It is with great regret and reluctance, that I have to inform you that I have no choice other than to cancel the 2020 SCBF National Finals in Perth Concert Hall this weekend. As you may imagine, I have had a significant number of calls and emails from concerned parents today, and while I was happy to state that we were going ahead, at the end of the day everyone has their own view, and things have moved quickly on. By late this afternoon, seven bands had informed me that their education authorities were no longer permitting them to travel and perform in SCBF - and indeed other major events. I anticipate that other education authorities will follow suit tomorrow ( Friday ), so it seems unreasonable to delay in making this decision any longer, as the inconvenience to you all becomes greater the longer we leave it.
We are all in completely uncharted waters with this coronavirus pandemic, and I feel enormously for all of you and your players for the amount of effort you have all put in - in preparation for this weekend. I watched Boris Johnson and the chief health officer give their statements following today's COBRA meeting - plainly life is going to change for all of us for some considerable time.
Today, Nicola Sturgeon announced that the Scottish Government were going to place a ban on all public meeting of 500 people or more from next week - some bodies have interpreted that as being of immediate effect.
We will have to wait to see if there is going to be any opportunity of rescheduling this event later in the year.
I hope you will appreciate that this is not a decision I have taken lightly, and look forward to seeing you all at some point in the future.
In an attempt to preempt any enquiries that I may get in the next few days regarding the Coronavirus, and hopefully calm some of the social media storm out there, here is the official SCBF statement as of 14.00 on Monday 9th. March
Having sought the best medical and government advice that I can access, there is absolutely no reason why the 2020 SCBF National Finals should not proceed as usual this weekend - in other words, it is" business as usual".
I have listed to doctor Hugh Pennington's ( CBE, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen ) assessment of the current situation, he clearly states that "we are some way off having to cancel major public events in Scotland." ( he talks about May & June ).
I have read the statement issued by the UK Government's Cobra Committee both last week and again today, again they state clearly that we are still in the "containment stage", provided that everyone uses common sense and follows UK government guidelines for hand hygiene - which I have copied below.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated today that of the eighteen known cases in Scotland, all of these cases have been acquired by either travel to a foreign country or direct contact with someone who has returned from abroad.
I have just returned from working in Perth Concert Hall at the Scottish Brass Band Championships - this event ran as scheduled with all bands participating, and it actually felt that there was more of an audience there than previous years.
I am of course liaising closely with Perth Concert Hall management on a weekly basis - there were hand sanitisers clearly available at the box office, bar and restaurant this weekend, but my advice would be for as many people as possible to bring their own, this would help the situation enormously.
Things may change in the weeks and months ahead, but at this point in time, all bands and ensembles are coming to perform as planned, and I am looking forward to great weekend.
Please click here to view full running times for this year.
New SCBF Repertoire List is published, January 2020. Please visit the repertoire page to download. Thank you.