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IanHeard
20.03.2006, 15:53
Is it not time that we looked again at how many bands
each region sends to the National Finals.
Whilst I accept that the current rules are being
correctly applied, it cannot be fair that the North of
England on the strength of only 5 entries in the 2nd
section is permitted to send 2 bands to Harrogate and
the WoE Area which had 16 entries is also sending 2
bands!(you do the math!)
Having only ever played in the L&SC and the WoE
regionals myself, its seems the larger regions tend to
lose out in terms of fair representation at the finals
to the North and the Celtic nations.

chizzum
20.03.2006, 15:58
hmmm good point, I see where you are coming from but there is a little point behind it. But i agree something needs to be changed

IanHeard
20.03.2006, 16:04
hmmm good point, I see where you are coming from but there is a little point behind it. But i agree something needs to be changed

"Little point"......?

chizzum
20.03.2006, 16:13
there must be some point for them to nly send certain numbers from cetain areas

brasscrest
20.03.2006, 16:33
The reason for the bottom limit of two bands per region is probably intended to ensure that there is a floor number (14?) competing in each section at the finals.

Seems like the numbers were chosen in an arbitrary fashion. Just so we all know what the current rule is -




Up to 16 bands entered .. 2 bands qualify
17 to 24 bands entered .. 3 bands qualify
25 bands and over entered 4 bands qualify


Using the same spread, it could be changed to have one more level at the bottom, up to 8 bands - 1 qualify; 9 to 16 - 2 qualify.

kirmat's point is a good one - there is a bigger spread from no bands to two bands qualifying than from two to three, which can be seen as a bit of a penalty for the regions with better attendance.

Anno Draconis
20.03.2006, 16:42
I remember playing in the brief and unlamented "North Wales" region in the early 90s when there was 1 band (Point of Ayr) in the top section and 2 in the 1st section. I played for Northop and all we had to do was beat the other band in the 1st section (Buckley?); bizarrely Point had to get a certain number of points to qualify.

It is a bit farcical and there certainly shouldn't be 2 bands in the North 2nd section qualifying. Maybe in similar cases the organisers could take one qualification place away and instead have a "wild card" place to be given to the highest placed non-qualifying band playing in the biggest section? Or a non-qualifying band with the best record in the Areas over the last 2 years?

IanHeard
20.03.2006, 17:30
It is clear that when the thresholds were set, the organisers had not allowed for a dearth of entries as in the NoE 2nd Section this year.
With more bands struggling I can see this being a growing problem and it would be nice if Besson/Kapitol could use some discretion and on a ad-hoc basis invite the odd extra band (as in other Contests) to address this anomaly or perhaps lower the thresholds.
I think it would be unfair to cut the NoE qualifiers, we need to encourage particpation not limit it.

GJacko
20.03.2006, 17:58
It is clear that when the thresholds were set, the organisers had not allowed for a dearth of entries as in the NoE 2nd Section this year.
With more bands struggling I can see this being a growing problem and it would be nice if Besson/Kapitol could use some discretion and on a ad-hoc basis invite the odd extra band (as in other Contests) to address this anomaly or perhaps lower the thresholds.
I think it would be unfair to cut the NoE qualifiers, we need to encourage particpation not limit it.
It wasn't only NoE. Midlands second section had just 12 entries, the smallest (apart from top, which is limited to 12) by some way. Something to do with the taxing nature of the piece, I think.

Fundamentally I think you are right, more bands, more finals places and vice versa. The rules do cater for this to a certain extent. However, I think what is really needed is a complete re-think of our organisation and competitions. Just need someone with the time, energy and money to do it. Any takers??

Steve
20.03.2006, 18:05
I think we would all love the chance to get in there and start re-organising the banding movement Graham, unfortunately I cant see there being a vacancy!! If it isnt broken (beyond repair) then dont try and fix it seems to be the general attitude in my eyes. Unfortunately there is only so far all the unrest can go before the organising committees have to stop relying on the 'its traditional' excuses.

sugarandspice
20.03.2006, 18:16
It is clear that when the thresholds were set, the organisers had not allowed for a dearth of entries as in the NoE 2nd Section this year.
With more bands struggling I can see this being a growing problem and it would be nice if Besson/Kapitol could use some discretion and on a ad-hoc basis invite the odd extra band (as in other Contests) to address this anomaly or perhaps lower the thresholds.
I think it would be unfair to cut the NoE qualifiers, we need to encourage particpation not limit it.

When you look at the National rules i guess its clear that the 3rd placed band just missed out, had there been 1 more band in the section then they would be going to Harrogate too, unlucky i guess.

Agree with steve, if it ain't broke don't fix it. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Someone is always going to just miss out, some areas always have more bands than others. It's just the way the banding world works! :)

johnmartin
20.03.2006, 18:27
One also has to consider the size of the sections at the subsequent Nationals. Ok for the RAH where there is only one section but what about Harrogate where the other four sections are held? 8 regions sending 2 bands each gives a sensible number of 16 bands minimum. Any bigger than that and you're getting into silly numbers, early starts and late finishes etc.

