Why The Uniform.....?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by cornetshell, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. cornetshell

    cornetshell Member

    After just watching the European Vid.... the question comes into my head

    why do most bands still wear 'traditional' uniforms?-
    I know that there is the cost obviously of re-fitting the whole band etc etc-

    but they are not the most comfortable or flattering of things to wear....
    (not that a band contest is a fashion parade!!) and i am sure it probably puts off a lot of youngsters comming up and through into this "hobby"....

    what are peoples thoughts on this.....?

    Would you rather be wearing a more modern get up- or are you proud of the past and like the uniforms to show the tradition??

  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I agree that the image of brass bands needs modernised, but can't decide how we should look! I have a private chuckle to myself whenever I'm at a contest wondering if the general public think (... some do) it's a bus driver's day out or a waiter's conference. The waistcoats in use by a growing number of bands is practical for warm stage use, and dumbs-down the military style traditional presentation of bands ... but what about outdoor work and marches? Do we overemphasise our presence like American bands (or like the recently reviewed bands down-under) to attract the attention of young kids and their parents by wearing bright, colourful uniforms?
  3. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    I know I have been in bands in the past that would get lynched by various old people around the village if they dared to change their uniform, especially for the annual walking days etc. I'm not really fussed either way about what we were. I do feel perhaps we'd lose something at a band contest if everyone came on in black DJs though.
  4. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Band Uniforms are an identity.... YBS walk out for concert or contest and you know it's them from their uniform.... Dyke walk out in theirs, again u know it's them.... Leyland and their 'white' jackets ;-).... etc etc... all identity.

    Yes, you may beable to recongnise a band from the faces, but from a distance, or someone who wasnt a band freak, they'd know (or have a rough idea) from the uniform...

    I think uniforms are great and no matter what band you play in, you can feel proud to wear that uniform.
    I dont think it puts youngsters off playing in bands at all.... just look at how much talent their is across the world... !!! I think if I was a kid I'd want to wear the uniform! I came into banding a bit later in life so just went along with the jackets n things... but really liked it :)
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Orchestras have tried to attract a wider audience in recent years (especially for telly purposes) by adopting a more informal, casual approach with coloured stage lighting to appear more relevant to Joe Public and minimising the dinner suit appearance. The younger solo talents have become fashion conscious to directly match that of their peer groups and with a little doctoring of the music (and public exposure, for good or bad) have become fixed in people's memories!!! Brass bands seems rooted in nostalgia for most people in my opinion and that is a dangerous position to be in.
  6. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    Different styles for different events works well - we did traditional 1st half in uniform then swing 2nd half in coloured shirts once - shame everyone turned up in purple!!!

    Some things the uniform has to be worn for - contests, Whits etc, others it's not as important.

    Rach x
  7. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Soundhouse have started wearing bright shirts for 2nd half of concerts which I think is a nice idea... works well and goes down well with the audience... and, having done this myself, it's nice to change ya shirt half way through as well... freshens you up a bit, and it's a bit cooler :)

    looks good too
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... that's fine for us to recognise who's who but Joe Public will just view a Briggus or Dyke uniform as just another brass band! Flute, pipe and accordian bands go to lengths as well to be well dressed and indentifiable, but would you know one from the other in each group (... if you even really cared) ??? Hope you see my point, that although bands of all sorts have traditionally dressed in basically military styles, they are from a bygone era!
  9. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I think the uniforms are good for the identity of the band...just as football teams wear the same strip.

    I'm proud to wear our jacket, it lets people know who we are.
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    But football teams who wear identifiable colours and design (plain, striped or patterned) modify them from season to season to keep up with image and sales marketing. In fact, most sports take advantage of both design & fashion developments to maintain a contemporary profile.
  11. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Can you imagine how much it'd cost to keep changing the uniform?
  12. I used to despise wearing jackets when i was younger, especially because the uniforms were so over the top but now i enjoy being seen at a concert in my jacket because you instantly get more respect and it makes people wonder about you and gets you noticed. However they can get far too hot!
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Professional sports teams can afford to do that but my point is that they make an effort to keep in touch with modern times!

    Why do you think bands (of all forms) used the military style originally?
  14. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    :sup Nicola theyre ace!! Kinda embarrassing walking round town in them though... :oops:
    An you boil to death in them when it hot... But theyre ace!
  15. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Cos bands were military??? I dunno why?
    They look smart though make you stand out.
  16. Jamie

    Jamie Member

    I agree with that, but the bands you cite don't all wear the traditional jackets with all the shoulders pads, braiding and gumph... Leyland's white (for the sake of argument ;) ) jackets aren't all that traditional, and green shirts? Not all that traditional either...

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    Having said that, however, I do like the jackets, not that I got to wear them much, and don't think bands should change for the sake of it... only if they can do something different. It is about having a uniform unique to your band, a sense of solidarity between those wearing it, and I certainly don't see kids put off by it.

    As for the football teams changing their strips so frequently... that's largely because kids buy replicas of those, and they make a packet out of flogging 3 or more strips a season to them! And those strips tend to start fashions, as opposed to following them. They change strips to make money as much as, if not more than, anything else. How many kids do you see spending on replica band jackets?! :eek:
  17. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... you will find that amateur bands started wearing military style uniforms in the late 19th Century after wars (e.g., the American Civil War) ended. Service musicians who were returned to civilian life continued the idea of playing in bands and used the military uniform as a basis for identifying with members of the public who were maybe involved in fighting (and enjoyed marching behind bands).
  18. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Traditional uniforms on stage, yes. Wearing them off stage outside in the street or in the pub a BIG no.

    I'm still a great fan of the walk out uniform, I think it's good in identifying who you are and keeps you in that "team" frame of mind.

    I hate dumbing down into jeans after a performance.
  19. sterlingsop

    sterlingsop Member

    I may be accused of sitting on the fence here, but I reckon that there is scope to modernise the uniforms so that they are more practcal and appealing to wear on and off stage, yet still maintain that sense of solidarity and team-ship that a "proper" uniform gives. I would hate to see our movement going down the road towards American style uniforms, but there is a lot to be said for taking the corsetry out of our "traditional" jackets!!

    I like the idea of having an informal looking 2nd half to a concert, but I would argue that at contests and for church parades (Whit, Trinity, Remembrance etc) we should be more formal.

    As for kids being put off by uniforms, in my experience kids absolutely LOVE uniforms, and usually jump at the chance to wear anything like that. Especially if they get to wear badges and loads of scrambled egg with them too ;) . However, it's the tweenies that are put off by them - young people of say between 12 and 16.

    And band jackets in pubs??? Bad idea - I never seem to get the smell of beer out of mine!
  20. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Aye.... but tradition and identity are two different things.... ;-)

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