Welsh Regional Venue

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stopher, Feb 26, 2007.


Your preference for future Welsh Regional venues:

  1. A central venue

  2. Alternating between South and North

  3. Rotating between North, South and Mid, each taking a year

  4. No change to current set-up

  1. stopher

    stopher Member

    Here we go with my annual moan (and I'm not making apologies either!)

    Seems to be loads of bands missing this year in Swansea - 47 bands (if I counted right!) has got to be the lowest ever at the Welsh Regional and proably the worst turnout in all the areas!

    I found out how much it is costing Menai Bridge to go - well over £2000 to travel down to Swansea for the coach and hotel and that is with the players contributing as well! I know more bands from North Wales would attend if there wasn't a huge financial problem in attending Swansea each year.

    The £2000 it is costing us took us aged to raise at Christmas (24 engagements in total) and I'm hoping that the powers that be in Welsh Banding listen to the bands in the north and at least give us a year off from this burden. With the Brangwyn booked until 2009, PLEASE CAN SOMEONE SEE SENSE AND IN 2010 MOVE IT CENTRAL OR EVEN NORTH FOR A YEAR!

    That would Give the bands in South Wales 3 years to save for it and means that the N Wales bands might actually have some money to survive another year or two without being financially crippled! Since the contest has moved to Swansea, Menai Bridge have coughed up the best part of £18000 to compete at this one contest. In other words, a full set of cornets and horns or 3 Eb basses.

    I don't think the Brangwyn is the best venue, especially as backstage looks as if it might be taken away from us if yet again there are problems.

    Can we look at other venues seriously and sensibly that all bands could afford to get to before we lose even more bands.

    My suggestions:

    1- Aberystwyth - Central and most bands could manage to travel to and from in here in a day keeping the cost down. Seem to remember the turnout being pretty good here too!

    2 PJ hall, bangor - great hall, plenty of rooms backstage. Good enough for NYBBW last summer and also BBC NOW 2 or 3 times a year!

    3 William Aston, Wrexham - Big hall with decent acoustic. Good enough for the NYBBW a few years ago but not brilliant backstage from what I remember
  2. Big Gav

    Big Gav Member

    Here here Chris!
  3. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    well put Chris.
    Couldn't agree more!!

  4. Di

    Di Active Member

    If such halls are available and reasonably priced across Wales, would it be possible to set them up on a three year rotation? That way, over time, it's fair to all?
  5. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    That's all we're asking for Di - to be fair to all bands - cos as it is now, and has been since 1998 - the odds (cost-wise at least) are heavily stacked against us North Walian bands. We're not expecting, nor are we asking for the event to be held in the North for the next 9 years to make up the balance (though it'd be nice ;) ) - all we want is a fair crack of the whip - either a rotational policy or a central venue. Surely the time has come for common sense?
  6. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    3 William Aston, Wrexham - Big hall with decent acoustic. Good enough for the NYBBW a few years ago but not brilliant backstage from what I remember

    ....don't know where we'll practise the day before our contest if it's held here as it's our rehearsal room!!!

    Good choice though!! and the others on a rotational basis!!
  7. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    Great thread.

    Either having the venue in Aberystwyth again or on an every other year North/South rotation would be good. As said, there are some cracking venues in North Wales - what about the North Wales Theatre in Llandudno as another suggestion?

    Surely it can't be down in South Wales alone for any longer than 2009? It will be 10 years too long as it is!
  8. Texus

    Texus Member

    Excuse johnny englander joining in here... I am well aware of the costs and arguments for moving the venue around Wales, and generally agree. However, having had the privelige of playing and conducting at the Areas at both Swansea and Aber, there is simply no comparison for style, history and atmosphere. Swansea every time. Or play in a crappy hall like Stevenage as i am now reduced to!
  9. Pastit

    Pastit Member

    I'd certainly sacrifice style and history for a decent acoustic every time!!

    I believe when we did our recording in the North for the first round of the Radio Cymru competion, a rep from the Regional Contest did acknowledge the pig of a journey from South to North he had made that morning, so there may be the faintest glimmer of hope on the horizon!
  10. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Mmmmm - glimmer of hope is one way to look at it ...... on the other hand he's more likely to go away thinking "I don't want to have to make that trip every 3 years, lets stay in Swansea" :(.
  11. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    In case you're reading this thread and aren't from N Wales, you might be interested to know that Bangor to Blackpool (N Wales used to be in N West area) is 130 miles and takes 2-2.5 hours in a coach, whilst Bangor to Swansea is 160 miles and takes 4-4.5 hours.
  12. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    .............it's basically all single lane A roads linking North To South, with the only 'bona fide' motorways being in the South of the country.
    On a good day you can get into London (c210 miles) quicker than you can get to Cardiff (140 ish?) from Wrexham!!!
  13. stotty74

