Roger Thorne

Active Member
iancwilx said:
Just got to say that uniform jackets should NEVER be worn anywhere but on the performance stage.
NOT on the bus, NOT walking to and from the Contest Hall, NOT in the bar or cafe ONLY on the stage.
It's amateur behaviour like that which sets us up as Oompah Clowns in the eyes of the public and proliferates the "Beer and Baccy" image (Whether true or not !)
Here, Here Ian - couldn't agree more!




Active Member
iancwilx said:
"Garden Fete with pints by the chair"

Oh come on!. There's nothing wrong with that at all. On the whole, especially at this type of gig, the public perceive (and expect) brass bands to be a collection of amatuer, working class people with a talent to knock out the odd tune. They are not expecting tuxedoed, bowtied, unapproachable, orchestral professionals.
Mind you, I reckon formal braided uniforms are a must. Coloured blazers make you look like bus drivers. Sweatshirts/ Polo shirts fade after a couple of washes and make you look like overgrown school kids.


Well-Known Member
iancwilx said:
Elitist !!!! - What's elitist about self respect ?
I've seen better dressed buskers than some of our (Yes) embarrassing amateur minded compatriots.
There are some folk (Normally young, left wing and possibly student ) who consider that any direction as to appearance or conformity is an infringement of personal liberty.
Well lurk in your laxity, but some of us value our status (or otherwise!) in the musical community - I've grown up !!

Well Ian, you're gradually revealing your agenda, aren't you? :D From a suggestion that the fashions of band jackets aren't all they might be (true...) to a request for no uniform jackets off the stage (sensible...) to this. "Self respect" is a positive phrase; "insecurity" is a negative one - the real truth behind caring more than normal about your appearance lies somewhere between the two. If we have any psychologists here, would they care to comment on the postulate that "self respect" is an aspect of "insecurity"? :shock:

Exactly who are you wishing to impress? You talk about the general public, but I suspect from the tone of your posts that you are more concerned about professional musicians looking down on us. As a general point, the public could be more easily courted by contests if bandspeople didn't drink all day at them anyway - a "professional-looking" drunkard is not going to impress anyone. Professional musicians spend as much time at the bar as banders, though sensibly not in their full uniforms (sometimes looking quite scruffy, shock horror :!: ), and this is their professionalism.

I hope you are not turning this into "Why aren't the values of the youth of today the same as for my youth"! :)


p.s. I wasn't going to post anything today, as I'll be unpredictably away from the internet for the next week or two, but this needed a reply!


Staff member
I personally don't see any problem in bandsmen/women wearing their uniforms when at a contest or concert venue, if they don't have an alternative outift, providing people realise that wearing the uniform identifies them with the band, and should entail a certain sense of pride. As a member of the audience especially, it is good to be able to identify which bands people belong to, particularly if you would like to compliment them on their performance and you don't know any of them personally.

The question of how you should arrive at a venue is one that has been raised numerous times, and obviously affects us in the Salvation Army as well, particularly if we are away for a whole weekend. I have been in bands where the expectation has been that you arrive in uniform, even if that means everyone changing on the coach as you get near; I have also been in a situation where we were expected to remain in uniform - including tunics - throughout the whole journey, which definitely seems a bit OTT.

What we have usually done in Hadleigh is travel in band jumpers (plus uniform trousers/skirts of course!), and now, having adopted the summer uniform style, in shirt sleeves if required. There has been discussion about buying some form of travelling uniform, but it seems an unnecessary expense when we have recently had a new set of uniforms anyway. For the concert itself we will normally wear red festival tunics, usually just putting them on before we play- I've just realised that may contradict what I said earlier about contest uniforms, but at least we are identifiable in our blues.

As to the design of uniforms, I see nothing wrong with a move towards a more contemporary design, providing it is smart, and allows the band to be identified. One of the problems, however, in going for too "fashionable" a design is that fashions change very quickly, and the "new" can very soon appear dated.

Above all, I believe we should all wear our uniforms with pride wherever we are and whoever we are.


Active Member
One of the things I think looks worst on stage is a mixed approach to ties. Either all players should wear them or no-one should.

On the jackets issue, I know that some bands may not be as well off as others, but when I was playing with a jazz band some years ago we had a fantastic range of uniforms.

Black & Whites with a black waistcoat, red cummerbund and bow tie for "formal" gigs, band sweatshirts for the less formal, khaki for some of the glen miller/big band type stuff and a whole array of tour t-shirts. The only constant was that everyone went on stage with exactly the same uniform.


I don't have a problem with uniforms on or off the stage, with or without beer, whatever, dressed up as pixies ( New Year's Eve '88/'89, right blad ). The only part of the uniform I take issue with and that I personally find very restricting are underpants, err no I meant TIES, bow or straight. When I play my neck expands appreciably and there's nothing more uncomfortable that a bloody tie!


