Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”. Well, not at BYBA. Because we’ve spent the last few months simplifying our judging system to make sure it works for everyone – big or small, show band, drum corps, or traditional band. We’ve stripped out the jargon and focused on the essentials of great design and great performance. We hope it will make things more transparent for current competitors, and also encourage some bands that haven’t competed before to dip their toes in the water.

There are three core musical aspects – general effect, wind and percussion – and two core visual aspects – general effect and field visual/drill. The two effect categories (musical and visual) are divided into repertoire and performance, while the execution categories (wind, percussion and visual/drill) are divided into composition and achievement. Effect captions are weighted more heavily than field captions in the overall score.

There are four ‘specialist’ categories that are judged separately and not part of the overall score because they don’t apply to every types of band. They are drum major, field commander, colour guard and turnout. Keeping them separate allows bands to get credit for aspects they feel are important whilst not penalising bands who choose not to field that element.

We’ll be hosting a webinar on Sunday 2 June at 19.45 where the BYBA judges will be on hand to explain the new system and give everyone a chance to ask questions. It is open to all bandmasters / corps directors and their instructors, whether BYBA members or not. To register to receive the URL and password, visit

Michael Potter

Head of Judging, Michael Potter, said, “Our members told us the system we were using was just too complicated for them. We listened, went back to basics, consulted with the current members, and we’re really pleased with the simpler system we’ve produced. No system is ever perfect, so we’ll make sure we review it at the end of the summer season. I’d encourage all bands to come along and give it a go, even if they have never competed in BYBA before.”

The first BYBA contest is in Corby on 23 June 2019. Places are still available – contact Clive Burd at

Further contests are on 7 July in Nuneaton, 22 September in Stafford and National Championships is on the weekend of 5/6 October in Coventry.