    stotty74 Member

    I agree with the above.
    It costs Northop well over £1,500 to attend contests held in South Wales, and I know it can cost other bands even more. Fortunately, the band members may grumble about forking out yet again, but we all agree to cover the costs of the accommodation and so band funds are hardly hit. For the Radio Cymru final in Port Talbot, just over 3 months ago, the cost to the band and members was well over £1,500.
    Some may say not to bother staying down there, but when you have a VERY early start, then a journey lasting at least 5 hours, plus hanging around waiting to play and waiting for the results, the last thing you want to do is face another 5 hour journey back home!!
    I can’t see why it is not run on a 3-year rotational basis, or even 3 years at each venue. Moving it between North, South and Mid-Wales would surely encourage more bands to compete, as It reduces the financial burden on bands, and it would encourage bands with younger members who don’t want to travel and stay overnight.
    How do we actually go about changing this though? Who makes the decisions on where the venue should be? If meetings are held in South Wales, reps from up here have a 5-hour journey for a meeting in which they will probably be over-ruled anyway. Would be interesting to find out who makes the decisions.
  14. premacyblue

    premacyblue Member

    I agree with you. It seems very South Wales orientated every year. There are plenty of good concert halls in North Wales. Perhaps they should do like the Welsh British Legion do with competitions and hold the Welsh regionals in Rhayader or Llandridnod Wells which is right in the centre of Wales and would put the majority of bands on an equal travelling status. I know it is still a distance from Anglesey to Bangor via the bridge but I've found all roads running north-south in Wales to be easy to drive on (I live in the south now but used to live on Anglesey so can sympathise with your travelling problems).
  15. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    I think the voting process is 3 votes South East Wales 3 votes west Wales and 2 North Wales votes. I suppose we have to thank the welsh area commitee for the £2000 to support travel costs for all north wales bands ( around £200 per band ) ,could every north wales band entering the regional "arena" put £200 into a plus the £2000 donation and get a venue which is benifitial to all bands in Wales ( Aber Arts centre ,William Aston Hall , Bangor Uni,Venue Cymru(Llandudno) or even CAT( centre alternate technology in Machynlleth is a great friendly venue) I cant remember how many references on tmp there are about welsh banding and the area venue , moving venues on rotation is a bad idea just keep in in one place.
    The Brangwyn Hall is a terrible venue , bad access for percussion and instruments , parking is a joke the acoustic is not the best.
    Move the area make Welsh Banding fair for all not just an elite few.
    It's about 5 miles from Beaumaris to Bangor ( 2 from Menai Bridge)..
    Ho Hum if the North /South air route comes off it will make things worse environmentally for Wales but that is another issue.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  16. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    Some may say not to bother staying down there, but when you have a VERY early start, then a journey lasting at least 5 hours, plus hanging around waiting to play and waiting for the results, the last thing you want to do is face another 5 hour journey back home!!

    Good point Karl, how many people from North Wales will end up having to take the monday off work? Or at least the morning as after leaving N wales earlyish (say 7.ooam), drive the 4/5hrs to S wales, go to hired rehearsal venue (another cost), get draw, wait to play, wait for results, maybe a drink (prob get to leave Swansea maybe 10pm), get home maybe 2am earliest!!!
    That's a long day.......I for one leave the house before 7am to get to work for 8am so it'll be a days holiday for me I'd imagine!!
    Share it around, S Wales, Mid Wales, N Wales - 3 yr rotation.

    Also, as Nick states above, the parking around the Brangwyn is a joke, the backstage area is a joke, the access for percussion is a joke - I'm sure there are other areas with similar probs too but there are great modern venues with better facilities!!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  17. JayneSop

    JayneSop Member

    Why did north Wales bands move from the North West Area in to the welsh area a few years ago. What prompted this? Was it pressure from North Wales Bands or pressure from Organisers and sponsors?

  18. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Originally, North Wales bands had to leave the North West as the North Wales Region was set up in 1991 I think?. This was then merged into the Welsh Area in 1995. Was a bit of a funny one if truth be known - as part of the deal to merge into the Welsh Area, all North Walian bands were fixed in their relative sections for the first three years of the contest (no relegation and promotion) - I have no idea of the thinking behind this (I was too young to care back then ;) ) - but it meant we achieved a hat-trick of Area wins between 1995 & 1997 in the 3rd Section - something which I don't think could happen these days due to the way the tables are set up!
  19. Mr_Euniverse

    Mr_Euniverse Member

    Bit off topic but has intrigued me somewhat for a long time, and there's probably no definative answer.

    First Point of Ayr, then Northop now Beaumaris.
    Why do North Wales bands have majorly huge mass exodus' causing them to either disband or be relegated down a few divisions?
    If this never happened, there would be at least one really good champoinship band who would be close to rivalling the best in Wales (I mean Beaumaris has played really well over the past few years)

    Remember listening to them at RAH when they qualified. Playing Masquerade, I thought they played exceptionally well! Now though, to go from a Grand Shield band straight to what?
  20. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    ....you should read Chris's (Stopher) post on Welsh regionals page for an official reason for Beaumaris' change in situation. As in many bands, people get older, go to Uni, move bands...etc etc
    There are many reasons (to generalise) but we do have less players up here!!!!

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