Steve
20.03.2006, 18:28
Agree with steve, if it ain't broke don't fix

Thats not what I said!

sugarandspice
20.03.2006, 18:33
Sorry, steve said :

If it isnt broken (beyond repair) then dont try and fix it seems to be the general attitude in my eyes..

sooooper sop
20.03.2006, 18:46
With me being a relative newcomer to tmp, please forgive me if I'm repeating anything said in the past......
Brass band contesting in Britain must be the unfairest, most inconsistant and eccentric pastime ever, don't get me wrong I love it and hate it ....I'm sure you know what I mean!
To have some poor soul locked in a box/tent and listen to possibly 20 plus bands and be expected to choose the best 3 or 4 without any guidlines or system of marking other than their own is pure tourture.
We seem to accept the current format of contesting because it's always been done 'this' way. Surely there must be a better way, how about a national league, divided into sections with 3 or 4 contests marks averaged and the top 10 from each league qualify for the finals?
Perhaps a consistant 'marking ' system for adudicators, with 2 judges per contest in seperate boxes?
A CD recording of each performance, so that the judges can remind themselves of a performance, after all any 10 year old nowadays knows how to make a CD!
Remarks and contepranious notes for each performance sealed in an envelope and opened in front of band representitives.
I'm sure I could think of more points but would like to hear what you guys think, after all it's our movement and our contests, surely it would benifit from a little moderization?

IanHeard
20.03.2006, 18:57
When you look at the National rules i guess its clear that the 3rd placed band just missed out, had there been 1 more band in the section then they would be going to Harrogate too, unlucky i guess.

Agree with steve, if it ain't broke don't fix it. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Someone is always going to just miss out, some areas always have more bands than others. It's just the way the banding world works! :)

I concede that the rules are being correctly applied, my point is that the rules are unwittingly punitive to the larger regions.
Having qualified for the finals on 5/6 occasions ( I`m very old!) I do understand the dynamic involved in the qualifying process and can take a knockback on the chin (usually!) but the disparity in the number of entries in this case is unusual and worth discussing and god forbid........ ..it needs a change of the rules.

"It is broke and IMO needs fixing".

brasscrest
20.03.2006, 19:38
...it needs a change of the rules.



I agree with you that this situation is likely to recur. So, assuming that a rule change is in order, what would you do?

IanHeard
20.03.2006, 20:13
I agree with you that this situation is likely to recur. So, assuming that a rule change is in order, what would you do?

As someone else has said perhaps one or two bands could be considered for a "Wildcard" to attend the finals each year.
Other high profile contests like the Open invite "extra" bands occasionally and no-one seems to mind that.
If the Area contests can accommdate 20+ bands, why not the finals?(don`t forget the lower section finals don`t have to cater for the championship section)
In today`s tough banding climate a National Finals appearance can be huge fillip to a band fortunes, lets be inclusive not be bound by outdated rules!
Perhaps if we only had a dozen bands at the finals we could all be home by teatime!:)

Accidental
20.03.2006, 21:07
imo its not the rules that need changing, its the size of the regions.
this year 82 bands competed in the L&SC region, compared with 43 in the North!

IanHeard
20.03.2006, 21:14
imo its not the rules that need changing, its the size of the regions.
this year 82 bands competed in the L&SC region, compared with 43 in the North!

Less but bigger regions or more but smaller ones?
In the case of the latter we tried that and changed it to the current set-up.

Accidental
20.03.2006, 21:29
Same number of regions, different borders to ensure aq more even number of bands in each.
You only have to look at a map of Britain to see how dodgy the current set-up is!

stevetrom
20.03.2006, 21:41
imo its not the rules that need changing, its the size of the regions.
this year 82 bands competed in the L&SC region, compared with 43 in the North!

what about looking at the regional catchment areas, we (Brackley) play in the Midlands, but Kidington and Stonesfield (both less than 20 miles away) are in L&SC. There must be many other examples like this, if someone had the time and energy to look at bands ranking and location maybe some balancing of numbers could take place.

GJacko
20.03.2006, 21:42
I think we would all love the chance to get in there and start re-organising the banding movement Graham, unfortunately I cant see there being a vacancy!! If it isnt broken (beyond repair) then dont try and fix it seems to be the general attitude in my eyes. Unfortunately there is only so far all the unrest can go before the organising committees have to stop relying on the 'its traditional' excuses.
I wasn't suggesting there is a vacancy, quite the opposite.

I've read a lot of criticism over the last couple of weeks (Regionals time). What I am saying is, if we're not happy, then someone needs to take over and run it in their own way. My guess is that not many people want the responsibility, and headache that goes with it. We always question the rules when it suits.

I can think of a million things that are wrong, but it's only direct action that is effective.

