What to make of it all?
It would be easy to be negative. So let's do that.
The weather was pretty awful, but it's been worse, so don't let that distract you from the woeful crowd levels. The Green was empty. I'm no expert at counting crowd numbers, but I'm guessing we had less than half the crowd of the traditional Saturday. The traders were left talking amongst themselves for long periods and the food stalls will have been throwing out large quantities of overpriced swill at the end of the night (or reheating it tomorrow - A&E on standby please).
Despite the fact that the seats in the usual Grade One arena were free, they went largely unoccupied. Even during the sunnier spells.
The contest tailed off after the Grade One qualifiers were done - it wasn't really clear what was actually happening and the "Finale" was a bit of a joke. Various bands paraded on sans instruments and others simply didn't bother.
For Grade Two bands, the world title is now decided and they can feel free to go home. Same thing for 4A outfits. Drum Majors (Senior) too. And, from what I heard, quite a number will be on boats and planes tomorrow afternoon as the premier grade plays on. This does nothing for the majesty of the occasion. It is likely that Buchan and Lomond & Clyde could both be competing in Grade One next season but this year they will have to pay in tomorrow if they want to check out next year's opponents.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed much of what I saw. The frustrations with the new Grade One format and the simultaneous 2 rings aside, it's always great to see the big bands doing what they do best. I just hope they can see sense and consign the new format to history.
Not a good start to this experiment. Not good at all.