BBMA AGM – May 2019 held at the Orwell Festival

Apologies for absence
Eugene O’Brien (European Rep)
Geoff Berrow (Web Master)

Committee Members
Dave Teague (Chair)
Richard Holland (Secretary)
Sherryl Payne (Treasurer)
Chris Elson (Membership)
Les Packer (MWP)
Dave Norton (Education)

Members of the floor!
Colin Burns, Myron Prosser, Gill Sands, Ray Makey, Terry Ryan, Trevor Simpson, David Reynard, Graham Firmage, Gary Payne, Shelley Simpson, Carwyn Burns, Chris Hockley, Ben Hockley.

Acceptance of previous minutes – proposed David Reynard and seconded by Trevor Ryan.

Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the 2019 BBMA AGM

Normally, this is a closed meeting for BBMA members only and non paid up members would be asked to leave, however your Committee has decided to trial a temporary arrangement to allow non members to attend, so that they can see what we are all about. You will be here as our guests to observe only and will not be allowed to vote or to take part in the proceedings, for obvious reasons

Apologies are received from:
Eugene O’Brien
Geoff Berrow

They have all proxied their vote to the Chair.

To start the meeting, we would like to get approval of the minutes for the last AGM held at The Cornish Bluegrass Festival in September 2018. These minutes were posted out to all of our members along with the magazine.

I would just like to point out that there were a number of omissions in the apologies section at the start.
The complete list should have been:

Eugene O’Brien
Geoff Berrow
Chrys Hendi Warner
Les Packer
Trevor Simpson

Chairmans’ Report

This is my 4th full year as Chairman and I am happy to say that we have moved on positively in all areas since last year’s report.

We have a strong membership; which Chris will go into more detail in his report and a healthy bank balance, which Sherryl will advise upon.

Our Tour Support Service is up and running well. It is currently being run by me and since taking it over, we have gone from an initial number of 9 permits issued by the previous organiser, to 32 in my first year, 52 in the second year, 61 last year and we have just been allocated a further 30 certificates, giving a total of 91, which will be carried forward every year as long as they get used. (Explain about the use it or lose it system)

The working year for the permits runs from September to September each year and so far this year we have generated almost £3000 for our funds. As usual, no remuneration has been paid to anyone involved with the scheme, with all profits going into our funds..

The figures quoted are gross and we do have to pay HM V & I a commission for being able to run the scheme.

We are continually looking for areas to promote or provide funding for worthwhile causes involved with the Bluegrass scene and are always looking for ideas. If you do have any, please make contact with Richard, our Secretary, who will make sure that it gets the necessary attention.

At the moment, we have recently agreed to sponsor 6 places for 16-25 year olds and less fortunate persons for the workshop weekend at Moniaive in July.

Richard Holland, as well as being Secretary, is also our Band Support representative and continues to liaise with our bands and more particularly with our new ones to enable them to get their flyers etc onto our website and into our magazine.

Dave Norton is our Education officer and would be pleased to hear from anyone with ideas of how we can get more young blood into our music..

I have been editing the British Bluegrass News as stand in Editor after Trevor Hyett moved on, for around four years now and have continually asked for volunteers to come forward to take it on. Unfortunately no one has come forward. Due to my personal commitments, together with the increased work load of the Tour Support activities, I can no longer continue doing it. I only took it on as a temporary basis and, although I enjoy doing it, unless someone comes forward, BBN 87, the current magazine I am editing, will be the last one. I am sorry that it has come to this but I cannot cope any longer.

If anyone is considering it, but does not know if they are able, remember that I had no editorial experience when I took it on and would be happy to train and help out until they got the hang of it. We really do not want to lose this valuable asset to our association.

As you should be aware, We are now running a sessions page, where a calendar has been created for organisers to let everyone know when and where their respective sessions are being held. It was originally run by John Boston, but is now administered by both the webmaster and editor of the magazine.

Likewise for our festivals calendar. Rather than being an annual calendar, it is now a rolling one, thus letting our members and any one else, know the dates as soon as they are available.

