Unreasonable Contest Demands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Brian Bowen, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Nick Walkley’s announcement he is quitting Fairies and the comments of Andy Cattanach regarding competing in the Europeans (on another thread today) make me wonder if contesting, particularly at the top level, is counterproductive to the good health of the brass band movement. When one considers that most players have a regular full-time job in order to earn a living, and perhaps the majority have families to care for, is it any wonder that fewer players can commit to such rigorous schedules, and that there is much instability in bands (not to mention sponsorship problems).

    While top flight contesting has brought incredibly high technical standards, what good is it if it causes the loss of fine players to the movement and the ultimate demise of many bands? Is the competitive-sport aspect of banding robbing the sheer joy of music-making? I tend to think so.
  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Looking at the schedules of many of the top bands, the number of contests seems to be low compared to recording sessions, concerts, tours, etc.

    With the apparent reduction in sponsorship, bands are forced to do more paying gigs to keep going. Winning contests gives the name that provides the demand for the band, but the prize money from the contests alone is not enough to sustain a band for any length of time. So the bands become busier as a result.

    I don't think that contesting itself is detrimental to the movement, but I do think that the monetary rewards for the "top" contests has not kept pace with economic reality.
  3. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    three very good and accurate points Robert :tup
  4. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    Couldn't agree more. Playing in a top band can have a ridiculous number of engagements - concerts, tours, recordings, contests, all of which require mucho rehearsals!

    I myself have turned down a seat recently in a Championship band, not anything to do with the engagements, but the rehearsals are a killer. Being a full time student with a part time job in the evenings, 2/3 rehearsals a week can become impossible on top of the work-load.

    An excellent point on prize money, there just doesn't seem to be the sponsorship about at the moment to make contesting (especially local contests) 'viable'. Why take X for winning a contest (that you are not guarrenteed to win) when you are offered 3X for a concert or such?

    Well done Nick, for making what must have been an exceptionally difficult decision, but a correct one - there is plenty of time to play after family and uni comittments. Good luck to you!
  5. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I would agree...especially if (and I don't know if this is the case and would love to here from somebody who does)...the bands that make the recordings don't get extra money.

    For example, the new DVD from the British Open comes out this weekend. Do YBS, Stavanger, Foden's, etc... get any money from the CD sales or was part of the agreement in participating for the weekend that their recordings could be used without any additional payment? If the latter is true, I think it is completely unfair!
  6. peatair

    peatair Member

    The demands at the top level of banding always were considerable. These days they are massive - virtually a full time "job." Nick has made a difficult decision but, at the end of the day, getting a good degree and on into the world of work has to come first. Good luck to him, whatever the future holds.

    It is a pity to see a marvellous band like Fairey in some difficulties. Nick is not the only top class player to move on recently.
  7. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Presumably, anyone wishing to record a contest or event (whether a CD or DV) for commercial reasons, will have purchase some kind of rights. I am sure that there is something in the contest rules/application that states any band participating must be prepared to have it's performance recorded for commercial purposes. Not 'unfair' until bands challenge what it written in black and white.
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Not knowing the details, I can advance a generic argument on the other side.

    No one is forcing them to participate, so fairness is not an issue. There are considerable expenses incurred by the contest organization, and the sale of such recordings is one way they can recoup those expenses. Requirement of payment for performances might be too much for the contest to support.

    Also, payment for inclusion on the recording might raise a fairness issue for those bands not included on the recording. For example, a contest recording might include a lower-scoring performance by a "name" band in preference to a higher-scored recording by another band just to get the "name" on the cover of the CD. Now, are you paying for the use of the name or the use of the performance? How long before this leads to bands being allowed to compete in contests where they have not been qualified simply so that the organizers can advertise their participation (see http://www.themouthpiece.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11947 for a little debate on a similar topic).

    As soon as you have any type of payment directly from the contest that is not directly related to the placement of the band in the competition you have opened the door to appearance fees, which would be a most undesired effect.
  9. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    While I agree with all your points, I guess what I think is unfair is that if there is no payment, then I think prize monies are way too low!
  10. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Exactly :)

    (. . . now I feel like I did far too much typing just to come to the same conclusion . . .)