$2,000,000 at Vegas, baby, for bands in 2011
After several years of proposals, planning and rumours, it was officially announced at the annual general meeting of the Western United States Pipe Band Association that US$2,000,000 has been approved to hold an international pipe band and drum-major competition and tattoo in the Las Vegas area in April 2011.
The announcement was made at the meeting by Nevada State Senator Dennis Nolan, with funding coming from Las Vegas Events.
The idea for the event originated in the late 1990s, and has been spearheaded by WUSPBA Executive Secretary Jeff Mann, John Biggar and Jim Harrington over the last two years. The concept was part of discussions at various Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations summit meetings.
According to Harrington, the exact location of the event has yet to be determined, but he confirmed that “The band competition will feature the top pipe bands from each of the 10 pipe bands associations in North America,” as well as an “International Drum-Major Competition featuring some of the best drum-majors in the world.”
Harrington added that “several hundred-thousand dollars” will be awarded in travel money for pipe bands, and that prize-money will also be “significant.” He expects that Grade 1 bands from around the world will be drawn to the event.
The current plan, according to Harrington, is to offer contests for all grades but Grade 5. Whether Juvenile is offered is also not settled. The intention is for the competition to be an annual event, depending on the success of the first year.
“The original thinking of the committee was that the top three bands in each grade for each of the 10 pipe band associations in North America would be invited to compete,” Harrington said. “This is very exciting for all North American pipe bands and drum-majors.”