DaveR
20.03.2006, 22:00
what about looking at the regional catchment areas, we (Brackley) play in the Midlands, but Kidington and Stonesfield (both less than 20 miles away) are in L&SC. There must be many other examples like this, if someone had the time and energy to look at bands ranking and location maybe some balancing of numbers could take place.

I know of one village that had two bands (not sure if both bands are still going). One was in the the WoE, and the other was in L&SC. From the same village!!!!! Genius! :clap:

trumpetmike
20.03.2006, 22:41
The borders have got to be somewhere - if it happens that your nearest band is in a different region, does it matter?

There is much that seems to be wrong with the way things are done, but I'm not sure that adapting the regions will have much effect on the relative fairness, or otherwise, of the event.
There are certain regions of the country where the standard of bands is higher than others - by using geographical regions as the only way to decide the finalists, I would consider this to be more unfair than just about anything else.
A band that might qualify in one area would have serious trouble doing so in some others.

Accidental
20.03.2006, 22:45
what about looking at the regional catchment areas, we (Brackley) play in the Midlands, but Kidington and Stonesfield (both less than 20 miles away) are in L&SC. There must be many other examples like this, if someone had the time and energy to look at bands ranking and location maybe some balancing of numbers could take place.

Same number of regions, different borders to ensure a more even number of bands in each.
;)

Redhorn
20.03.2006, 23:41
According to last weeks report on 4br the L & SC region only runs from Great Yarmouth to Stevenage- so gawd knows what section bands like yours and mine are in! ;-)

Seriously though, it shouldnt be too hard to re-draw the boundaries- or even to add a couple new regions!

stevetrom
20.03.2006, 23:59
Get a map of the UK, mark ALL registered contesting bands, put in to 8 (+/-) groups
geographically, rank by current section/recent results. Done!

All you have to do is gete evry band to agree BEFORE the process takes place.

mmmmm, now I see the problem.

bennem
21.03.2006, 10:42
what about looking at the regional catchment areas, we (Brackley) play in the Midlands, but Kidington and Stonesfield (both less than 20 miles away) are in L&SC. There must be many other examples like this, if someone had the time and energy to look at bands ranking and location maybe some balancing of numbers could take place.

But this will always happen when you have any sort of border. Where would you place Towcester if Brackley were in L&SC?

I think the biggest issue is the whole fact of having your national ranking based upon your performance on one day. There should be an average score from a list of say 6 contests to which a band has to attend a minimum of three. This would make it harder for those bands who bring in players just for the areas and a "bit" fairer on those bands who have a regular line up.

ronnie_the_lizard
21.03.2006, 10:57
You could always scrap the geographical part of it altogether - just have 10 regional contests with bands free to enter whichever contest they like as long as they only play at one. You could then choose to attend either your closest contest or choose whichever contest you felt you had the best chances of qualifying from. I reckon quite a few Yorkshire top section bands would like to have a shot at LSC or NE areas instead of facing the big boys each year.

Redhorn
21.03.2006, 11:13
You what?.....!!!!! And we could go up to Yorkshire and play there! Cos we'd really stand a good chance of winning!!!! Not!

stevetrom
21.03.2006, 11:27
But this will always happen when you have any sort of border. Where would you place Towcester if Brackley were in L&SC?


Scotland? ;)

Bass Man
21.03.2006, 11:31
I reckon quite a few Yorkshire top section bands would like to have a shot at LSC or NE areas instead of facing the big boys each year.

That wouldn't really make it fair for the areas these bands are travelling to though does it. You would end up with a situation where bands would pick out areas, with a lower standard of ability than areas such as Yorkshire, where they feel they would be almost guaranteed a prize. If this happened, would their be a fair number of bands representing each area at the finals?

starperformer
21.03.2006, 12:08
In response to the original question, I think it would be very unfair to remove a qualifying place from the 2nd best band in the north east second section just because other bands pull out - remember that bands do not tend to pull out if they are likely to do well. The general rule is 2 per area per section, and this is definitely not the most broken thing about the current contesting system.

The 3/4 qualifying rule is just to make it a bit fairer for bands in ludicrously big sections (like L&SC 4th). In my opinion a more sensible approach for these would be to split them (regionally or arbitrarily by draw) into 2, so you get two small sections, 2 qualify from each, meaning adjudicators don't have to sit there all day listening to 30-odd bands.

The fact that some regions are way stronger than others at certain levels is more of a problem, but probably a separate debate. Opening up regionals as suggested above is a bit too radical for my taste - but you could almost certainly get some sort of grant for it from Stevenage and Darlington tourist boards.

I often think in the lower sections that there is an argument for not even having a contest, just send adjudicators round to listen to a rehearsal from each band on a given set of pieces. That would give a much fairer reflection of the level you were at. Suppose you don't gain contest experience that way though.

