Whit Friday Congestion

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Trackerbar, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Trackerbar

    Trackerbar New Member

    After reading a post by the 'Baritone Impressario' I thought I would start this thread.

    Most of the 'Big Bands' ( not 'so called', because they are!) Get round and do plenty because they start very early and have someone planning the route that actually knows what they are doing.

    But here is a potential answer to the problem-
    Whit Friday is a great night out but gets too congested. In years gone by, bands, if I am not mistaken, had to do a church service in the morning as part of the festival before competing.

    This is obviously not possible now, so why not let all the bands start at the normal times, and then filter out all the bands from section 2 downwards, ie:leaving 1st and top.
    This would make it possible for the bands that are going for prize money to potentially win more and the lower section bands, have their fun and then get the invaluable experience of hearing the very best.

    Before anyone asks why not top only? It has been proved that 1st section are more than capable of beating top bands, just look at the overall results, Marsden and Holme Silver are notable examples, and if i'm not mistaken, BOTH bands play in the festival in the morning, which makes their achievements even more remarkable!

    Also, in reply to 'BI' to my knowledge the top bands get no favours, in fact i'm informed that when Leyland won 10 firsts, 2 seconds and a third prize a few years ago, they waited almost an hour before the last contest.
    Any thoughts anyone?
  2. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    The big bands will have a set route and know which places are generally quiet when. They also tend to take it very seriously and not stop off at every pub on the route. Some may well go around Tameside which is a lot quieter (30 bands per venue as opposed to 60 at Saddleworth).

    It can look a bit suspicious and there may be a little bit of 'pushing in'. It doesn't bother me because I go for a laugh, but I can see why other bands may object. It's an age old topic which has been discussed many a time on tMP around Whit Friday time and will continue I'm sure for ages!
  3. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    'have their fun' is a bit patronising. While we might not have a chance of coming first at any venue, many venues have lower section prizes to compete for, and even if they don't, all bands want to come as high up as they can at each contest.

    As most of the villages only have 1 or 2 entrances, couldn't there be a marshall at the entrance to each village noting down the order in which coaches enter the village, and then get them playing in that order. This would stop bands phoning ahead, or having a plant already there to get them up the queue.
  4. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    As a player with a lower section band I can tell you that a lot of my fun is taken from the fact that I could be following, or playing before, one of the big bands up the road. That's partly what the thrill of Whit Friday is about for me. You take that away and most of what's special about the event is taken out.
  5. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    From my experience "lower section bands" take Whit Friday just as seriously as any "big" band, and work just as hard in preparation to do as well as they possible can do on the night, hopefully taking away a few tropies and a bit of prizemoney. Also from my experience, it can be done!!

    It is also possible for "lower section" bands to beat some "top section bands", this too has also been done, so I see little point in filtering at all.

    The great thing about Whit Friday contests is that they are open to any band at all, regardless of their "standard". I enjoy playing against the different "sections" of bands and think it would be very unfair to "lower section" bands to filter them out. Filtering seems a bit of an elitist idea to me.
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    The idea of 'filtering out' the 'lower' section bands could be taken as an attempt to avoid the embarressment of a 'big band' being beaten by one of these 'lower' section bands.

    You don't say who (or at least what level) of band you play for Trackerbar, I hope your not running scared! ;)
  7. madsaz

    madsaz Member

    we did 14 last year with no favours. This was mainly because we did 6 on the bounce without waiting, by starting at quiter venues in Tameside. By the time we hit a queue we were very grateful for it because our lips needed a rest.

    But we do take it seriously and don't stop at pubs - no messing around and we are straight back on the coach afterwards. I don't want any other bands leaving out. That is the fun of Whit Friday.
  8. Jen

    Jen New Member

    Marching down the street and playing at Greenfield at gone midnight this year was one of the best feelings ever! We were knackered but it topped off a great night and we got a good result too.
    Noone can deny all lower section bands that feeling.
  9. Terrible Timp

