agree that nothing seems to be happening, and perhaps the whole movement should think about moving with the times and embracing some sort of change. Perhaps most bands are ready and waiting........! All of us would rather play to a full hall than a half empty one i'm sure, whether at a small local contest, the nationals or a band's own concert.

    Will this article change our banding world? I think not, but perhaps it might help to start the ball rolling.
  4. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    My thoughts (for what they're worth).

    1. Brass Band Movement

    There isn't, never has been and never will be a Brass band Movement. There is a loose collection of musical ensembles using the same instrumentation, but each band is its own seperate identity and for most what happens for the other 50 weeks of the year is more important than the Regionals and National Finals. As populations and other lesiure interests change so some bands will cease to exist and, less often, new ones will start.

    2. The Nationals

    What would make the Regionals more attractive? For me: Pre draws, relaxed registration rules to allow as many bands as possible to compete, open adjudication for everything below 1st Section (does anyone really think the adjudicators can recognise different 4th section bands on stage?). Free bandsmans tickets at all contest to encourage players to listen to each other (no-one else cares apart from a few supporters/parents so if we don't listen to each other nobody will).

    3. Music Choices

    A proper explanation of why each pice was chosen and for 4th section (at least) a choice or 3 or 4 pieces to make entry easier.

    4. Promotion/Relegation

    Get rid of the averages that allows a band to be promoted by consistently coming in the top half without ever being close to winning, or relegated by coming in the bottom half without ever being close to last. Straight forward 2 up 2 down. If you think you've been relegated because of an unfair result than you shouldn't have any trouble coming straight back up..

    5. Finally

    Everyone needs to remember that for most of us this is a hobby we do in our spare time because we enjoy it. Keep smiling.:D
  5. Souter

    Souter Member

    We have discussed all this in Scotland already. The preamble paper is here:-

    SBBA then sent out proposals to each band on potential changes. The results are here:-

    Any changes which were voted positively for have been enacted upon, any close results were looked at (revised in some cases) and put to a vote of all bands at the AGM.

    Most of the issues raised in the 4BR article are covered in the above articles.
  6. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I'm sure it must be on here somewhere and no doubt I'll be pointed in the right direction, but can someone tell me what the reasons were for everyone moving away from the Royal Albert Hall on finals weekend? Was it purely financial? Do the other sections bands wish that it had stayed as London or is the present system working well for bands? Just asking 'cos I don't know, not to cause any debate. :D

    Thought that the amount of people staying in to listen to the Championship bands at the weekend was a great improvement on recent years, no doubt a great influence was the fantastic piece. Made a refreshing change not to see a mass exodus of audience when the big names weren't playing. :D

  7. Dago

    Dago Member

    Interesting to read also 4BR continual attack on adjudicators - "Incompetent Adjudicators" etc... and ABBA's policy on getting rid of some judges. Wonder if 4BR have a policy on getting rid of incompetent journalists who continually get predictions wrong?
  8. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    One of the reasons is probably that the hall is a nightmare to play in and doesn't really suit the sound of bands.
  9. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    The lower section finals in London were often nowhere near the RAH - Wembley conference centre, for example. The only finals I can remember with all the sections in the RAH was 2000, I think? I don't know why the original move was made, but on the whole I think it's a good idea to have all the lower sections together on the same weekend in the same venue. I have said before that I think the top section final should have moved out of the RAH years ago. As Aidan says^^ it's grim to play in, plus it's impossible to park at, there are only a couple of small pubs locally, hotels are expensive and widely scattered, it's impossible to fill the hall even for the results - I could go on.

    I think the finals should move round the UK with the top section in a major concert hall and the lower sections nearby in a similar venue to now. So for example - in Manchester there's the Bridgewater plus the Conference centre across the road, in Brum there's Symphony Hall plus ICC in the same complex, Cardiff's got St David's Hall and the Millenium Centre, the RCH and SECC in Glasgow - there are many examples.

    I know there are cost and logistics issues with all the alternative venues, nowhere's going to be perfect, but if you have ALL the sections in one city, within a mile or so of each other, on the same weekend, there's more chance of selling out tickets for the top section simply because there are a load of banders in town.
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    The used to be held in the RAH over a weekend - including the youth section - but IIRC the lockout cost was prohibitive.
  11. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Having seen the attendance for the lower sections at Harrogate, I can just imagine what it must have been like to be 1st band on in the 4th section on the Saturday morning :eek:
  12. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Cunningly, you put the youth section on first ;)
  13. Sop_Or_Bass?

