It seems hard to believe that it is now five years since the Midlands Regional Championship was relocated from the woefully inadequate facilities on offer at Burton on Trent Town Hall, but there is no longer any doubt that Bedworth has come to feel like the contest’s natural home.
It’s fair to say that the excellent Civic Hall might not bear the architectural stamp of Sir Norman Foster or Edwin Lutyens, but when it comes to acoustics it’s as natural and revealing as any around the country; and that’s what matters to the bands in the top three sections that converged here.
Run with meticulous precision by Lesley Bentley and her team (with wonderful hospitality at both venues), the speed of change between bands was nothing short of remarkable (and definitely not for those who would normally bank on dashing out for a pee), whilst down the road at the Nicholas Chamberlain Community College where the Third and Fourth Sections took place, there were scores of even happier bandsmen and women to be seen.
That may or may not change though depending on the ‘ironing out’ process that could well see five sections of roughly equal numbers.
81 bands (up six this year) could see 16 contenders in a future top section, although it would be more realistic that given the existing imbalances, that there will be 18 in each of the First, Second, Third and Fourth, with the remainder competing at the top level.
It may appear a blunt answer to a complex problem, but it seems to be the only one that would work, and work quickly, if the area can continue to manage competitiveness as well as expectations.
It’s easy to jibe, even in jest that the quality of the bands in the Midlands doesn’t compare with Yorkshire or the North West but that’s exactly what the Final is there to sort out.
All that matters at the ‘Regional’ is that there is an exciting, closely fought contest for both players and audience to enjoy; and that’s what we get in the Midlands year after year. 2012 proved to be no exception.
If you require any further confirmation just have a word with Messrs Read and Broadbent who took the best part of 20 minutes to sort out who made it to the Albert Hall with Desford Colliery.
The centre of the cultural universe Bedworth most certainly isn’t, but judging by the legions of happy bands around the two venues at the weekend, there won’t be too many people worrying about that.