Shifting power base???


New Member
I notice that after last weekend's Open results the make-up of the competing bands looks like it will change quite a bit (especially if both Leyland and Besses do take the drop). With Grimey coming back in this would give us an area make-up prior to next year's Grand Shield of

Yorkshire - 6 bands
Wales - 3 bands
Scotland - 3 bands
North West - 2 bands
North East - 1 band
Midlands, South West, London - 0 bands

I know this doesn't reflect each area's strength in depth with complete accuracy but what do people think about the current state of play? Obviously Yorkshire remain the strongest area while Wales have made great strides in recent years, but the main losers in recent years seem to have been the North West with the demise of Marple (& Todmorden?) and the possible demotion of Besses & Leyland.

As for my own area I feel that Scotland is just about as strong as it ever has been. People may still think we don't have any individual band as strong as CWS were a few years ago (although Whitburn did their best to disprove that theory!) but our 3 leading bands are all competing at a pretty consistent level now after each of them had perhaps what we could call an uncertain period! All 3 have new conductors at the helm and appear to be very settled at the moment. Behind them Kinneil are continuing to progress under Allan Ramsay and several other bands are making good progress. We are also backed by possibly the most forward thinking association who seem to have completely revamped our set-up in the space of 6-9 months!

What do other people think about their own areas at present?


Active Member
Interesting one this. Todmorden were in the Yorkshire area at the time they were in the Open by the way, they were due to change to the North West just prior to their demise. Obviously Yorkshire are always going to be the strongest area in the open. The four "big name" bands in YBS, Dyke, Grimey and B&R are unlikely to get two bad results in a row to drop out and will always be accompanied by one or two other good yorkshire outfits. The lay out of the Open can chage pretty quickly though. For example, next year Cwmaman, Carlton Main and maybe even Grimey will probably have to pull top 6 results out of the bag to stay in. The way the qualification from the Grand Shield works though means bands can be demoted and come straight back up without missing an Open (like last year). Hoping this'll be the case again this year, but the grand shield has always been a hard contest with a strong field, and this year more so than ever!


Active Member
Alan has a point. There has been a drop in the number of successful bands from the NW, and I hope that Leyland and Besses are back up there soon, if they must be demoted.

Alan doesn't mention Wingates, one of our most successful bands of the past, who competed in the Senior Cup this year.

Its obviously important for the movement that bands are strong in all areas, particularly in the traditionally strong areas such as the North West.

Some good points Alan. You only need to go back 2 or 3 years and there were loads of bands from the Midlands and the North West. Does this have any significance? Should there be some backside kicking within the respective associations? When you see the strides forward being taken in Scotland you have to be a bit envious. There's too many bands living on their past 'glorious histories', too much politics and back-biting, and too many dinosaurs with a big say in what's being done. There's times when you have to wonder where music (and pleasure) comes into it!

I have a dream .........

Mike Fox
Pennine Brass


Staff member
Some good points Alan. You only need to go back 2 or 3 years and there were loads of bands from the Midlands and the North West. Does this have any significance?

Of course, the other interesting thing would be to see where the players from those formerly successful bands now are, and that may tell a different story, eg former Desford players now involved with other bands etc.


I certainly agree with your comments about the Association in Scotland. There have been great improvements in a very short space of time. We now have a number of interesting new contests and events (although I can't help noticing that others have withered on the vine - Strathclyde Charities, Forth Valley).

As for the strength of individual bands, I'm not sure. I certainly think that the top Scottish bands are very evenly matched at the moment which should raise standards in the long run.
Was there not a mixup with Strathclyde Charities this year? I think two contests were booked for the same weekend or something like that, with fewer bands entering because of going to the other. Also I think it was brought forward a month, and unless they got 10 bands to compete it was not financially viable as there was no funding or sponsorship available. Or am I thinking of some other contes? :?


allanw said:
We are also backed by possibly the most forward thinking association who seem to have completely revamped our set-up in the space of 6-9 months!

As someone who is not familiar with the changes in the Scottish association, I'm curious what changes have been introduced and what brought about their introduction. The various replies here indicate that most of the moves seem to meet with approval.

My curiosity is driven by a general frustration with the organization here in the US, which after some positive moves about three years ago seems to have regressed since. That is my own personal opinion, of course...



New Member
Not sure what happened at the West of Scotland (previously Strathclyde) contest with regards the dates but my understanding is that this is controlled by the West of Scotland Association not SBBA. I am also aware that my take on events really only relates to the Championship section bands - we've probably still to see the full effect on banding down the sections. However it looks to me that many of the other good ideas to come out recently such as the Scottish Challenge contest, Newtongrange's Brass in the Park which incidentally is not open to Championship section bands, bringing the 2004 Europeans to Glasgow and, most importantly, for the first time ever bringing a top class UK-wide field to compete in the Scottish Open in November have been initiated by individuals who have subsequently become the main officials of SBBA. I'm sure there are other events (eg Borders Entertainment Contest) that are also providing good opportunities for lower section bands to progress.

These people together with certain others from the previous hierarchy seem to be able to make things happen and in such a way that they are taking the bandspeople along with them. There also seems to be a good sense of organisation about how things are being put in place - I'm not really surprised that the West of Scotland and Forth Valley contests are sufferering cos to me they don't seem to be part of the bigger picture. The Whitburn, Land o Burns and Carnegie contests seem to be coping ok but then maybe it comes down to what prize money is on offer?

Btw PeterBale makes a very good point about where have all the players from the 'old guard' bands gone - do they still play or have they spread out amongst other bands bringing the overall standards a lot closer?

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