Ups and Downs!!

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by euphalogy, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    As we approach the autumn concert and contest season, i have taken a look at the ups and downs around the regions , i am astonished to find different numbers being promoted in different areas, how does that work? I have to admit that over the past 50 years in Brass Bands i havent taken a great deal of notice particularly since the up and down system was introduced, however as we move into 2012 it is intriguing me how Yorkshire 3rd promote 4 Bands relegating 2, whereas Midlands 4th has only ever promoted 2 leaving a mere 20dozen to draw lots the year after.................................. are we all subject to the same system or is there local area licence to accommodate numeric disparity?

    How do they do that?
  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Assuming you're Nationals/areas, promotions and relegations are done in line with the National BB Championship rules, linked here.
    The relevant bits are:

    The National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain will apply the following grading system.
    In these Rules, the word placings means the position awarded at the Regional Championships, which appear as points in the Grading Tables.
    a) Grading will be carried out annually following the Regional Championships, to take effect from 1st January the following year, with the exception of the Scottish Brass Band Association, which is allowed to operate its own grading table.

    b) The Regional Committees will maintain the grading register. Grading will be based on the results of the Regional Championships only.

    d) The winning bands of sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the ‘Finals’will receive automatic promotion.

    e) In the sections 1, 2, 3, 4, the bands with the two best aggregate placings over the previous three years will be promoted. In the case where two or more bands tie with equal first placing, then only these bands will be promoted. If two or more bands tie with equal second placing, then these bands, in addition to the first placed band, will be promoted.

    f) In sections where there are ten bands or less on the grading register, only the band or bands with the best aggregate placings over the last three years will be promoted.

    g) In the Championship, 1st , 2nd and 3rd sections, the two bands with the lowest aggregate placings over the last three years will be relegated. In the case where two or more bands tie with equal last placing, then only these bands will be relegated. If two or more bands tie
    with equal second to last placing, then these bands, in addition to the last placed band, will be relegated.

    h) In sections where there are ten bands or less in the grading tables, only the band or bands with the lowest aggregate placing over the last three years will be relegated.

    o) Bands promoted or relegated will be given an average position for the years prior to
    promotion or relegation to that section.

    The grading tables showing points can be found on each region's own website, most of them linked from HERE
  3. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member


    No wonder i didnt take an interest over the years. Bands can and do change enormously over a 12 monthe period let alone an aggregate of 3 years particularly in the bottom section. Thanks for your reply it does make sense when read, however the practicalities of its implementation do appear a little disproportionate, eg 3rd Section Yorkshire.
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Unusual number of promotions

    Alan - the Yorkshire 3rd section promotion was increased by two additional bands for the following reasons - 1) two bands had tied points therefore 3 bands were promoted at the area contest, this can happen for relegations too and 2) Bradford who hadn't secured promotion at the area contest won the 3rd Section Nationals.

    It also means that the 4 new bands (promoted or relegated) in the Yorkshire 3rd section are all tied in 2nd place prior to next years result :)
  5. JR

    JR Member

    Reform overdue

    I'm afraid the whole system is now in need of an urgent review, along with the continued existence of the 1st Section and the current Regional boundaries.

    Under the current promotion/relegation set-up it is possible for a band with modest recent results in the 3rd section, without ever qualifying for the finals, to be promoted and confronted by Cross Patonce...

    Incidentally, quite why Cross Patonce was not chosen for the 1st Section (and not swapped with the other one) is anybody's guess

    John R
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I agree that the whole system is in desperate need of review, but why question the existence of the 1st section?

    In some Areas (Midlands, L&SC) there are simply too many bands to lose a section (whichever one you want).

    In the Midlands there are 70 bands outside of the Championship section, if you disband the 1st section it will mean 3 sections of 23/24 bands. You can not be serious!
  7. JR

    JR Member

    Deadly Serious!

    Not necessarily - the whole 5 section set-up needs re-alignment for the first time in 20 years - e.g. the top section is too big in most areas including Yorkshire.

    20 years is a long time in banding - there will be plenty of people on here who can't remember that far back - no internet, no twitter, no mobiles, even electronic tuners looked like house bricks.
    Oh yes, and Charles and Di were still together and John Major was about to move into No 10

    And I bought a brand new house for £55K

    John R
  8. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Is the top section really too big?

