As one or two of you that know me are aware, I'm in the process of finishing work for my MA at the minute before finding some other way to avoid doing real work for a year. Sadly, this means that I need to put pen to paper. My latest essay title is: "Essentially an amateur tradition, brass bands have gone through great changes in their social role and method(s) of financing over the last century. What has caused this, what have bands done in response, and how successful has this been?" Now, I can get lots of easy stats from the arts council telling me how badly a lot of UK orchestras/opear comanies etc. are doing, but as far as I'm aware there's no real source to get relevant info regarding bands. My early plan is to concentrate on the colliery bands (or those that were) and how the've coped (or otherwise) with recent times. Also there will be a big section on public perception of brass bands and audience levels etc. So basically I'm out to collect as much information on this as possible. If you think you can tell me anything that might be useful, please do (through this thread or personal messages), and especially if your band has: had a loss/change of sponsorship at some point has very healthy finances, thank you very much never had sponsorship done something radical to obtain sponsorship/finance done something that's got big audiences you have been a member of a band that's folded If anything you send me is of a 'sensitive' nature please make a note in the message and I'll be sure to not mention bands/sponsors by name. If it's any good I'll post it on the web and you can all tell me how wrong I am!