Tuba Miriam
21.03.2006, 14:49
You could always scrap the geographical part of it altogether - just have 10 regional contests with bands free to enter whichever contest they like as long as they only play at one. You could then choose to attend either your closest contest or choose whichever contest you felt you had the best chances of qualifying from. I reckon quite a few Yorkshire top section bands would like to have a shot at LSC or NE areas instead of facing the big boys each year.


That wouldn't really make it fair for the areas these bands are travelling to though does it. You would end up with a situation where bands would pick out areas, with a lower standard of ability than areas such as Yorkshire, where they feel they would be almost guaranteed a prize. If this happened, would their be a fair number of bands representing each area at the finals?

Surely under this system to some extent you'd be duplicating the principles behind the Open, Grand Shield, Senior Cup and Senior Trophy? Maybe one answer is to expand the Spring Festival contests to include more lower section bands; however this is a solution to another problem ... of getting invited to the Spring Festival in the first place, not a solution to the problems raised by the perceived inequities of the Nationals debate.The Nationals, and its regional round of qualifying contests, is exactly that!

In any case, if the 4BR retrospectives are anything to go by, the Yorkshire region isn't the Mecca of strong bands throughout all sections that many assume it to be.;)

sugarandspice
21.03.2006, 18:25
According to last weeks report on 4br the L & SC region only runs from Great Yarmouth to Stevenage- so gawd knows what section bands like yours and mine are in! ;-)

Seriously though, it shouldnt be too hard to re-draw the boundaries- or even to add a couple new regions!

Now forgive me if i make a blantently stupid comment, my Geography isnt that great, but on sat i observed bands from Cornwall competing as well as bands from Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of white (we met their band in pizza hut on sat night!!) It could take 6 hours to get from Lands End to Isle of white. Does anyone elses region stretch that far?!

It seems a hell of a long way!

starperformer
21.03.2006, 18:30
nearly all regions are that big, exceptions are Yorkshire and the Northwest which both have millions of bands crammed into a tiny space.

L&SC (Jersey -> north Norfolk) and Scotland are almost certainly bigger

sugarandspice
21.03.2006, 18:33
Fair enough!

Band_Beefcake
21.03.2006, 18:36
Not sure if this is the same topic but I'd also think that the promotion/relegation points sytem is looked at.
How can it be fair for example (this is of course completely hypothetical, with no one or nothing in mind) If a band comes 14th out of a large section of say 22 they will get 14 points and will of beaten 8 bands. The following year if for some reason there is less in the section say there is only 12 in the section, then the last placed band will only get 12 points. Surely the points sytem should work on an average rather than a specific placing?
Just a idea, any thoughts?

starperformer
21.03.2006, 18:51
Everyone plays by the same rules each year. In the example you give, the 8 bands you beat would all be lower than you in the grading table, as would all the bands who turn up.

In fact, if the points system were reversed so you get 1 point for turning up, and 1 point for every band you beat (highest scores get promoted), the end result would be exactly the same.

The thing about this that could be seen as unfair is that it depends on the movement of other bands, in particular how consistent their results are and whether they happen to tie on points over the three years. Some years you might be promoted into a section and go up on one good result, sometimes that isn't possible. Likewise some years bands that go into top section are pretty much guaranteed two bites of the cherry, sometimes it is very hard for them to stay up.

IanHeard
28.03.2006, 09:57
Update!
A member of my bands commitee has been in touch with Philip Morris of Kapitol, and to his credit Philip has been very helpful on this matter.Philip has stated that if our region does not bring this subject up at the next Regional Forum, he will be willing to bring it up himself for discussion.
Let`s hope the Regions come to an agreement that ends in fairer representation for the larger regions at the National Finals in future.
Thankyou Philip and Kapitol for listening, its now up to the regions to do the right thing!

IanHeard
24.02.2007, 20:47
Let`s hope the Regions come to an agreement that ends in fairer representation for the larger regions at the National Finals in future.


I note with interest the considerable drop in entries at this years WoE area contest, from 82 last year to 74 this year!
We have dropped also from being the 2nd largest to the 3rd largest region in country.
Seems to me that a contributory factor to this drop might be the fact that West Country bands have an unfair disadvantage under the present system and some bands probably feel the long distances that they have to travel are not justified.

MaxPressure
25.02.2007, 01:07
One also has to consider the size of the sections at the subsequent Nationals. Ok for the RAH where there is only one section but what about Harrogate where the other four sections are held? 8 regions sending 2 bands each gives a sensible number of 16 bands minimum. Any bigger than that and you're getting into silly numbers, early starts and late finishes etc.

Hmmm.... this can happen even with the current method, a few years back the band i was with hit the stage at 5 minutes to midnight and finished at around 25minutes past............ was a long day involving lots of red bull and no beer :mad:

six pints
25.02.2007, 02:04
Just to point out- saying that there were only 5 bands in last years North 2nd section is *slightly* out of context, there were 8, just 3 didnt play. So the band that came second actually beat 3 bands who were there, and three that werent. Ifyou see my point.

