Welsh League, a silly relocation?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by RedOctober, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    This morning I was reading the news articles on 4barsrest and noticed one of the news items which was about the welsh league contest. It would appear that support for the league is poor and especially so with regard to the contest in Fishguard.
    I can't help but wonder if the choice in contest venue for the wwbba contest was a silly one. Fishguard is so far from civilisation and all bands that attend the welsh league are lesser bands, therefore they don't have access to the same sort of funds as the likes of Tredegar and Cory. How are bands in the rest of the principality supposed to be able to attend a contest held so far away?
    Perhaps also some of the bigger bands in wales could also be criticised.. I've not attended a welsh league contest as (and no offence intended here) there aren't any bands I would want to hear. The best I could hope to hear would probably be burry port or city of cardiff, if I (and I suspect many others) were to attend we would want to hear the best welsh bands and not the worst.

    What I would like to know is why is the contest being held at such a poor location and why the poor level of support from the premier bands in wales? It's hardly surprising that support for this event is dire and as a result it is probably a contest soon to be lost to history.
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I'll respond and bump this as RO might have a point, or one that's worth getting the locals to explain.

    Looking at 4barsrest I think this is the article refered to: http://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?id=19229 . Looking at the map I see Fishguard is very remote and my experience of Welsh roads is that road travel is often relatively slow and difficult. RO's question (What I would like to know is why is the contest being held at such a poor location and why the poor level of support from the premier bands in wales?) seems fair enough to me, does anyone have a polite answer for him.
  3. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    welcome back Red, Ive missed you !

  4. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    Thank you Ian, hopefully people with better knowledge of the contest can elaborate on the issues I have raised. I really do feel very strongly that the decision to move this contest to Fishguard is just plain stupid. I've always thought the North vs South Wales area contest venue was silly, but this is a whole new level of stupidity in my opinion. Surely the organisers should be coming up with solutions to maximise attendance of the welsh bands rather than decisions that will limit attendance. And then of course I am some what baffled by the lack of support from the premier bands.

    Is there anyone on here who can elaborate on the issues raised?
  5. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Seemingly not :(. Maybe they don't know, maybe they can't explain why what seems silly to you is not, or maybe they don't want to say they wish it was different too. It's strange that a reasonable (IMHO) question gets no response yet many of RO's other posts have had quite strongly worded answers.
  6. Not even arguing this time. Welcome back RO. I salute you.
  7. Cymrutrom93

    Cymrutrom93 New Member

    As someone who was in the band that organised the contest (Goodwick Band) you might not know us RedOctober as were apparently a band you don't want to listen to it seems. The contest was well supported in the end! 2nd and youth section had 7 or 8 bands, 1st section's 3 bands was a disappointing turnout but there we go. Everyone I spoke to were really pleased with how the day went. There was a pre-draw so bands knew when to turn up, we had 3 excellent rehearsal rooms near the venue (a 2 minute drive) and it gave 3 new bands in Pembrokeshire to attend a contest without high travelling costs that Goodwick are used to! Those 3 bands were Phoenix Brass, Goodwick Youth and Milford Haven Junior Town Band. We were all complimented on it being such a well organised contest and Goodwick Band and especially our chairman Tony Evans who worked tirelessly to ensure it was a fantastic concert that ran smoothly; worked hard all day to do everything we could to make it run smoothly and it did! All the bands I spoke to were delighted to come down to a lovely day in Fishguard to a really well run contest. I hope other band members and Tony won't see this. Also we do apologise the welsh league doesn't contain any bands you want to listen to...I could suggest not being so arrogant and respecting the hard work lower section bands do! Especially with youth bands! It was really good to see something lone 8 youth bands perform yesterday!

    I do hope this will be the end of this thread and the end of your offensive comments regarding every aspect of banding.
  8. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    'Well done' to the people involved with organising the event :tup (these things do take a lot of effort and planning) and thank you too for the several good points you made.

    RO does have his own style which tends to upset some folk; I try to be either objective or neutral and learn from the 'conversation'.
  9. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    You've kind of missed my point. I have no doubt that Goodwick (and you're correct - no I've never heard of them, nor do I wish to listen to them) put on a very well organised contest. I'm sure they made sure it ran as smoothly as possible and did everything they could to impress. After all, should it fail to impress there would be a stronger argument to ditch Fishguard as a contest location ;)And my point was the location itself...

    How is it of any benefit to the welsh league to have the contest about as far away from civilisation as you can go in wales? There's growing concern as reported on 4br at the lack of support and interest in the contest. Fishguard is just too far in my opinion for many bands to attend, I feel this was reflected by the poor attendance in the first section as you pointed out. It was great for Goodwick themselves I'm sure and the two other bands you mention, but that's it. The vast majority of bands in west wales are located between Llanelli and Carmarthen areas to my knowledge. And that's a very small number when you consider the rest of the bands in wales and unless you're one of the top bands, you don't have access to much in the way of funding. Also from what I'm told, the prize money is very poor, so if you do make the expedition to Fishguard, any prize money just goes straight out on the coach. Bands that also need a hotel due to the absurd distance are at an even greater loss. So it's hardly surprising that entries to this contest are low, how is it financially and logistically viable to enter wbba contest?

