Cheltenham Postcard – Cold War Tensions Amidst Success – 4barsrest


The success of the National Championship weekend at Cheltenham also underscored the need to get the main builders in the banding empire to at least start talking to each other.

National Championship event garnered attention, coverage and a lot of opinions

A Cold War tension at the heart of Britain’s banding may well have started – with the two main protagonists who hold the nation’s contestation as well as community movements in their hands seeming reluctant to prevent it from taking root even more seriously.

Kapitol Promotions Ltd hosted a successful national championship event in Cheltenham this weekend. Brass Bands England was absent.

This weekend, Brass Bands England is holding their annual conference in Sale (albeit online). There is also likely to be a firm endorsement of success.

It is highly unlikely that a representative of Kapitol will be present.

Battle lines drawn

The lines of battle have been drawn and the trenches dug. The prospect of a long and corrosive standoff looms just as the rapprochement between its two most important empire-building organizations is desperately needed.

The prospect of a long and corrosive standoff looms just as the rapprochement between its two most important empire-building organizations is desperately needed.

And at the heart of it all are troops from groups across the UK – happily sent on their way to fight each other on the basis of outdated conscription rules in sections in which they are invariably unfit to do. their duty.

All of this, as the Chiefs of Staff who should look after their welfare have apparently decided to stay at their Barnsley HQ far behind the lines and wait to hear what news the casualty list will bring.

Pointless blame

The sharing of blame is unnecessary now. This was evident in Cheltenham, where anecdotal conversations with conductors, players and supporters, traders and banding organizations came to the same conclusion.

Brass Bands England should have been there. Kapitol should be on sale (or at least accept an invitation to participate online).


There were a lot of people in Cheltenham – but not BBE

Critical Seeds

How it got there is well documented – the seeds of criticism that turned into full-fledged mistrust were planted long before the war of words unfolded in the last Covid-19 weekends of this year. which was to be the 2020 regional championship series.

What the propaganda narrative lines will therefore proclaim over the next week will be interesting to read.

Since then, the two sides have kept their distance; the diplomatic language of press releases notably failing to recognize each other’s success in negotiating their way through these troubled times – from BBE’s initiatives to maintaining a fanfare presence at Albert Hall.

What the propaganda narrative lines will therefore proclaim over the next week will be interesting to read.

Bragging substance

Both organizations have much to brag about – but what good will it be if they’re not ready to talk to each other to share their successes rather than just focusing on each other’s perceived failures?

For example, we are still awaiting the results of the BBE ringing survey – the last part of which was launched in June 2020. What exactly will this tell us?

It just might make things a degree or two colder.


BBE Brass Band conference takes place this weekend

Pax Romanus

That said, there is still common ground that could still give rise to a “Pax Romanus” future.

However, unless someone can bring Kapitol and BBE together to start discussing things constructively, it makes Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in Our Time” look like a clever plan Baldrick imagined in Blackadder.

Well organised

There’s a lot to be said after 4BR traveled to Sale for the Brass Band England conference, but at the moment it couldn’t be denied that people were thrilled that the competition was back in Cheltenham – and during a well organized event.

The common focus on health and safety and personal risk assessment assessment has been changed slightly.

The common focus on health and safety and personal risk assessment assessment has been changed slightly.

The Kapitol team of volunteers led by Tony Griffiths worked hard to ensure that requirements and protocols were followed – regular announcements of the stage and disinfection of chairs and equipment between groups, with clear signage and visible hand disinfection stations.


There was a nice exit from traders – upcycling and investing in the banding movement

Appreciated approach

The approach was appreciated by those who made the decision to participate and attend. The people were patient and well behaved, the common atmosphere (despite the usual gripes about the prices of refreshments and the lack of subsidized player tickets) was an atmosphere of support and encouragement.

Cheltenham might not be the most atmospheric banding location, but its size and layout make it ideal for the occasion.

The stature of the event has not diminished despite the reduction in the number of competitors.

Polish investment

The investment made has given things a much more polished overall presentation.

Dave Hayward was excellent as usual as a shill – leading a touching tribute at the end of each section in memory of those who lost movement during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Ali Woodman using his technical magic with a great effect on the multimedia screen.

The stature of the event has not diminished despite the reduction in the number of competitors.

It was a success, but we must continue to build on it.

Kapitol says he will listen to both concerns and opinions, suggestions and ideas from any source.


Multimedia man: Ali Woodman had all the graphics at his fingertips

This has already meant that the announcement of the 2022 Zone test pieces has received general approval, and it could also mean well-informed arguments about the need for a reclassification, fewer tapes in the finals (and the day was compact and energized therefore this year) and the conditions of registration will at least be taken into account.

BBE notice?

Could these debating opinions then come from Brass Bands England? And if they do, will they at least be discussed?

In return, will BBE take into account any suggestions that Kapitol would like to make on how their event can be supported in return without any interference in the way it is subsequently organized?

If a cordial entante can be achieved, then there is real hope that a thaw can set in, and cooperation rather than conflict can herald a brighter future for all concerned.

Over the past 18 months, Kapitol and BBE have worked hard to prepare for the post-Covid-19 future, although their long-term strategies for development, prosperity and success currently appear to be diametrically opposed.

If a cordial entante can be achieved, then there is real hope that a thaw can set in, and cooperation rather than conflict can herald a brighter future for all concerned.

Groups don’t want to be stuck in the trenches for a year or more when no one is ready to at least talk to each other.

Iwan Renard


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