Of course, seeing as I was in that band, I am slightly biased...

ian perks
25.02.2007, 06:53
when i first started playing at the areas all those years ago 3 bands from all sections played at the finals but in the championship section it was down to the adjudicator who recomeded the 3rd placed band to go if he thought they were good enough.
Must admit i would like to see 3 bands from each section qualifi again and to hold all the finals on one day in London a great atmosphere as a former winner in 1977 of 3rd section final.

imthemaddude
25.02.2007, 10:38
I think there is a big standard difference between areas and a band that might come 4th in a strong area and not qualify may be a better band than one from a weaker area that qualifies. I guess you have to wait until the finals to be sorted out then but it can only make bands rise more to the challenge.

IanHeard
25.02.2007, 18:56
The bottom line for me is that we must encourage particpation in our most important contest of the year. If the organisers were to hand out extra finals places to the bigger regions who would object?
I have played in area contests where there have been in excess of thirty bands in a section and still been home by eight in the evening, so it can be done.

backrowbloke
26.02.2007, 08:45
How about we solve the problem by scapping contesting all together and concentrate on putting on decent concerts?. This would also solve the Adjudication, Registration and Borrowed Player debates in one swoop?


[Tongue in cheek?????]

Pythagoras
26.02.2007, 10:24
Present rules are OK. If you lowered the number of bands it takes for 3 bands to qualify to 16, then if there were 15 bands the 3rd band would complain, if you lowered it to 15, then if there were 14 the 3rd band would complain, and you can't have discretionary places as it would soon become that this basically meant one more band the stated number qualified each year.

And cutting the numbers from struggling regions is not the answer. Boundarry changes is one possible solution, but, for example, the north of England is already a big area, making it bigger would mean even more travelling.

Bunnymonster
26.02.2007, 10:47
I have always been told that when my band started contesting we were offered the choice between two different regions as we were near the boundary.

We chose the larger area with greater competition as we wanted to play with the 'big boys'.

Surely the point of contesting is to compete - why whinge if you don't qualify in the larger area? At least you know that you've got to practise harder for next year!

IanHeard
27.02.2007, 18:04
Surely the point of contesting is to compete - why whinge if you don't qualify in the larger area? At least you know that you've got to practise harder for next year!


But bands in my area have to practice harder to beat more bands, yet only have the same reward as those regions where the contest, if last year is anything to go by, was only barely viable in some cases.
I`m suggesting an alternative not merely whinging!

Bunnymonster
27.02.2007, 21:21
My area is also a very large one. What I should have said more delicately was that if you start changing things, it will always have a negative impact on at least one band. I would also argue that just because one Area may be smaller, the bands in that Area do not work any less hard to get there, regardless of who qualifies. It is also worth pointing out that you do not have to qualify for the National Finals to get promoted... which is the greater reward?

dyl
27.02.2007, 22:12
I would also argue that just because one Area may be smaller, the bands in that Area do not work any less hard to get there, regardless of who qualifies.
Agree 100%. I'm sorry kirmat but I don't really get the "bands in my area have to practice harder to beat more bands" argument. Surely a band practices the same amount irrespective of whether there are 10, 15 or 20 bands in their section?

CaharleyFarley
27.02.2007, 23:15
How about we solve the problem by scapping contesting all together and concentrate on putting on decent concerts?. This would also solve the Adjudication, Registration and Borrowed Player debates in one swoop?


[Tongue in cheek?????]

Well to be honest, I feel that bands should all have healthy concert calendars. Performing being an end in itself for any musician.

The Areas should really be a bit of fun where bands "pit" themselves against one another.

Somehow, this has been turned upside down - quite a few bands these days have little to no concert events and exist purely for the contests.

Not the way I like it, but that is just my perspective on the BB world.

Each to their own - and of course the freedom to choose what you do with your musical talents.

imthemaddude
27.02.2007, 23:59
Contests all the way

geordiecolin
28.02.2007, 23:34
I don't see why the 3rd placed band out of a field 16 should have anymore right to attend the finals than the 3rd placed band out of a field of 5. At the end of the day, the national finals are meant to to be for the best bands that played at the area. A bigger field doesn't indicate that the 3rd placed band played any better than the 3rd placed band in a smaller field. What if the 5 bands in the smaller field were all obviously much much better than any bands in the same section elsewhere in the country? Would you then suggest that the 3rd placed band in a larger but poorer section should qualify instead. An exaggeration I know but it illustrates the point.

As for changing the boundaries, where would you draw the line, the North of England already takes in the East and North Yorkshire bands... If we want to increase numbers competing at the North of England area then cramming the sections full of better bands from S or W Yorkshire isn't the way to do it. Surely that would gloss over the problem and discourage bands from the North of England heartland (e.g Durham/T&W) who may be looking to get back into contesting or reforming from doing so as they would be intimidated by a large and high quality field?

Anno Draconis
01.03.2007, 08:32
The bottom line for me is that we must encourage particpation in our most important contest of the year.