Going slightly off-topic (what's new?) I'm looking for a cleaning tip. Playing for a band with a great sense of history, I wear my stage uniform with pride and make sure my appearance is professional....clean, ironed white shirt (half a size too large in the neck to allow a bit of breathing), bow tie straight, black socks, polished shoes and a crease in my dress trousers. The problem I have is that my stage jacket has a sense of history all of it's own....it may, in the past have graced the torso's of some of banding's most revered performer's (such is it's age) but it has also retained the aroma of most of them. I have had it dry cleaned, hung out on the washing line for days at a time and infused each side with gallons of febreze....but it still stinks. We all sweat on stage, unavoidable, and, if I smell of sweat afterwards, fine....but I'd prefer it to be my own I smell of! Anybody got any tips on how to get rid of 20 odd years of history in the armpits?



How about finding someone in the band with the same sized jacket as you, but of a less historical age, and cunningly swapping yours with their nice non (or less) smelly one whilst they are changing! try and invlove a friend :shock: :D :twisted: in your plot to create a diversion whilst you swipe said jacket. Armpit problem solved! (or you could come and play percussion as we are not worthy of even having a smelly stage jacket!)


Well-Known Member
OK Roger - you may think you have me "Hoist by my own petard" with that photograph, but I can assure you it was taken during some younger members doing a sketch on a social night at a Hotel we were staying at on a contest weekend - no members of the public were present.
Anyway I think even then that it was wrong to use the uniforms.
Perhaps I'm just a moaning old "Giffer"
As for us being viewed by the public as working class amateurs capable of banging out a tune, as some one has posted, - are we happy with this image ?
I was a Professional Showband Leader for 33 years (No "Proper job" in that time) - and I was always taught that presentation was half the show - does that make me a basket case with deep psychological insecurities as some are suggesting - No way.
Over to the jury .........!!


Well-Known Member
I suppose the sentence is to walk around town on a Saturday afternoon dressed as a "Typical Bandsman" wearing a stained red jacket covered in gold braid, dangling dickie, brown trainers and concertina trousers, playing "March of the Cobblers" on a battered brass instrument, stopping at every bar in sight for a gallon of cheap beer before collapsing in the gutter. - got to keep up the image you know!!!
(I do go on don't I ??)


i have played for various bands over the years but now play with a very good 4th section (3rd from Jan) who have 2nd hand jackets which are very old!! We had (until very recently) two different coloured ties because we could not afford one whole set (only one colour now thanks to local council donating us enough of their own ties!!!!!!!). When we were at contests we wore our jackets most of the time to identify our selves and also because we were very proud to be a member of the band. We always present our selves smartly (even if we do look like bus drivers - no braiding - but we don't care!!)
We are amatuers who love to play :D and I personally have become very annoyed by the elitest comments of some other posts!!! :evil: :evil:
I could play for a higher section band but I love the band I play for and will continue. We luckily got a little sponsorship from the local mcdonalds to buy polo sirts for the nationals at torquay and evern though we were asked in torquay where mcD's was (we did looked like we worked for them!!) we were very proud - 1st finals since 1966!!
So to those who can afford a few £1000's we cannot we struggle and are lucky if our balance is £1000. We try to be smart and doing that ivolves wearing our jackets on/off stage and yes in the bar but we want to do is make music and have fun :!: :!: :!: :!:
Rant over.....................


Well-Known Member
By the way - Please, please, please don't take everything I post as deadly serious - most of it is meant to raise a smile or provoke a reaction - I'm quite nice really !! (Don't ask my wife!)


I think that a good smart walking out uniform is fine for most things but it's nice and impressive to Mr Public when we have the dress uniforms with all the gold braid etc. It makes us look more professional


Active Member

edited posting gone wrong!!!

please scroll down to next post!!

nothing to see here!!

(apart from at least 12 exclamation marks!!)


Active Member
iancwilx said:
There are some folk (Normally young, left wing and possibly student ) who consider that any direction as to appearance or conformity is an infringement of personal liberty.
Well lurk in your laxity, but some of us value our status (or otherwise!) in the musical community - I've grown up !!

Well, then, being young, quite possibly student and thinking that politics and band uniform bear absolutley no relation to each other, i think i need to defend myself!!!
As you probably guessed from my previous post on this topic, i have given what i feel are reasonable and practical reasons for, in some respects iancwilx's argument...
I am not however condoning his method of getting his point of view across...

I would like to think that myself, along with timbloke (still young, at the time a student, i'm not sure or that matter worried about his political leanings) was instrumental in trying to get Dronfield to wear simple, black jackets (any cut) with the band tie whilst not performing at last year's area. It worked well and caused little hassle. Who doesn't own a black suit jacket????? It certainly saved uniform wear and for iancwilx's sake would have done us proud in the unlikely event that we were dropped inextricably into the midst of 1000's of professional musicians
:lol: :lol:

For the record... the only person who had to be repeatedly told to take off his uniform and don his black jacket - albeit leather, was the one of the band's most definitley "senior" members.

Also for the record, whatever the job may be, whatever the band (unless otherwise informed) i always wear a black suit jacket so as to look as smart as possible whether i'm playing or not......

geordiecolin .......... young? guilty as charged, student? guilty as charged, trying to look smart? guilty as charged!! left wing? charges dropped due to irrellevance!!

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