The Regional Kapitol Forum has issue a strongly worded statement rebuffing what they see as the ‘uninformed speculation and criticism’ of recent weeks surrounding the changes to the registration rules governing English bands wishing to compete at the National Championships.
Made to protect
Following the most recent statement issued by Brass Bands England, it also sets out their reasons for the decision they state, ‘was made to protect these events for the bands that enter them’.
The Forum is made up of representatives from each of the six English regions plus Wales. Scotland has an independent administrative relationship with the Kapitol in relation to National contest and therefore does not take part in the body.
Unpleasant and uninformed
The statement opens: "There has been much unpleasant and often uninformed speculation and criticism in recent weeks of decisions made by the representatives who sit on the Regional Forum.
The Regional Forum believes that it’s time to lay out the facts that led to its recent decision to change the National Rules of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain to recognise the new Brass Band Players Registry as the only registry for English bands competing in the National series."
It then goes on to lay out its reasons.
"This decision was not taken lightly and was made to protect these events for the bands that enter them for the following reasons."
• The Forum understands that major problems had existed for some time between the Brass Bands England (BBE — formerly British Federation of Brass Bands) Executive and the British Brass Band Registry (BBBR), a situation that BBE allowed to deteriorate, leading to the closure of the BBBR.
• In the run-up to the National Finals, BBE did not advise contest organisers of the ‘National’ about the problems at the BBBR, causing major problems of registration at the National Finals in Cheltenham and London.
Despite statements to the contrary by BBE’s Chairman Robert Morgan, some players did not have BBBR cards to present at National Finals and, in a number of cases, the presiding contest registrar had to accept driving licenses and/or passports as proof of identity.
• At the recent Barnsley meeting convened by BBE, Robert Morgan alleged that the BBBR, "..was entered by a person or persons unknown who removed bands’ data and registration cards from the office, therefore bringing the registry service to a temporary halt."
Robert Morgan also said at the Barnsley meeting: "The use of the registry was further impinged by passwords being changed on the computer system in the BBBR office and the refusal to make these available to the employer."
This is a potentially serious matter that the Regional Forum understands has now been reported to the Police by individual band persons during the last two weeks
This decision was not taken lightly and was made to protect these events for the bands that enter themRegional Kapitol Forum
Actions and proposals
The statement continues with its own actions and proposals
• The new Brass Band Players registry (BBP) has advised bands that it has no plans to raise the cost of registration/transfer fees for bands in the near future and that it will honour the expiry dates of registration cards issued before 1 October 2012, so there will be no extra cost to bands when they join BBP.
• The British Open Championships, Butlin’s Mineworkers Open National Brass Band Festival, the All-England Masters International Championship and Lancashire Contests have said they will also accept the new Brass Band Players registration cards.
• In 2011, the Kapitol Forum acting on behalf of the regional bands, turned down a request from the now defunct UKBBA, for the regions to collect an extra £100 on top of the entry fee from each band entering the Regional contests.
£10 of this money was to go the proposed UKBBA and the remaining £90 to go to the British Federation of Brass Bands as a membership fee.
The Forum categorically turned this down, hence saving all of the bands a very real extra expense.
• An advisory body of representatives of democratically elected English bands, the Regional Co-ordinator, the ‘National’ and major competition promoters will be established by BBP to progress and modernise English registration.
This body will be accessible to all band persons and is something BBE/ BFBB has not offered.
Based on the above facts, a majority of the Regional Forum agreed to support BBP.
They add: "Kapitol Promotions, which organises the National Finals, currently donates £1,500 a year to each of the seven of the competing regions, without which a number of the regions in England and Wales would not survive.
The Forum believes that bands are being exhorted to boycott the forthcoming Regional contests — advice that it believes is plainly non-constructive and divisive.
The Regional committees pride themselves on running the biggest and best-attended series of brass band contests in the world, so the Regional Forum would like to appeal to bands to continue supporting their Regional contests, which form the foundations of British banding."
Urge to register
The statement concludes: "Boycotting the Regional contests can hurt no one but bands themselves. It is certain that if some regions were not to have a contest this year they would be financially incapable of running one in 2014, as many costs have to be paid up-front prior to the event.
The Regional Forum would therefore strongly urge bands to register with BBP as soon as possible before the forthcoming Regional Championships, to ensure that the 2013 Regional Championship series and the heritage that it represents continues to flourish."
4BR was informed that the Brass Band Players registry office hours are 9.30am 3.00pm weekdays. Telephone: 01269 841127. PO Box 73, Ammanford. SA18 9AP.
The Regional members of the Kapitol Forum.