Why?

I'm sorry, this seems a slightly faulty premise to start from. I've never understood why bands feel that they have to attend the Area championships, come what may. I'm going to Blackpool with Middleton because I think that we're in with a shout of winning (although it's a tough section, as always), and that we would give the finals a good go. If I thought we didn't stand a chance I wouldn't want to go, and nor would I want to try and get into an "easier" area.

I like some of the ideas in this thread, and I can see why the problem with last year's North Region would annoy bands in bigger sections, but I don't think we should start from the idea that we want to somehow make the qualification process easier to encourage bands to take part. If you're not good enough, you're not good enough. End of, in my opinion.

I mentioned earlier in the thread about playing for Northop when we only had to beat one other band in order to qualify for the 1st section finals. There were a lot of complaints from bands who had had to beat 14 or 15 other bands to qualify, but we then came third in London, in a field of about 20 bands, so no-one could argue that we weren't good enough to be there.

As far as I can see, (and Ronnie has already suggested something similar)the only way to make as fair an assessment as possible of who should go to the finals is this:

Hold 10 regional heats around the country, one every weekend starting in mid Feb. Bands can attend whichever one they want. A panel of 4 adjudicators judge each heat (the same judges at every heat) and at the end of the 10 heats they announce who has been picked for the finals. That way they can simply pick the best 16 bands from around the country, once they've heard all the entered bands.

Before the flames start licking at my feet, bear in mind that this is how players are picked for the National Youth Bands (a few regional audition days dotted around the country) and no-one complains about that.

IanHeard
01.03.2007, 18:11
Agree 100%. I'm sorry kirmat but I don't really get the "bands in my area have to practice harder to beat more bands" argument. Surely a band practices the same amount irrespective of whether there are 10, 15 or 20 bands in their section?

What if there were only 5 competing bands?

PeterBale
01.03.2007, 18:16
What if there were only 5 competing bands?

Unless three had already prequalified, I'm sure they would be just as keen to secure a qualification place, even with only 5 in the section.

geordiecolin
01.03.2007, 18:18
What if there were only 5 competing bands?

Same argument still applies in my opinion. A 2nd placing is not cheapened by the number of entries.

IanHeard
01.03.2007, 18:29
I don't see why the 3rd placed band out of a field 16 should have anymore right to attend the finals than the 3rd placed band out of a field of 5. At the end of the day, the national finals are meant to to be for the best bands that played at the area. A bigger field doesn't indicate that the 3rd placed band played any better than the 3rd placed band in a smaller field. What if the 5 bands in the smaller field were all obviously much much better than any bands in the same section elsewhere in the country? Would you then suggest that the 3rd placed band in a larger but poorer section should qualify instead. An exaggeration I know but it illustrates the point.



All things being equal it must be harder to quailfy past 14 bands rather than just three!...or am I missing something?
The WoE lower sections are recognised as being one of the stronger regions, I can`t comment on the North Of England but I would say they are no better than the west.
I am not suggesting less bands from the smaller regions should qualify, just more bands from the larger ones...why would you object to that?

six pints
01.03.2007, 20:37
All things being equal it must be harder to quailfy past 14 bands rather than just three!...or am I missing something?
The WoE lower sections are recognised as being one of the stronger regions, I can`t comment on the North Of England but I would say they are no better than the west.
I am not suggesting less bands from the smaller regions should qualify, just more bands from the larger ones...why would you object to that?


If there are too many bands at nationals, it can make it very difficult to adjudicate, have long running times, really full bars...

geordiecolin
01.03.2007, 21:55
I'm not saying the north is strong, probs far from it, but why should an area be penalised for having less bands?

Just because the west has more bands, it doesn't necessarily follow that more of them are deserving of a place at the nationals than the second place band in the north.

IanHeard
01.03.2007, 22:56
but why should an area be penalised for having less bands?

Just because the west has more bands, it doesn't necessarily follow that more of them are deserving of a place at the nationals than the second place band in the north.

Why does inviting more bands from a larger region penalise the smaller ones? You said yourself that section size is no guarantee of quality!


If there are too many bands at nationals, it can make it very difficult to adjudicate, have long running times, really full bars...

But you are quite happy to have WoE, L&SC and the Midlands bands battle through huge sections for the right to meet the northern bands at the finals, but you don`t like overly large sections yourself?

euph-man
02.03.2007, 00:32
You will never be able to have a completly fare system for example if 2 bands qualify from one area but the 3rd placed band missed out on qualifying but played to a higher standard than the winning band from another area how is that fare. What ever the rules you will not be able to please all of the people all of the time

six pints
02.03.2007, 11:33
But you are quite happy to have WoE, L&SC and the Midlands bands battle through huge sections for the right to meet the northern bands at the finals, but you don`t like overly large sections yourself?