    Terrible Timp Member

    Got to agree with 2md it's a great thrill for a lower section band to tell anyone who knows anything or has any interest in brass bands that you followed the likes of Black Dyke or Brighouse on at any of the Whit friday Contests, i love Whit Friday and to stop lower section bands going would be a major dissapointment.
  10. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    only place that Eckythump colliery can compete with bands such as grimethorpe or Dyke, I personally do it for fun, but then I enjoy playing at as many as poss and trying as hard as poss, plently of time to get munted after the contests are over :D

    whit friday/beer walk is possibly the best weekend of the year!! :D
  11. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    The top paragraph of this statement although probably not intended to be such, i find really quite offensive. To be blunt, lower section bands want to win just as much as top section bands wherever they play, and for you to say that the only reason lower section bands go to Whit Friday is to 'have there fun' is insulting and degrading to every lower section bandsperson. Yes Whit Friday is about having fun, but for the 4 minutes you play the contest march for you ALSO want to give the best performance you are capable of.
    I remember the first whit friday i did with a Junior band...we followed Besses and the band after us was Grimethorpe!! That is the biggest thrill any young bandsman can hope for and to take that away would take away the meaning of Whit friday which gives everyone the chance to compete against the very best.

    As for the 2nd statement, at the Brighouse March contest this year (Hymn tune and March) Emley Band (4th section) finished just 1 point behind United Co-op Yorkshire Band (Championship section) who i played with at the time in the march section of the contest. Just like Whit Friday that was a one off, and ok on a set test piece my new band Emley wouldnt have a chance against a top section band but in a march it was proved that it is possible on any one given day to almost match them!

    So only 1st section bands are capable of beating championship bands are they????? I for one will continue to 'have my fun' with Emley, who are probably the friendliest band on the planet AND we take our music very seriously as well.

    So as somebody who has played at both the top level and in the 4th section segregation would destroy the band movement and frankly i'm afraid parts of the original post are in my opinion utter drivel.

    Rant over...back to calm CK :biggrin:
  12. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Here here!! :clap:
  13. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    I may be a villain here for being in a Championship section band and offering a slightly different perspective to those presented already. For me the Whit Friday contest is the only "true" brass band competition left in banding i.e it involves a more diverse cross section of the public who don't particularly know the sections that most (excluding the "named" bands) occupy. Although the reaction for a Dyke etc would understandably be more (sadly ;-)) rapturous other bands are equally appreciated not like the fickle crowd at the Major championship section contests certainly.

    As a player in one of the "name" bands I admit that I am often frustrated at being held up by other bands, but thats part of the day and event. However the ones that really get my goat are the ones who are drunk and take ages and ages to prepare on the march and at the main performance square. There are occasions where we have bent the rules to our own benefit, like being at a place, registering and then going somewhere else. Perhaps this isn't in the spirit of the event! But if we don't get back in time for our performance then I expect to have to wait for a certain number of bands to get through.

    However last year a certain band turned up at a venue late, having registered several bands previous and expected to waltz straight on because of who they were....I'm glad to say that the organisers told them that they had to wait for the other bands, something that they didn't like at all.

    I just think that although lower sectiuon bands are essential to the banding movement, a lot more than the big bands anyway, that some savour the "entertainments" too much, too early and other bands who are just doing it not for the sake of finance, reputation and status but for a good drinking session should give way to any band of any standard who are trying to win cash that may finance some of their banding overheads, which are considerable...

    But as I said, as a championship player it sometimes becomes all a bit frustrating that we can't play in all the venues we want to and entertain as many people as we can.
  14. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    I played at Whit Friday this year for the first time with Emley and so can only mirror the comments of 2ndmandown and Cornetking in that the thrill was in following bands like Black Dyke. It would have not been the same if we'd had to go earlier on in the day and then let the "big boys" do the serious stuff later on. Even though Emley are a 4th section band I never at any stage considered it a "jolly boys out" and never went out with the intention to get leathered, in fact the whole attitude of the band mirrored that of a high section band, and we had our "entertainment" when we got back to the bandroom later that night.

    Last year I came up to Whit Friday as a spectator for the very first time and watched 50 bands at Delph. The thing that appealed to me was that you didn't know who was going to go up next. One minute it was Fodens, then it was the Caravan and Camping club band, then Brighouse then the University of Warwick where the Sop player was leathered and seemed to be struggling to stay upright.