    You've also misunderstood my comments regarding the best bands in wales. I don't disrespect the lower section bands as such, after all they are the backbone to banding. But who really wants to travel all the way to Fishguard to hear a poor standard of playing? I feel the premier welsh bands should do more to support it, possibly something like a gala concert. I'm sure you'd see support for the league increase as people would travel to listen and might view it as a day out, especially if it was combined with a sensible location!!!
  10. Cymrutrom93

    Cymrutrom93 New Member

    Here we go:

    Fishguard is not as far away from civilisation as you can go in Wales, it's 60 miles from the m4 and as I was told by a conductor who brought around 70-80 young people to play in 2 bands at the Fishguard contest, the roads we're great. (I do campaign for a dual carriageway to Pembrokeshire so it might even get better ;) ). As someone who was concerned by the 4br article in the first place I counted through the amount of bands that we're missing and there weren't that many, some weren't going to turn up anyway due to other engagements. First section is always poorly attended, when the contest was in Merthyr in May there was only 5 bands, Blaenavon last November there were only 5, Burry Port last October there were 3. So the same amount turned up as did to Burry Port last year. It gave us in Pembrokeshire a chance to field more bands without the high travel costs Pembrokeshire bands are used to! The prize money across the welsh league is very poor but the West Wales contest starts later to accommodate for travelling bands, there's a pre-draw so bands know when to turn up so they can plan their day easier as well as it being a lot cheaper to enter! For Goodwick, all our prize money has gone on coaches, hotels etc we've had to fundraise and fundraise and it's also given our band the chance to venture out i.e quartets, quintets, brass ensembles, swing bands and we've done loads of social activities which has made band about a lot more than music! It is never financially and logistically viable to enter any contest in our experience!

    A lot of it depends on which bands are willing to host it, despite the distance, when bands arrived in Fishguard they played in a great venue (despite being a school hall, it has a tricky acoustic), disabled access which is at a premium in welsh banding given some of the venues we have to play in and there was enough room for everyone to park including coaches; also coaches could park right next to the gampfa where the bands got ready. We had 3 fantastic rehearsal facilities 2 minutes away from the contest venue which were served by a free car/bus park and everything was done properly, we had on site catering and the nearest pub was a 10 minute walk!

    Look, many things have been suggested regarding the welsh league and it's fallen on deaf ears, the 4br article is a bit of bad journalism as there was a regular turnout no mass exodus of bands! Bands have to fundraise and think outside of the box. Everyone I spoke to were really happy to come to Fishguard, I even had a debate with someone on facebook about the location and he agreed with me in the end! You tell me of a venue in Llanelli/Carmarthen with 3 rehearsal rooms within a few minutes that can fit a full band with free coach & car parking!

    A gala concert would be a good idea but it would prolong the day even more (Many of us were there from 8:30am till 9pm), better support from the top bands would be great but I suppose this has been suggested before. Audience turnout was fantastic would you believe! The hall had a fair amount of people in it for the first band of the day! The largest turnout was for the youth section which I think was a big plus.

    However, turnout in the welsh league is not helped if it's branded as a competition with a "poor standard of playing". If welsh people who know many welsh bands are ignored by associations then I don't think they're going to listen to you either! I was told on facebook by someone from North Wales the SEWBBA is very stubborn and don't like contests outside of their back garden hence the regionals are always down south!

    Now, to do some practice, I'd strongly advise you do too buddy if you spent less time on here and did more practice you could join one of these "premier" bands and convince them to join the welsh league again ;)
  11. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    I must disagree with your opening statement. Look at a map, anyone can see that you can't go much further west than Fishguard, you're only a few miles away from St David's - keep heading west and you're in the Irish Sea! For a contest that is really only for bands in South Wales and as a result hosted in the south only, I'm pretty sure you couldn't find a more remote/distant location. Good luck with your campaign, a dual carriageway sound a like a great idea, though I'm not convinced that the government view the wbba contest as much of a priority as you do!

    As for attendance you say yourself there were some missing. As it stands the bands don't have a choice about travelling if they want to compete in the league, so they made it this time, let's see what happens in a few years... I wouldn't be surprised if the contest sees reduced entrants. Miles of travelling, well over a hundred for many only to play in a poor contest with poor prize money in a school hall located in the wilderness and wastelands of west wales.
    I've no idea where you could go in Llanelli or Carmarthen as I don't know those areas, but they must have venues that could be used. And anyway surely if Fishguard can do it, other towns can do it better! I mean apart from the ferry and goodwick band there's nothing there! ;)

    Never financially viable to enter a contest, that's entirely true is it? What about the recent band cymru? Very good money on offer. Butlins too. These are contests a little out of your league I suppose, but your statement simply wasn't true.