Actually I never said that, I was just saying why *people in general* might not want more bands at nationals. I've yet to actually voice my opinion on this thread yet, as I think I'm a bit biased.

geordiecolin
03.03.2007, 09:04
Why does inviting more bands from a larger region penalise the smaller ones? You said yourself that section size is no guarantee of quality!

Surely, if there was to be a reasonable section size maintained at the Nationals, then it follows that if the rules were to change then smaller sections would be penalised, else there could end up being potentially 20+ bands at the nationals....

midwalesman
03.03.2007, 10:38
I have followed this thread with interest. The original area concept started back in the 1940's was to develop banding in areas of the country which did not have the strength that the "North" and "Celtic" Nations possesed. Ideally that would have meant more bands from the south and west (for example) qualifying for the Nationals, doing well (winning perhaps) and encouraging further local bands to improve to the standards of the other areas. I have no statistics in either lower or championship sections to hand, but in recollection the numberofbands that have been consistently successful at the Nationals have been from the "heartlands". Has the implimentation of the area system been succeesful in its purpose?

This may sound like an argument for and against the area system but it has a point in regard to this subject. The Championship section finals in October this year will have a fairer representation of bands from around Britain, biased as this may be construed. The Yorkshire area championship is the strongest area in the country and bands are constantly not making it to London because of the strength of the traditional "big" bands. If more bands from Yorkshire were invited it would actually mean a better, in terms of quality, competition, which is surely the true definition of a national contest to sort out the best bands in the country.

I apologise for sounding Yorkshire-centric but everyone and the statistics show which bands from which areas are the most successful in London. I think it should be a question of quality rather than the quantity of bands in an area.

HOWEVER...........

On the other side, bands from all areas should go to the Nationals, and yes there should be a limit to the amount of bands. The experience for example of playing in the RAH or a.n.other hall (which should be the RAH) is something not to be missed out on and to cut the bands from other areas would be detrimental to the movement. In addition, there are more important things than the amount of bands in the national contest, as the following exposes:-

a) Other countries have a test piece and own choice piece contest system for their Nationals.
b) As the supposedly best contest of the year the test pieces for the Nationals themselves should all be new music from new composers (open it up every year to composers to write music)
c) The transition from Youth to University to Local bands is shocking. Why then do we have a separate Nationals weekends for the most senior bands (in standard) and youth band? Surely if both of these were held on the same weekend then the youth and very young could hear the best bands??
d) It's about time to open the boxes up, we all know who is in the box, I'm sure the adjudicators know (or have a good idea according to scream teams) who is on stage. So what possible function do they have. Victorian museum culture at its finest.
e) Tradition is fine and dandy, but if the lower section nationals is good enough to franchise out to different venues around the country why not the Championship? 3 year cycles of Scotland, Wales and England. Albert Hall, the new concert hall in Cardiff, or even St Davids and the hall in Glasgow?? Does this not take the music to the people rather than ask people from Aberdeen or Dundee (for example) to travel down to London every year. In the years that the Championship is way the lower sections could be rotated at the venue? Would that not increase the motivation for players in the lower section?

The archaic attitudes of those involved in running banding in this country is quite staggering. Prize money in 1980 the same as that in the 2000s, whilst programmes, tickests, confection, beer, you name it, has more than trebled in that time.

"If it ain't broke don't fix" was mentioned earlier, but if there is a small inch long crack in a dam wall, twenty or thirty years later that is going to be a heck of a lot bigger!! The current system obviously is not working, hard as it may be to balance these things it should at least look as if the best quality bands from the areas with the highest quality should be in the best contest? That to me is the logical approach.

IanHeard
03.03.2007, 15:41
The archaic attitudes of those involved in running banding in this country is quite staggering. Prize money in 1980 the same as that in the 2000s, whilst programmes, tickests, confection, beer, you name it, has more than trebled in that time.

"If it ain't broke don't fix" was mentioned earlier, but if there is a small inch long crack in a dam wall, twenty or thirty years later that is going to be a heck of a lot bigger!! The current system obviously is not working, hard as it may be to balance these things it should at least look as if the best quality bands from the areas with the highest quality should be in the best contest? That to me is the logical approach.

Totally agree with most of what you say,the top section has solved this problem as regards fairer representation by giving the previous years top bands a bye into the next years RAH final.
We could adapt this of course by totalling up the aggregate placings of the bands in the lower section finals and rewarding the stronger areas the following year with extra places at the finals.
I think there is a feeling up north that we in the west/south may have loads of bands but none of them are much cop and consequently a thread like this is seen as whingeing rather than a plea for fairness.
4Barsrest last year deemed the West as the third strongest region at the finals with only Yorkshire and the Midlands above them!
Regardless of what other people say on this thread the Nationals is our most prestigious competition and is the glue which binds us together and more than anything it is a barometer on the state of banding....we need to get it right!

