The spirit of contesting?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Pythagoras, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Have just come back from a contest where the tactics of one band left a bad taste in the mouth.

    The contest was an open contest with no registration cards, and bands could use players from any section. My band borrowed a couple of players from the 2nd section (we are 4th). OK this wouldn't be allowed at most contests, but we weren't taking the mick, and they weren't playing in solo positions, and from speaking to people from other bands, they seemed to have taken a similar line to us.

    One band however had several players from a championship section band, including one of the countries highest profile players (the name would be known to virtually every bander in the country), this was even more galling in that this band could potentially have won a prize for being the highest 4th section band not in the top 3, so could have gained advantage from a comparitively low status whilst using players who were anything but that (in the end the band came in the top 3 anyway).

    Let me stress that they were breaking no rules, just that I think they were being very morally dubious. Also, I have no sour grapes. My band came exactly where it deserved, and the right band (not the one mentioned above) definitely won.

    What do people think? Are bands right to exploit loose rules to the absolute limit?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2005
  2. sniperjp

    sniperjp Member

    I agree with you. I think it was very qrong of the band to take advantage of the ruling, If I was going to let a borrowing rule, I would make the limit of borrowed players allowed 4 players a band and you should only be allowed to borrow from the same section or one higher or lower, what do you think?
  3. Heather

    Heather Member

    Sounds like a silly rule....or rather, silly lack of rules.
    At least your Band had some scruples.
  4. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    I can't really see what the problem is here. The Rules were the same for everyone and you admit to borrowing from a higher section yourself. If you had borrowed as per normal contesting rules I could understand your gripe, but as you didn't, you aren't really in a position to comment about other bands doing the same as you!

  5. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    It sounds like a daft rule to me, but I don't think you can really blame the band for taking full advantage of it.
  6. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Personally, I disagree. I think with the recent decline of players thoughout the Brass Band movement, and in particular the lower sections, this should be the way forward for all contests. It also proves that having a few 'top notch' players in the band won't guarantee you a first prize. It may improve certain areas of the band, and may increase your chances of a prize, but a couple of 'top' deps isn't going to make that much difference. If anything it will probably highlight even more the normal tuning, intonation and balance problems associated with the lower sections.
    I really can't see any problems using higher section players in contests and I think the sooner we adopt a ruling of this nature we will see more bands being able to take part in the contesting scene instead of the dwindling numbers we have at most of todays contests.

  7. In reply to Pythagaros it was us (Nick Harris and Kirsty Abbotts) who I think you are aiming your frustration at. Yes, we play for Frickley but we only helped out to support my nephew and neice's band, which is also our local band. I usually play solo baritone at Frickley along with Kirsty who plays top man, but on this occasion was asked to play 2nd baritone and Kirsty, second man down. If we, and others playing for other bands, had not helped perhaps the band would not have been able to turn out at this debut contest, which would mean a band short and maybe the sponsors of the contest wondering if it was viable in the future.

    We played within the rules and did not mean by any stretch of the imagination to prejudice the result. If anything, we try to support local lower section bands. We both feel this is important as we have not forgotten our banding roots.

    Nick Harris and Kirsty Abbotts
    Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band
  8. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    This is precisely the point. If there are rules there and no rules have been broken - there is no room for complaint - whether you think it is "morally dubious" or not.

    Whether a band went to the contest with the best corner men (or women) from the best bands in the country or six players short because they didn't want to appear to be "exploiting the rules" is the bands choice. The rules are there and, as has been agreed already, no rule has been broken. They haven't "exploited" the rules they have contested within the rules. If you don't like it complain to the Association who made those rules in an effort to get them changed.

    I realise you say there are no sour grapes but on the other hand you cannot possibly suggest what the band did was "morally dubious" if they played within the rules.
  9. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I'm very sorry you were upset by this Daniel. Being a member of the band that organised the event, here are my own personal views on the matter (although I think they would be shared by the rest my band and its organizing committe).
    I know that the rules were drawn up to be as flexible as possible to make attendance easy for the bands. The contest was held at the end of the summer holidays and we all know how hard it is to get a full band out at this time of year.

    Our main aim was a laid back, band friendly contest in the beautiful surroundings of Lakeside, where bands and public alike could come and enjoy the prestigious and unique facilities of the old victorian pumphouse, ornamental gardens and lake. Our concerns for the bands were utmost in our thoughts. You would not normally get free band entry to the contest, Bottles of Grolch and Stella for £1, Draught beer at pub prices and Barbecued Burgers, Chicken Wings and later complementary sandwiches provided. (Lakeside is normally a £35 a head restaurant / Conference facility). We employed one of the country's very best adjudicators, and being on the 'inside' for once I know the adjudications were completely open and above board ( and by general concensus completely correct!)

    I think it is a bit ungenerous to say any band purposely exploited our 'band friendly' rules. The contest was not a 'ranking' contest in any sense and all guest players were personal friends of members of the competing bands. The prize money although very generous would not be enough to make a band go out and 'buy in' players to improve their chances. I think they just 'borrowed well' to fill in genuine gaps caused by holidays etc.

    This was our first go at organising a contest and we are only too willing to learn to make things better. When we do it again we will certainly make some improvements. Better signed carparking will be one of these (The large public attendance took us a bit by surprise).
    We will also probably open up the contest to more bands next time and some tightening up of the guest player rules could well be something we will need to look at.
  10. Thanks!!!

