Where do you get your money from?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by nethers, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    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!
  2. Despot

    Despot Member

    1. had a loss/change of sponsorship at some point
    No, change of financing though. In the past largely dependent on charity, which could be erratic. Charging a modest membership stabilised the financial situation, and allowed us the money to develop a junior band.

    2. has very healthy finances, thank you very much
    Quite healthy

    3. never had sponsorship
    Never, although have approached businesses to sponsor individual instruments and again for a recent trip to the USA.

    4. done something radical to obtain sponsorship/finance
    Not radical, but we have staged large draws when we need extra money, ie our new bandroom.

    5. done something that's got big audiences
    Concerts with other musical groups, and different groups each time. Never had bad attendance at a concert.

    6. you have been a member of a band that's folded
  3. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    3. never had sponsorship:
    Never, to my knowledge. We usually get our bookings for the fun of it and don't charge any fees beyond if it's a dinner event, "please feed the starving band members." ;) Usually what happens though, is the people who booked us usually wind up not only feeding us, but warmly welcome us into their festivities and even 'pass the hat' for donations. We usually can't resist playing some encore pieces and giving them their money's worth... as it were. Makes me feel all warm inside when we've had a good night and people have enjoyed our music, which is something I've found that I want more of - so I'm hooked for the long-term. Good for the soul.

    5. done something that's got big audiences:
    Brass banding hasn't exactly established itself as an overwhelming West Texas tradition. We're lucky to find many people or organizations outside of the usual groups that have even heard of us. But once they hear us play, they usually want to hear some more. There's a couple of annual events that we play at (along with our community band) that usually gets the attention of the entire city though... which doesn't hurt our feelings a bit.

    6. you have been a member of a band that's folded:
    Nope, and hope to never have the 'honor.'

    Good luck with your research paper.
  4. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    #1 Had a loss/change of sponsorship at some point

    Edgar Dickinson has been sponsoring the band for around 10 years and has been a benefactor for much much longer. As far as I'm concerned our band's modern history very much involves him.

    #2 Has very healthy finances, thank you very much

    Healthy yes, though we are in the process of meetings with Kirklees to secure funding for our new bandroom.

    #3 Never had sponsorship


    #4 Done something radical to obtain sponsorship/finance

    Not that I'm aware of ...

    #5 Done something that's got big audiences

    Our band has a large number of supporters, including patrons, members of our junior bands and their parents, Edgar and his friends. Our annual Xmas concert is always a packed house and we recently played to a full Huddersfield Town Hall. We put on numerous charity concerts at "The Venue" in Barkisland which always received a warm audience.

    #6 You have been a member of a band that's folded

  5. B'aht a band

    B'aht a band Member

    I can remember when Jayess 87 were just about to fall through the floor. It was about 1996, all contest/concert prize money had gone, mainly on deps and we were down to about 15 players round the stand. A mysterious benefactor (for annonymousity(I dunno) we shall call him daddy) loaned the band a couple of grand, which was repayable without harsh repayment interest. Without that loan, the band would have folded. Any band which can get and maintain decent sponsorship these days deserves every success that they can get.

    Just my opinion.
  6. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Hatfield 'Colliery' Band, now Hatfield Band is one of the bands that has managed to survive since the demise of the colliery industry. Just.

    It has never had a major sponsor, although over the years a few local companies have supported the band with new uniforms, rehearsal facilities and/or transport.

    Financially it has been very difficult. Each year has been a struggle to raise the funds needed. This has been done through fundraising initiatives, concerts, donations and grants.

    Hopefully, the band have got better times to look forward to having recently received sponsorship from the local town council.
  7. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    We get a big amount of our money through local Grants Art Councils etc
  8. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Just a quick one - thanks to those of you that have posted, it all really will help!

    Something else that might help me (though please continue with the above questions too):

    Brass banding has certainly become more of a hobby for it's own members than a respected performance genre in it's own right. How do we go about making Joe Public want to come to our events and changing this? Has anyone done anything to encourage this? How did you get on?

    Thanks again peeps.
  9. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    Well again, Brass Banding's not a huge draw in West Texas. But what we've done to establish ourselves is approach the planning committees of several local 'big' events and offered to play to enhance their event and save them some money by filling time. We usually get a warm welcome and are asked back for future engagements.

    One of the bigger events in San Angelo, is 'Christmas at Fort Concho.' Fort Concho is one of the 'Wild West Frontier Forts' that has been restored and even has a society of locals that keep the fort alive by preserving the period traditions and facilities. During the Christmas celebration, we book some time and play Christmas tunes and mix in some of the period music from Fort Concho's time. Most of the arrangements we play are some of the same tunes you might be familiar with, as our librarian likes to 'import' our music from many of the same sources you get yours from (he likes to bring as much authenticity to our experience as he can). And he also picks out some of the period pieces from research he's done and tracked down the music from there. Some of our players are retired music teachers, so we tend to get help with last minute arrangements as necessary - mostly to help me out... I'm one of those weirdos that only reads Bass clef (for now). (don't sack me ;) )

    People who attend the events we play usually wind up requesting us to help out with their events, because they enjoy the music as well as we like the exposure. This year, we played 3 more Christmas parties than last year. And we're looking forward to some more play dates in the spring, as some of the other regional Forts have learned about our affiliation with Fort Concho. Also during the annual 4th of July celebration, we share some time on stage with our San Angelo Community Band and San Angelo Symphony during a Pops concert prior to and during fireworks. (that usually garners around 12-15,000 spectators). And then the community band's free concerts during the summer, we usually share some stage time with them as well... especially since the members of our brass band make up pretty much the whole brass section of the community band. :D

    Our 'uniforms' consist of black pants, black shoes, and a white long-sleeve dress shirts (provided by each individual), and a tux vest and bow-tie (provided by the band thru fund-raisers and donations in the past). We all have our own instruments (some more than others) and we borrow music stands, chairs (as necessary) and whatnot from Angelo State University, who also 'sponsors' the community band. "Sponsors" meaning: providing us a place to rehearse, music stands, chairs, 'loaner' instruments if necessary, et al.

    It's a good deal with minimal investment from the individuals. Although, a bit bigger operating fund would be nice to purchase more music selections, our own music stands, chairs, and a small trailer for the gear, etc... but maybe someday down the road. For now it's just fun.

    I'm in the process of building a website for our brass band, and I had put one together a few months ago for the San Angelo Community Band. We really have a wide range of talents among the banders and everybody pitches in to help our efforts, as it were.

    Again, a minimal amount of funding required to support our 'habit.'
  10. persins

    persins Member

    Right then!
    I currently play for SWT Woodfalls who have had a sponsorship deal with South West Trains for a number of years (hence the SWT!) and that has been greatly appreciated. On top of that, the band also undertakes a great deal of engagements throughout the year to raise further funds. These include Gala concerts as well as P&O jobs (standing in the cold on the quayside of Southampton playing to the people leaving on the cruise ships). We also generate income by selling our CDs at every opportunity although mainly at concerts!

    When I was at Lympstone, we also had sponsorship from South West Telecommunications Group (another SWT!). Here, there was also a subs system whereby each member paid a weekly fee (although you didn't just have to pay weekly!).

    Torbay - I'm not really sure what went on. I think there was subs but I was a struggling student at the time and so don't remember paying them! We did a number of concerts on the sea front in the summer instead of locking ourselves away in the rehearsal room and I'm sure that generated a couple of quid!

    Tadley - have always had a subs system but suplimented that with vast amounts of carol playing at christmas and random little fete type concerts throughout the year! There is also the weekly raffle within the band for 50p a ticket. Band personnel rotate providing the prizes.

    I think that covers it!