    As a spectator every performance was good to watch for very different reasons, whether it be for high standards of play, admiring players who were obviously not of a good standard but still had a go in front of hundreds of people or for the comedy value of seeing the effects of alcahol on a long day of contesting. One thing that was noticable was that every band received a huge round of applause from the crowd afterwards regardless of who they were. I played at Delph this year and the march down the high street was one of the highlights of my banding career. An experience that may not have been repeated earlier on in the day.

    Whit Friday is not about providing a platform for "top" bands to top up their finances for future trips to the Open or London. In fact it's not just about the bands who take part. It's also about the people who stand for hours and watch all of the bands. The appeal of Whit Friday is the diversity of the bands playing. It's a bit arrogant to tell us the public who we should watch and at what time just because a high section band feels it deserves to have a better chance of winning cash.

    In my opinion Whit Friday is fine as it is and bands should remember it isn't just about them
  15. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    At no point did I say that people should not get boozed up and over enjoy themselves. My point is, if you want to do that, and in my opinion perpetuate the brass playing stereotype, then go ahead and do it but expect to be moved around in the order so that bands that are trying to get around as fast and efficiently as posible have the best opportunity to do so.

    As for the financial aspect.....jeez, over a calendar year I would probably say, without any precise knowledge, that a Championship band would easily spend at least 19 to 20 thousand pound going to the Open, Nationals, Area and Brass in Concert or any combination of these contests. Going to the Europeans will be even worse, add another 10 onto it for representing their country. Also not all Championship section bands have individual sponsors to back their activities so they do need the cash. For me personally it isn't about the money, but as I said before, its about trying to do as many places as possible without being needlessly held up here and there. I'm sure if "we" (as a band) hypothetically decided to do Tameside instead of Saddleworth we may be able to get around all the villages and venues.

    People may want to have a laugh and giggle at the "Brassed off-esque" type of drunken rambling down a street with slides coming out and stuff, but what does that do to the image of banding to new audiences. Social activities are an integral part of the performance routine, I know because that's what I've been studying, but surely bands that are there to get hammered irrelevant of how they play after the first two performances should be handicapped against 4th, 3rd, 2nd or whatever the section bands who are trying to do as many venues as possible and soak in the special atmoshphere...
  16. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    So who has the final say as to which bands are there for a laugh and which aren't?? You just can't enforce it, and if you start telling band A that they don't deserve to go on yet because band B look to be taking it more seriously and should go on before them, you'll soon find that Whit Friday dissappears all together. If anyone told me that another band was going before me because they were taking it more seriously they'd have to have my cornet surgically removed from somewhere rather uncomfortable. :mad:

    Whit Friday is perfect as it is. It's a perfect blend of everything that I and a lot of people love about banding.
  17. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Whits shouldnt be changed, its about the most organised chaos in the banding calender.

    Start telling the lower section / scratch / drunk bands that they have to go to the back of the queue and its ruined. Lets just stop picking fault with the best day in the callender and just get on with it.

    take care
  18. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    Well fair enough....thats your opinion. I don't see it changing myself and of course you are right about who will enforce it. I like mixing with the lower section bands and having a laugh and a bit of banter. However if you have a band that has most of their players so hammered they can't march straight can't play within commonsense parameters then can you see that the band that follows will be slightly aggrieved at having to wait.

    I was merely saying that there is frustration in waiting in some instances behind some bands who are a shambles in preparing and are worse for wear. Bands have different goals and when this happens you have a clash of opinions and different kinds of frustration....(better rephrase that! Nah...its too late in the evening!) 2nd man down...I apologise for raising your blood pressure... Will a beer at our next meeting sort the argument and call a truce...??? :)
  19. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Beer?? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :tongue: *Puts cornet and KY Jelly away again*
  20. VenusTromster

    VenusTromster Member

    I'd say that it isn't perfect as otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

    Midwalesman comes up with some fair points. The first section band I play in are not allowed to drink until we get to our very last contest. We are out all day in the church parades and by the time the contest starts we are all quite tired. However we push ourselves and for the past couple of years have finished in high position.

    I feel that it is a problem that not all bands now have to play in a parade in the morning to be able to enter as I'm sure that if they did we would all be starting at the same tired point in the evening, then it might be possible for all the 'named' bands to be beaten instead of going out nice and fresh compared to the bands that have kept the tradition and spirit of Whit Friday.