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West of England association issues statement after Regional contest proceeds

Monday 16 March, 2020

The West of England Brass Band Association (WEBBA) has issued a statement thanking supporters after it opted to proceed with its Regional Championship.

In the statement, a spokesperson for the organisation condemned “anonymous and inappropriate comments” made towards the association during the course of the weekend.

The contest went ahead at the Riviera Centre, Torquay, on March 14 and 15 though several bands decided to withdraw amid concern over the continued spread of COVID-19. The North of England Regionals also proceeded but the London and Southern Counties contest, originally scheduled for March 21 and 22, has been cancelled.

The statement from the West of England Brass Band Association reads:

The Council of WEBBA acknowledges the many messages of thanks from bands and visitors to the Riviera Centre during a period of unprecedented and challenging circumstances arising from this National crisis and fluctuating and emerging Government advice.

The decision to proceed was based wholly on the facts available to us at the time and in difficult circumstances where a variety of related opinions and advice were never going to satisfy every individual view. However, we adhered to the official advice given by the Government.

The decision of a very small percentage of bands to withdraw is fully understood and the underlying reasons may be unique to each individual band. However, it will have been unfortunate if their decision was based entirely on inaccurate information widely circulated via social media.

Since the beginning of this week, we have remained in close contact with Philip Morris, managing director of Kapitol Promotions and the management team of the Riviera Centre to ensure additional measures were put in place for bands, their supporters and any guests.

It is extremely disappointing that a number of anonymous and inappropriate comments have been directed at the WEBBA team via the secretary's email and also her mobile telephone and as a consequence, no response will be generated.

We always value feedback but we would remind originators that we are all volunteers.

Equally, whilst we acknowledge all of the feedback we have received whether negative or positive, owing to the current volume, we are unable to acknowledge individually but please be assured all will be considered at our next Council meeting as an overall review of these championships.

The extremely positive atmosphere from the bands attending and audiences at the five presentation ceremonies together with feedback from public areas and exhibitors supports our decision to continue.

There is no doubt that the coming weeks will be challenging for all communities. Nevertheless, our planning for the 2021 Regional Championships will commence very shortly.