    12 bands in most areas is a very nice size for a contest, if you make the top section smaller all you achieve is a nice contest for the top bands and sections that are far too large further down.

    I started a thread somewhere with a suggestion that if bands were allowed/prepared to change Areas we could have a system where everybody played in an Area contest of between 12-16 bands.

    Bands should all be in a section on merit, i.e. if you perform consistently well you get promoted, if you end up one of the 12 best bands you are by default a Championship section band.
  9. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's much too big, and the next round of Area contests will prove it. There's only probably Yorkshire where most Championship graded bands could get to the end of Devil and the Deep Blue Sea having given something approaching a performance. In most other areas, including mine, there are going to be some barely acceptable renditions with bands scraping through. Whether 12 bands is "a nice size for a contest" has got nothing to do with it.

    The 1st section was originally created (so I thought) NOT to smooth out the numbers neatly but actually to bridge the growing gap between "Elite" bands like Dyke and Fodens, and second section bands that had to compete against them if they had a good year or or two. That hasn't worked, in my view. The sections have to reflect reality, which is that in most areas there are a very small number of really good bands propped up by much larger numbers of lower standards. LSC a few years ago had something like 30 bands in the 4th section - although that's unmanageable from any practical contesting viewpoint, surely you can't think that the solution to that problem is to just promote the top 6 bands straight into section 2 and the remainder into section 3? That seems to be your logic. If you end up as the 12th best band in a weak area, how can you possibly be a Championship band "by default"? In Wales last March Penclawdd band were 5th in the 1st section, but in the whole Welsh contesting pyramid there were only 11 bands higher than them - does that make them championship standard, ready to compete with the 2010 AND 2011 Open winners, by default? With the greatest respect to them and the living legend that is Tony Small, no, I don't think it does.
  10. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I agree with JR, we got promoted from a three year average a couple of years ago 8th, 4th, 3rd UP! we weren't quite ready for the next section, we came last :( but didn't get relegated (as two bands didn't attend, for their own reasons) we stayed another year and came last again (meanwhile the two bands who didn't attend the previous year, came 1/2 in the area & 1/2 at the nationals!) and we've had a tough year keeping morale up etc. . . If you had to be in the top two to be promoted then we wouldn't have arrived up a section until we were better prepared for it!.

    I'm not sure getting rid of the 1st section is or isn't part of the answer, but I know it needs looking at, I don't think their is a "good" size for a section, but I do think 5 or 6 band sections aren't very viable. I would have 9 bands in the top section in each area and then stretch the sections below to create a pyramid effect. In Yorkshire that would look something like (9 - 10 - 12 - 14 - 16). I would also send the top band up and the bottom band down, with the others to move decided on points (I do like the idea of weighting the points so the current years carry more significance).
  11. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    I agree with this. 1st place up, last place down and the other up's or down's are decided by the average points system.

    I also agree that the section should reflect the overall quality of the bands in it.....somehow. There is no point in having 12 or 15 bands in the championship section just to keep numbers balanced if only 8 or so are competitive with each other - likewise at the other end of the scale why keep (for example) 10 out of 20 bands stuck in the 4th section all fighting for only 2 or 3 places to get up into the third section. Surely this is only stifling their progress?

    Don't ask me how you'd do it though...........maybe scoring on more than one contest performance a year would be a start. Maybe have 3 contests that bands can compete in and from which a bands best 2 results are taken into consideration to form their overall regional score. But then maybe that would get too complicated to police and control....oh i don't know. I'm waffling again!
  12. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    JR is absolutley right in my opinion. There are too many bands in totally false positions, all the way through the five sections. The disparity in numbers between regions is an obvious starting point, the vagaries of the area boundaries is another, the music choice for qualifying contests is another.
    I have read so many times on here that the real winner on the day was the test piece, when no band really got to grips with the demands of the music. If this is so, why choose the music in the first place? Do we lack a moderation system where national standards are discussed, evaluated, and accommodated in the choice of music.
    The last 3 national 4th section pieces have been way beyond the standard of the qualifying pieces and as such has diluted the sense of achievement in qualification.