Information for both sessions and events can be sent to the same address –

Our website, is now under the control of Geoff Berrow, our new webmaster, who is continuing to improve the site to make it a worthy flagship for our Association. He has updated the the old site and it is still a work in progress, but we are getting there.

We have a new website address – and also all of our emails now end in .org too. A full list of new addresses can be viewed in the next issue of our magazine, which should be posted out at the end of this month.

Our Facebook site is continuing to grow and we currently have around 2500 “likes” and, as the membership increases, we are now seeing many more International bluegrassers join us

Finally, I would like to thank all of our Committee Members for all the hard work that they do. It’s a thankless job and there’s no-one knows more than me what you do for the Association. Also, to all of you, our members, for their continued support, without whom the Association wouldn’t exist.

As you know this is Orwell’s last festival. We’re sorry to see you go and would thank Chris, Trish &Ben for putting on such a good festival. Our thoughts are also with Trish, who is currently recovering in hospital and would ask Chris to give her our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Secretary’s Report
At the last AGM the committee found itself without a secretary at the AGM – our ex secretary Chrys Hendi Warner being unable to continue through ill health. The committee would like to thank Chrys for her term of office, and wish her well for the future.

Having avoided being a full committee member for a long time, I became acting secretary, and am now standing for election for the next two years. I have stood as a co opted member for more years than I care to admit, and for the last few years have been responsible for Band support.

Band membership has long been an interest of mine, and for the last few years we have tried a number of initiatives to try and assist our musicians. These have included financial support, a BBMA band CD, a BBMA songwriters CD, and last year we contacted around 15 festivals that do not normally have Bluegrass offering to sponsor a BBMA band chosen from our web site. Sadly, only two festivals responded, and only one of them has actually booked a band. We are always looking for new initiatives – so any ideas, please make contact !

The committee have all been working hard, and the web site now takes you to the Secretary Slot – I hope this will be able to keep you up to date with the latest news and some of the issues we are looking at. There is also a contact button to send messages to the committee – and I would encourage you to use this to forward any ideas / complaints for consideration .

Finally a big thanks to all in our community for the work and effort in making the Bluegrass family such a nice thing to be part of!

Treasurer’s Report
Funds currently stand at £16648 – this figure will fluctuate depending on regular out goings, and income from tour support and membership. Some importance placed on the need to find ways of using this resource to the benefit of our members, and Bluegrass in general.

Methods of payment – Paypal works well for memberships, but is more expensive. Direct Debit works well with less deductions.. 75 members currently pay using direct debit. We have lost 2/3 band memberships of late – American Bands tend to keep the membership only for the year they tour.
We have:-
24 Band Memberships
60 Family Memberships
8 Overseas Members
200 Individual Members

Roughly around 400 members in total

Suggestions for future discussion – Financial support from the association to enable ………
BBMA Song Book Download
Catering for Children at Festivals – Day Care etc.
Bands visiting festivals to advertise by Busking

The Jan Jerrold Award
This year the award was given to Rick Townend – as Rick was unable to be at the festival, it was collected on his behalf by Jill Sands.
Rick Started playing Bluegrass in the Echo Mountain Band – initially a group of pupils at the Sevenoaks School. In 1964 the band went on to win both Vocal and Instrumental group at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Echo Mountain went on to play for a number of years culminating with a final performance in 1980 (along with the odd reunion gig). The Band was closely involved with Bill Clifton (USA) who was living at that time in the UK. – they would sometimes accompany him on his personal performances. Rick’s brother Andy was a top class Mandolinist and a big influence in the British scene. Andy was sadly to die in July 1998 – a major loss to our Bluegrass community.
Rick organised the Wadhurst Bluegrass Days – an event that was to run annually for a number of years. Rick is most generous with his time and knowledge and continues to organise educational events/ festivals/ promotions – and to this day he still publishes one of the most comprehensive listings for his geographical area. A true servant of our Bluegrass community, and a deserving recipient of the Jan Jerrold Award.

Also for discussion – the production of BBMA ’T” shirts and logo’s to affix to garments.
A request from Chris Hockley that the BBMA could take over the running of the festival. This to be discussed at the next committee meeting.