    Enough said.
  11. Di

    Di Active Member

    An excellent idea I think. Not only does it give bands an open and "friendly" contest, outside any ranking systems, but it has given players in the lower section bands to play and rub shoulders with some higher ranking members.
  12. David Francis

    David Francis Member

    Blame the organisers rather than the band. It should be stipulated players can be borrowed from no higher than one section above.
  13. B'aht a band

    B'aht a band Member

    Just to confuse everyone, I agree with everything on here... yes, all bands have, from time to time "borrowed" players of a better standard, (at my old band, I recall 1 Pontins when we borrowed 3 of Fodens' finest) however, there has to be a limit, say to only borrow from the section immediately above, because if you play in a 4th section band, and you come up against someone of the calibre of Kirsty Abbots (and this is not meant to be disrespectful), you are gonna think, "whats the point? She's here helping another band, why bother?".

    Now I ain't getting at anyone, but there must be a more manageable structure to this............

  14. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    I agree with everything here, and can accept no band was going to 'buy in' players for this. Was generally a very nice contest, and was certainly a great venue.
  15. jumperKing

    jumperKing Account Suspended

    Sounds like this controversy was going to happen, but what does it matter?

    Maybe each band should just assess their performance based on the band they played. If you came out with a borrowed band of champ section players and wiped the floor with everyone at a lower section contest what does it mean? Not much in my opinion.

    However, I'm sure that it was nice to see some of the top talent on display at a local contest, I might pop along next year if I can afford the petrol.
  16. right i think a few things need to be cleared up.
    1,we did not get paid to play we did it for free,
    2,i took a 12 hour holiday as i should have been at work( yes my own holidays!)
    3,neither kirsty or myself played any solos which therefore made no difference to the performance.
    4,just to make it clear again in case you missed it we helped out because my family play in the band and was doing them a favour.
    5,if you are going to moan about championship players there were one or two bands playing players from this section.
    6,well done to carlton for a good day out .
  17. Hornted

    Hornted Member

    The spirit of contesting

    The rules for the contest were known by the bands who entered, so what is the problem. The set of rules were originally written by me for the contest I ran in Kirkby (Carlton borrowed a set and modified to suit this contest)

    When origianally writing the rules my thoughts were to attract as many bands as
    possible during the summer season when most bands will need to borrow several players. Also felt that that the most successful summer band contest each year the 'Whit Fridays' also runs along those lines. The more restrictions you put on bands the fewer bands who will end up attending the event. Several 'top section' players can be seen each year at the Whit Fridays playing with lower section bands - so what, great to see. Providing the Top Section players are not charging loads for their services then no problem.

    Good contest, great setting, well done to Carlton Brass

    Great Compare!

    He does shut up sometimes -

    Melanie Cooper
  18. rutty

    rutty Active Member

    Really? :D

    Naturally, this was our first contest and we're still learning about these things. Any gripes or concerns will be considered for the next one, though as has already been said this was always intended to be as open as possible for all bands. I thought everyone played really well and hope that it's just as well attended and supported next time :)

    I also enjoyed the compére - especially his attempt at singing the them for the Bionic Man. :cool:
  19. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    For my comments.

    I think the following things:

    1. No rules were broken, nothing wrong was done, you'd have done the same if you could. For example, had you (Pythagoras) needed a trombonist, you'd possibly have asked me (if certain other people could put up with me). As I play in the 1st section would you still feel the same, is it still wrong? Of course I'd help out of asked.
    2. People enjoy playing, let them play, we need all the players we can get to keep the moevement alive.
    3. Lower bands often borrow top players for concerts, especially relatives/close friends, why not for contests, would you prefer the band to withdraw and risk the contest not being viable.
    4. By having a few better players with around the stand, it can help motivate and encourage younger players by giving them something to aim at, some goals, and people to look up to and aspire to. This can only be healthy for the band.
    5. Look at the Whit Marches, how many lower section bands use higher section players? You'd not complain then (or maybe you would?).
    6. What if you brought in professional players who are unregistered? Is that still wrong?
    7. What about high section bands that collapse and reform as lower section bands? should these be allowed. (Obviously yes)

    My point is that you could moan and complain about lots of things, but contests, particularly entertainments and non-ranking contests are there for the experience and enjoyment, very few bands can survive on the prize money alone. Learn from your own performance, and do better next time. I know we (Stannington) will be up against it at the Dronfield Contest this year (against Carlton Main/Riddings) but we still believe we've got what it takes to better our 2nd place from last year, and are looking forward to the challange, whatever the result we'll have a great time as always.
  20. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I certainly understand Daniel's frustration...and in some ways it doesn't seem fair, but the question you have to ask is "Is contesting about winning atall costs?"

    It appears to me the band that borrowed these players did NOT have a win at all cost, screw everbody else attitude. They asked some players that grew up in the town (and played with the band in their youth?) to help them out. As Tim mentioned, lots of us love to help out their local band. This wasn't a major ranking contest (like areas), so while I'm sure it doesn't feel good (it would to me if I were in Daniel's shoes), in the bigger picture, probably does more harm than good.

    If I were to make a rule change for next year, I would just insist that no borrowed players recieve any financial compensation for playing with the bands they help out. I think it is entire unenforceable, but I think it would help show that the spirit of the competition is NOT to pay hired guns to help you win (which as we know and have heard would not have affect this years competition).

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