    I'm amazed that you'd turn your nose up at a gala concert! That would give the contest some credibility at least. How can you be bothered about it making the contest day longer when you said yourself there are sections that are so poorly attended that there are only 3-5 bands, that's scarcely an hour for a section! If you have a problem hosting the contest because it takes up most of your day, then you shouldn't be hosting it. That comes with the job I'm afraid.

    Glad you're practicing, after your spectacular area result you clearly need it!
  12. Cymrutrom93

    Cymrutrom93 New Member

    If you knew the area and weren't just looking on google maps, you'd know Fishguard is quite accessible because of the Ferry, if the contest was in Cardigan or Lampeter I'd understand band's complaints as they're a lot less accessible. It's actually to reduce road deaths in the area...so don't be such a condescending *****!

    It alternates every couple of years so Fishguard just like Burry Port & Ammanford before it aren't permanent venues (if you knew anything about the welsh league you'd know that). There's a lot in Fishguard, you don't know the area so don't comment on it! You can't predict the future buddy so shh. Bands enjoyed travelling down 2 years ago and enjoyed it again this year and it being once every 2 years gives them time to fundraise and sort the sufficient funds. Once again you don't know areas you're talking about, I was speaking as someone who knows the areas and has played in concert venues in both Carmarthen & Llanelli and it's a little more difficult logistically.

    Ok Band Cymru wasn't a brass band contest was it? And once you take in all the travelling & hotel costs butlins isn't financially viable for a welsh band either. Cheltenham costs around £5000 so Skegness would be a lot dearer.

    I didn't turn my nose up, I probably just worded it badly. As I said a gala concert would be a great idea however I don't think organisers and bands would agree to it as it would add more to the day and in instances where there has been a delay (I remember a welsh league event before where the last band went on really late), then the concert would have to start even later. I never said it was a problem, I enjoyed myself thoroughly but it was a long day!

    A Spectacular area result? Of course it was, 2nd place in our first ever contest in the 1st section and yes we will need to practice and work towards a win at the 2015 areas on a fantastic piece! Most people know who you are by now James...I don't think you should try and throw stones like that...you just end up looking silly.

    Once again instead of on the mouthpiece, why not raise your queries with Welsh Banding organisations. They'll be able to give you much better answers than us lot.
  13. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    I'm sorry but that's just completely moronic. Yes Fishguard has a ferry, but do you seriously think people are going to travel from Ireland to listen to the wbba contest?! Unless there's a new ferry route from Cardiff or Newport, I can't see the ferry being of much use to players or anyone else wishing to support the welsh league!!
    Thank goodness your campaign is for something sensible, for a moment I thought you were that serious about the welsh league! And how do you know I don't the area, where else am I suppose to get the ferry! I can comment on the area if I wish, no rule that says I can't anymore than there is about you commenting on Devon ;) And no I'm not clairvoyant, however I can have a good go at it and estimate, my estimation - Dead contest in a few years thanks to the poor support which is only getting worse and now in a silly location in the wastelands of Middle Earth.

    A little more difficult logistically to hold in Llanelli or Carmarthen, but more viable for all the bands across South Wales, makes sense to me...

    Band Cymru wasn't a brass band contest no, but it was a contest open to brass bands and with excellent prize money up for grabs.. What's the problem? Why doesn't that count? You can enter as a brass band, good money, a contest.... Butlins you can win up to £10,000. Sounds good to me, not that you'd be able to win I guess.

    I still don't get why the contest being a long day is a problem, like I said that comes with the job. And we're not talking a full on 2 hour concert, just 40-60 mins of Cory or Tredegar I'm sure would be great, much like the welsh college band at the Welsh area.

    Forgive me and 4br, but I'm pretty sure you came a solid 10th and not 2nd, unless you were playing for Oldham. Really Llyr, who looks silly now ;) yes I know who you are too!

    Once again, I prefer sites like this and social media, draws far more attention to issues!
  14. Cymrutrom93

    Cymrutrom93 New Member

    Because people have to travel to the ferry, Fishguard is accessible from South Wales by roads. You know exactly what I meant. You even said you don't know the area.
    "not that you'd be able to win" < you can judge a band you've never heard of and never want to listen to..,wow the Association of brass band adjudicators must be begging for you to join!

    oh you meant the Nationals not the area? Sorry let me just clear things up for you.

    The area or regionals is a contest held in March, we came second at this contest. And as you said in your previous post, this result was spectacular.

