Live streamed brass bands…Huh? What?
If you’re here then you’re obviously a bit confused. No need to feel embarrassed… it’s ok! Let me take a moment to tell you exactly what is going on.
Brass Bands are amateur, community based groups. There are probably somewhere around 75 brass bands in New Zealand (I made that up, but it could be right…). There are even more in Australia – and I’ve been told there are over 3,500 bands in the UK! Each year there are a number of brass band competitions held all around the world – National, State, Regional and other high level contests. Any band that is properly registered with their local body are allowed to enter the competition. In Australia – and NZ – this means bands compete in either A, B, C, or D grade. The A grade bands play at the higher standard – while the D grade bands have the most fun (that’s what they say, anyway…). Brass bands have a very, very strong competitive culture – which is great for maintaining a high standard of playing, but it can also mean that bands become more interested in doing-whatever-it-takes-to-win, rather than playing lovely music and entertaining audiences.
There can be all sorts of politics around brass band the competitions – since many bands are extremely competitive (and everyone knows everyone else), there are very strict rules around secrecy of the playing order of the bands on the day. The adjudicator (or adjudicators) are usually not allowed to know which band is playing on stage – they have to sit in a screened section of the hall, where they can’t see the stage.
All of the secrecy and complicated rules can make it a bit difficult for the general public to understand what’s going on – there is never advertising about which bands are on at which times playing which pieces (because then a cheeky and corrupt adjudicator might find out who is who, and play favourites!). I think this is a big shame, because some of the finest performances you will ever hear happen inside the semi-secretive and closed off world of brass band competitions – but usually there is only a tiny audience and maybe some interested listeners who are playing with other bands.
Well don’t worry – Brassbanned will provide a free live video stream of all the bands playing in all the grades. We try to give the competition some broader appeal and relevance to the general public, while not offending too many sensibilities of the competitive and secretive competitors! Here, you’ll be able to watch live as well as join in via Twitter and Facebook …ask questions, comment on what is going on, and enjoy some of the amazing music making from the live streamed brass bands.