    I remember Harold Wilson going to No10 i remember all of the miners strikes through the 70s and 80s ,(being an ex miner i would) I also remember vividly the likes of Geoff Whitham and Trevor Walmsley single handedly adjudicating 30+ lower section bands in each section ALL day at St Georges Hall in Bradford where the contest was then held over two week ends, a blanketed box, a bucket, a flask, and an empty ash tray. No comfort breaks.

    I certainly wouldnt support any move back to the scenario described, however something must be done and soon, if bands are to maintain enthusiasm for the competitive arena. Surely this can only be achieved with a national set of standards, applied across all (equitable) areas.
    It should not be beyond the wit and wisdom of those who are the guardians of our movement to open up the debate of who, what, where, when and how or perhaps the egos of the good and great wont allow such considerations.
  13. yoda

    yoda Member

    My 2p worth

    I personally believe that 12 is about right for the championship section. So what if there are a few bands who don't quite come up to the mark. Making an Elite only section will split banding. Making the gap between the Best and the Rest even more insurmountable. Maybe that's what some people want?

    The creation of a smaller Championship section could IMO lead too: some of the Elite bands being relegated and so competing in the 1st section? leading very quickly to No relegation from the elite section? At present, the so called lesser championship bands do keep the big bands honest...!

    Yes I know it can be soul destroying to find yourself in the Championship section equipped with half a band who are not up to the standards. But if you want to be in something that has winners then you also have to have loosers.

    A daft scenario? what about a top band who has finished in the top 4 at the Nationals so doesnt need to qualify...... they dont put much effort into the area for 2 years running so get relegated into the first section yet are still competing in the championship national finals...?

    Yes its daft I know and all hypothetical but..................

    Is the 1st section fit for purpose? I believe it is, but what has happened IMHO over the past 20 years is that the 1st section is now the old 2nd section. Getting rid of it wont make a difference in time and whatever is in its place will settle into exactly the same scenario we had then and have now given a few years. I agree and believe that the sections do need evening out a little. I once advocated (eg in the midlands) 100 band in 5 section = 20 bands per section. Harsh I know and a little unfair on the lesser top section bands, but wouldnt it be easier to find a level given more exposure to the level you are supposed to be at, rather than keep yoyoing between the 1st and top section?

    I'd just like to point out that to a certain extent I am playing devils advocate here, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater has never been proved to work, unless you also throw the bath out too ;)

    therefor, i see 3 choices.

    Do nothing (probably what will happen seeing the reluctance of the majority in believing anything is wrong)

    Evolution (slow and probably painful but isn't that whats happening anyway, even if most people don't see it happening right under their noses)

    Revolution (bin the lot and start again with a new infrastructure, except no one knows what would be the best way to do that)

    Biggest problem - We are trying to all be winners without accepting that in order to have winners there must also be loosers. Its the taking part where the fun and development is, not in the winning.
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Paddy Flower had a good suggestion (amongst several more in a thread that was interesting and provocative for a while but has now slipped well off the radar):

    Promote based on the finals. This creates a natural way of normalising section standards around the country - if you win a weak section at your area, but then come last at the finals, you don't get promoted, but a couple of better bands still get relegated into your section. After a few years, you'll have disparities in numbers between sections in different areas, but you'll also have genuinely comparable area section standards.
  15. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I know I've said this before, but anyway:

    Q: Is the first section 'fit for purpose?'

    A: Well, given it is full of bands who are too good for the second section but not good enough for the top section, then, as an intermediate section yes it is!

    The above may be over simplistic, but none of any of the suggestions made here so far, plus any of the ones made previously, or any suggestions made in pubs and bandrooms around the country resolve the problem that there is and will always be a massive gap between the absolute elite and rest. The only way to solve that is to falsely spread the distribution of players evenly around bands and across sections and what a stupid idea that is. Most championship sections have two or three distinct standards anyway - the British Open bands, the Grand Shield bands and then the rest of us (sorry to nick the gradings from a separate contest, but its the best way I can think of illustrating the point).

    You can call the section whatever you want - that gap will always be there. There is a sizable gap between the Open and the Grand Shield, yet no-one is saying that the 'Shield isn't fit for purpose because bands very often get promoted, find the going tough in the Open and end up back in the 'Shield again. You can move the break point and you still have the same issue. Why not have an 'elite' section? Well, apart from then being very similar to the Open, you would have to have a nationwide elite section for it to be viable as there aren't enough bands of a good enough standard in some areas to make a viable contest. Then what do you do with the finals? Or maybe you just fill up the sections with bands who aren't good enough and we're back to square one again...