    The lower section nationals is a contest held in September, and yes we came 10th but many in the audience came up to us and told us they enjoyed our performance, we were really happy with it and we all had a great weekend. That's what mattered, we can't do anything about the result.

    Unfortunately I feel you're finding issues just for the sake of it. By refusing to raise such issues with the right organisations it just proves you're out to offend and whatever answers people give you whether about BTM, the AREA (I hope you know which contest this is now) and now the Welsh league; the answers are never enough. Yet you refuse to contact those who matter with such issues. I think it's offensive to all the bands in South Wales who take part that you branded the league as a contest with "a poor standard of playing". And no matter what you say buddy, the people who matter (bands, associations, supporters etc) enjoyed coming down to Fishguard and there was a very high standard of playing.

    Now most people know who you are, it's funny how you poke fun at other band's results.

    This thread has come to its end. I can't stand people who have a problem with something yet do sweet FA about it through the right channels. I won't be replying anymore James.
  15. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    My apologies, I have indeed got contest names mixed up. How silly of me! I'm glad you had a good weekend in cheltenham and I'm sure people did enjoy your performance, but a shame the two men who mattered didn't eh? Anyway enough of this, shall we get back on topic?

    It's relieving to read that you have roads in west wales now, I was concerned that it might be dirt tracks all the way to Fishguard, things seem to have moved forward though which is good news. However if you now have roads in west wales, I'm left a little confused as to the purpose of your campaign..

    Well no offence meant here, but anyone could work out that Goodwick couldn't win Butlins, premier bands like Flowers take part at that contest. I realise you'll be an ambitions band with dreams of making it into the championship section, but come on you can't seriously believe that you could turn over Flowers, or even GUS or Desford?! That's just silly!! Unless of course you plan a mass sacking and have lots of money to buy Cory!!

    I'm merely discussing the issues raised, you shouldn't get stroppy if my views differ to yours. Most of the people involved with these organisations are on this site anyway and by debating and chatting with other members of the banding community on here it raises awareness in a way a simple complaint wouldn't. The views on this thread for example are now in excess of 1000, I think that speaks for itself.
    As for my 'branding' of the Welsh league contest, I'm pretty certain that everyone (perhaps excluding Goodwick Band based on your views) would agree that compared to other contests such as the open, Nationals, butlins, bic etc etc, the Welsh League is of a poor standard. To say/assume otherwise is a mixture of extreme stupidity and arrogance. I have no doubt that the bands competing in the league do their very best and achieve, perhaps even exceed their very best, nevertheless compared to other contests I'm pretty sure it's a poor one, hence the dying support and lack of entries - entries that only come from lesser bands.
  16. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    School holidays have finished then. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  17. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It's hard to understand why you might say "most people know who you are", you might get a few PM's asking for a name that could later make you a 'party' to something of ill consequence.

    I think you have put forward some good points, thanks for doing that, but at the end of the day economics will most likely decide the future.
  18. stopher

    stopher Member

    Quick question and nothing to do with venues (although we all know The resident tROll loves welsh contest venues!),
    Why is it called the welsh league when it only consists of bands affiliated to the SEWBBA and WWBBA? Surely to make it a " welsh" league, bands from all across Wales should be competing?

    Seems a bit odd to me, like the Baseball World Series only consisting of American teams!
  19. RedOctober

    RedOctober New Member

    I can only assume that by resident troll (or tROLL as you put it) you mean myself. It's not exactly my fault if welsh contests are continually held in poor venues or moronic locations, or even both as was the case in this years welsh area contest Chris. A shame that this is currently the trend when welsh banding is regarded as the best in the world lately, you should all have more pride!

    My response to your question would be, would your band seriously consider competing in the welsh league? And also do you think other bands in North Wales would consider entering, bearing in mind it's a dying/failing contest of a low standard and also the prize money on offer is pitiful?
    I can't see that it wouldn't be open to the bands in North Wales and what with the waning support I don't think the organisers are exactly in a position to say no to bands from North Wales wishing to enter. Assuming the organisers chose not to be stupid and allowed bands from North Wales to compete, the problem that you will face is that it will be a very long journey (this year in awkward locations like Fishguard that are a long way from civilisation) that will cost you a lot on travel etc and if even if you win, your winnings will only cover half of the coach fair I should think. Perhaps though with recent idiotic relocation decisions (Fishguard for example), you could persuade them to hold the league in North Wales every other year!
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Question, only tangentically related to what's gone before: Does a band have to be affiliated in some way to enter these contests?

    I sometimes think that with Blaenavon being only a couple of hours away by road, it might be a nice away-day type thing as a one-off for a band in the South Central England part of the world. I see that Lydbrook were at Blaenavon last year in the top section, so it must be possible. But it does seem to be very rare for English bands to attend. Does it mess up the league points structure if there are bands that only attend one contest? Or attend from out of area?

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