The £30 isn't really to cover judges fees. It's to cover the cost of hiring the extra venue the day before the competition, at least in the Argyllshire Gathering's case. The entry fee for the competition was £30 and unwisely the AG allowed the competitors to pay this on the day. Those who did not show up obviously did not pay this. The additional venue cost the AG £2000 on top of their other normal costs, and yes, there were extra judges fees as well. The situation is unfortunate because it appears that an almost ideal solution had been found to an age - old problem, that is, allowing everyone with the required grading (B) eligibility to compete, with a final of ten in the evening. Those who did not show up have severely endangered the continuance of this form of the competition, because Oban are just not going to do it again (and perhaps Inverness, either) unless they can recoup at least a good portion of this money. Pipers for years have shouted from the rooftops about the supposed inadequacies of "the system" over the years, and when an ideal solution is found albeit at considerable expense, those who did not show up have thumbed their nose at the efforts of those who have most tried to help. It is those pipers who did not show up who should make the efforts now to recompense the organisers and to pledge to behave differently in future, so that the new system can benefit themselves for years to come.
In Oban's case, the £2000 came directly out of a fund which otherwise would have been used to provide piping lessons during the year for local schoolchildren. A bit of a sobering reality for those who didn't bother showing up.
I will post this without knowledge of the full rules or knowledge of the reasons why some people didn't show and waht actions they took. I know here in the states, if you no call no show for certain medical appointments, a Dr. can write you off as a patient, and music teachers are quick to go ahead and charge you for your lesson with out a days notice in advance. So with that, I would say that if an invitation was awarded to a player, then hopefully there is the option of declining that invite or accepting. Once accepted it should be clearly defined in the original invitation that upon accepetance, that the player shall be responsible for a 30 pound judges fee if he/she backsout of the event with less than say a months notice? If you cancel within the month, the 30 is due and you will not be eligible for next years contest. Seems fair and just. It seems that way with this for the most part unless that fee is not in the initial agreement, than good luck collecting on that legally and good luck trying to discipline any of the players.
Hopefully all is well respected and the players that just up and decided they didn't want to go for no real good reason, understand the selfishness behind that act.
Frustrating! Its hard to fathom for me that these players would have come this far and then not bothered to turn up and give it their best shot!! Being from Australia, I know the years of hard work the players from here, New Zealand and other countries put in to get an opportunity to even be graded at the level required to get a tune in the Silver Medal Qualifier. There are plenty of capable players around the World who really want a chance to play in the Silver Medal Contests and would respectfully turn up and do the contest justice. I agree totally with the previous two posts. Unless there is a legitimate excuse for not turning up then maybe the CPA should give these players their Grading for next year but add an exclusion to their names for Oban & Inverness to give others a chance!!
Short of some serious proven medical condition or a close relative dying, these pipers that didn't show up should be given the year off or banned for good. Too many players would give their eye teeth for a spot in these events for that nonsense to happen.
I think this move by the CPA is more than fair. There are a stack of very good pipers lining up to play in these events, and many do not get accepted, for often very minor reasons. The players who pulled out have shown a complete lack of respect for their fellow pipers, organisers and judges. I think the CPA would be well within their right to ban these players from next years Silver Medals unless they can provide sufficient evidence that their no-show was justified. Then others who would love to play in these events would get a chance. I know that some will have a legitimate reason, and that is fine, but no where near all 20 will have one. Well done CPA for making a stand.