    So there's a gap between the 1st section and the championship. Quelle surprise! There's a gap between the 2nd and the 1st sections and yes some promoted bands struggle and eventually get relegated back again. So what?

    We should remember that the championship section is where 1st section bands are (hopefully) going, not where they are.
  16. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    So what would happen to the Elite bands if we went Green? No player could travel more than 75 miles to a rehearsal? would that mean some of the midlands & Welsh talent would stay there and not travel to the Yorkshire bands? just a thought!

    I also liked Paddy's idea of relegation at a local level and promotion at a national level, If I remember correctly from a 20 band national final the top 15 bands all gain promotion.
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I agree completely, Ian. The argument that there are bands in the championship section that will struggle with the set piece next year is not in reality an argument against the current structure but an argument against the piece chosen.

    [And not a very thought-through argument at that - we want a piece that will make some bands struggle, in order to make the adjudicator's job easier. Look at the strange results that picking pieces that every band could play for two years in succession produced in 2008 and 2009 - a much greater problem. Will TDATDBS make too many bands struggle? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'd rather see it picked than "Festival Music" or "Salute to Youth" again, nice pieces though they are.]
  18. bbg

    bbg Member

    The "grading" topic came up in the Open Forum at the recent SBBA AGM, after being very much a feature of Iwan Fox's keynote speech. In Scotland, promotion is automatic for the bands placed 1 and 2 in sections 1-4 at each year's Scottish Championships, leading to an incredible amount of "yo-yo ing" over the past few years. As an example , my own band were placed 2nd in the Third Section in 2007, so a trip to Harrogate (14th place) and promotion beckoned. We survived one year in the Second before relegation (by half a point or so if I remember correctly) in 2009, and have finished 5th and 4th in '10 and '11 which I reckon is a pretty fair reflection of where we are now, in a position to make a good effort at doing that bit better next March. The real point is, though, that for the 5 years before '07, we finished 9th, 8th , 7th , 7th...and 7th again, so on "average" results we would not have been promoted.
    With the present system, we (and other 3rd Section bands) are effectively only 30-odd minutes of playing time away from being a "Championship Section" band - three decent test-piece performances, 12 months apart and we are "up", regardless of the true playing standard of the band or what we do in between these annual contests.
    Something not right there.....
  19. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    A good point, and well made too. This only reinforces JRs point that something needs to be done and quickly. What that something is exactly, is open to debate after analysis of such data and trends.

    My Band for instance entered 5 contests in the 12 months March 10 to March 2011.
    Midland Area2010 2nd Place Nationals 16th Place, Leicester 2nd Place Butlins2011 2nd Place, Area2011 17th Place.

    Consistent in terms of 3 second places out of 5, however 17 + 2 at the areas, guarantees us another 2 years in the 4th section to lose the 17th place, unless of course we come 17th or worse again.
    Conversley any band re entering the contest arena with 2 average marks will undoubtedly gain an higher starting position in the promotion ladder.

    The vagaries of the 4th section in particular could throw up many hypothetical circumstances, however, the one i quote is reality, and as such makes it more and more difficult to recruit and retain players where such instances are a matter of disturbing frequency. I dont know what can be done, yet to do nothing, is surely not an option.

    Happy Banding
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    To return to the Scottish system, although promotion is done on a one-year basis, relegation is handled much more sensibly - certainly I prefer it to either to Scottish promotion system or the English and Welsh 3-year average; what they do is weight the last three years - so you multiply this years position by 2, leave last year's position unchanged and multiply the position 2 years ago by 0.5 - then add the last three years' positions up according to this weighting. What it does is give primary importance to this year's position, but also take some account of previous performance - it rewards both immediate prowess and consistency in what I think is a sensible proportion. I don't know why the Scottish system doesn't also use this model for promotion - such a move would put a small amount of braking on the excessive yo-yoing that they sometimes see - you would still usually see the top two promoted, but cases like the Perthshire Brass one above would usually be avoided.

    But using Paddy Flower's system of promotion via the finals would have fixed that issue anyway...

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