    Sop_Or_Bass? Member

    Here, here :clap:
  14. yoda

    yoda Member

    Lol the music publishers should vote for this...... sell 3 test pieces to every band, then they get to try them all out before choosing which one to go with, leaving 3 pieces (which will never see the light of day again) to rot in the band library. At least one will get performed.....

    (removes tongue from cheek) :-D
  15. JR

    JR Member

    Article by Tim Mutum is excellent - some v well made points.

    Radical change is required roughly on the lines of the Norwegian model however I'm not very confident.

    The Albert Hall was sadly nowhere near full last weekend even for bands drawn 5 and 6. My vote would go to Birmingham or Manchester for the future. Getting the finals back to an October weekend for all is a priority.

    I would scrap the first section immediately - this would create a larger 4th section which would attract more entries if the current rigid format was modified

    John R
  16. westoe_horn

    westoe_horn Member

    Totally agree with that. In the North of England, Wales and Scotland there are simply not enough bands to support 5 sections. I can only speak for my area but 6/7 bands in the lower sections is not sustainable for the future.

    In my opinion the ideal scenario is around 8 bands in the top section, a bigger, less restictive 4th section (with a choice of piece, no limits on band size etc.) and then 2 sections with healthy numbers of around 12 bands in between. As I say this is only based on the North of England before I get shot down.....
  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I still don;t see how any change is ever going to be made until we have a central body, (like the FA in football, the FIA in motorsport etc) who excercise authority over contesting and player registry as a whole. If I could change even one thing in brass banding it would be that.

    From a purely Geographical point of view, london is hardly the easiest place for everyone to get to is it?I suppose Harrogate was chosen - at least partly - for the lower section finals because of it's geographically central location within great britain, which makes sense. The other problem with london is it's so damn expensive when you get there - and there's only two boozers you can go to afterwards!

    The actual centre of the Great Britain s Whalley in Lancashire - not far from preston, so Manchester, Leeds and anything round that area are all prety central places for all the bands to get to.

    Leeds only really has it's town hall - which is probably not a brilliant venue for such a contest. It does really suit a brass band sound but I'm not really sure it's bit enough. Dewsbury and Huddersfield both have great town halls with long banding traditions, but the same applies and I doubt either have the logistical ability to support a big national contest. And using St George's hall in Bradford would be seen as giving the yorkshire bands an advantage because we've all played there before.

    Manchester, being one of the old heartlands of brass banding would certainly make sense though.

    Anyone care to enlighten me on potential venues in Manchester?
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'd agree with the end but not the means - I'd drastically reduce the top section nationwide with a view to having 10-12 bands at the final AT MOST. There are some regions that should really only have 3 or 4 bands in their top section.

    The first section was intended to bridge the gap to the elite bands, which it has never successfully done. All it has done is replace the old second section with the resulting drain on bands competing lower down the pyramid. So in every region I'd allow 4 top section bands PLUS 1 extra place for each top 6 finisher from that region at the final - results this year would give Yorkshire an 7 band top section, Wales 5, NW 5, North 5, everyone else 4 in 2010. A total of 38 top section bands nationwide, winners of each area plus top 3 from the previous finals to compete at the finals. Then push the regrading changes down through the sections by relegating extra bands in each lower section for 1 or 2 years.

    Then I'd change the format of the final to match that used successfully at the Mineworkers - testpiece on Saturday, entertainments on Sunday.

    Although actually I might sort out the Gaza strip first, 'cos that's probably easier. :rolleyes:
  19. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Don't forget Home Rule for Ireland while you're at it..... ;)
  20. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Been here before! ;)

    RNCM has two halls that could work, although they charge a lot. There's the Bridgewater, of course, which is a suitable flagship venue for the top section. The ICC, behind the travesty of a hotel that used to be the Free Trade Hall (don't get me started on that :mad:) is a conference centre in the mould of Harrogate and links into the GMEX complex which would work well as a trade stands/assembly, warm up and registration area. There's the Lowry, although the English Nationals held there wasn't a roaring success and it's also expensive. There's a concert hall at Salford university, and also one at Mcr Uni that seats about 350.

    There are some less "conventional" places too - Cheethams, for instance, have a nice hall, as do Manchester Grammar or William Hulme Grammar.