"The level of performance here was excellent, reinforcing the point that lower section and youth banding in this area is extremely strong. What really stood out though was the attendance; people who'd played wanted to go in and listen"
A quote from 4barsrest`s review of last years Torquay area contest.

six pints
03.03.2007, 17:25
Personally, I don't think you guys are whinging, but I think u need to understand that especially by mentioning specific examples (like the north second section) you are implying that the band who came 2nd didnt deserve to be at nationls, and seeng as I'm part of that band, I feel its not fair (and not true!) to say that. Maybe thats not the way it was meant, but it did sound that way, at least it did to me.

However, there obviously is some kind of problem. Redefining the regional boundaries my solve ths, but would mean lots of travelling for some bands. How about offering a nationals place for winners of pontins and/or butlins? thats a competition where people from many different regions are present, and it would encourage particpation at these events, which is a good thing. r do what they do in the national lifesaving championships- if someone wasto finish in the top three in their age group, the next year an extra place in that age group is available for that age group. so, say in 2nd section, a yorkshire and 2 midland bands finished 1,2 and 3. The next year the top 3 would go from yorkshire, and the top four from midlands (sorry if this doesnt make sense, its easier to explain in person). Thi means that stronger regions would get an extra band. This is similar to the championship section, but takes into account promotion etc.

Thoughts?

Aardvark
03.03.2007, 19:04
How about offering a nationals place for winners of pontins and/or butlins? thats a competition where people from many different regions are present, and it would encourage particpation at these events, which is a good thing.

Not sure this would work as both Butlins and Pontins have limited entry numbers with preference (I think) given to those who have entered previously, so not all bands would be able to go even if they wanted to. Also, the distance from both venues would exclude some bands from attending due to the travelling costs (particularly lower section I would guess) - I was at Butlins this year and don't recall any Scottish bands and few if any SW bands.


r do what they do in the national lifesaving championships- if someone wasto finish in the top three in their age group, the next year an extra place in that age group is available for that age group. so, say in 2nd section, a yorkshire and 2 midland bands finished 1,2 and 3. The next year the top 3 would go from yorkshire, and the top four from midlands (sorry if this doesnt make sense, its easier to explain in person). Thi means that stronger regions would get an extra band. This is similar to the championship section, but takes into account promotion etc.

Was pondering this one, it could help, although the problem is that just because there are one or two good bands in an area (who come in the top 3 in the finals), it doesn't mean that the rest of the section is strong eg in the example above the two midlands bands may have been way ahead of all the others and the next year you would end up with two extra (and perhaps lower quality) bands from that section. And if two of the top 3 were from one of the areas with the smallest entries then the whole section could qualify the next year !

The only solution I can come up with is that the same adjudicators do all the areas, with the top band from each area going through and then the extra spaces being filled by the adjudicators, judged on who was best across all areas. You then get the best bands going and representation from all areas. Not that easily workable I know - but a thought.

IanHeard
03.03.2007, 21:25
Personally, I don't think you guys are whinging, but I think u need to understand that especially by mentioning specific examples (like the north second section) you are implying that the band who came 2nd didnt deserve to be at nationls, and seeng as I'm part of that band, I feel its not fair (and not true!) to say that. Maybe thats not the way it was meant, but it did sound that way, at least it did to me.


Thoughts?

On the contary I have never said your band did`nt deserve to go to the finals, only that perhaps more bands deserve to go with you!:)
I mentioned the North second section because it best made my point.
This thread shows the built in problem with banding in this country, as soon as you suggest change we have some area`s protesting that it`s unfair or it "ain`t broke so don`t fix it!".....the result of this is always stupifying inaction and perhaps a drop in entries at the WoE area from 82 to 74!

andyp
03.03.2007, 21:46
It can't be a level playing field. To be so every Area would have to be in the same hall with the same judges. As this would be a logistical nightmare, we have the next best thing.

My beef is mainly with local/national gradings. I understand the reasoning behind each. But how can a band be 4th section National and 2nd local at the same time? If that is possible, the system is wrong. One section different maybe, but 2?

Bunnymonster
05.03.2007, 09:13
Whilst I think all these points are valid it also important to remember that if your section is smaller, then the chance of relegation from your section is much greater. If you're obsessed by attending the Nationals it might be worth thinking that if you get relegated you're much more likely to attend the Nationals from the section below!

Is this not just another case of the old 'swings and roundabouts'?

IanHeard
05.03.2007, 18:50
Whilst I think all these points are valid it also important to remember that if your section is smaller, then the chance of relegation from your section is much greater. If you're obsessed by attending the Nationals it might be worth thinking that if you get relegated you're much more likely to attend the Nationals from the section below!

Is this not just another case of the old 'swings and roundabouts'?

"Obsessed with attending the Nationals?"

Leyfy
14.03.2007, 18:13
It can't be a level playing field. To be so every Area would have to be in the same hall with the same judges.

As someone who has contested in St Georges Hall in Bradford for the Yorkshire area competition, then returned down south to play in what can only be described as a sports hall for the L&SC areas, I agree....