2012 Australian Pipe Band Championships goes to Ballarat
The Australian Pipe Band Championships are held every two years, traditionally in one of the vast country’s states or territories, with one of the separate regional associations bidding for the right to stage the event. But for the first time the 2012 contest has been awarded to not an association to run, but a band, with the Grade 2 University of Ballarat Pipe Band winning the tender process.
The University of Ballarat itself also supported the bid process, as did the City of Ballarat and the North Ballarat Football Club, which operates the designated venue for the competition, Eureka Stadium.
A city of more the 100,000, Ballarat is relatively close to Melbourne and Geelong, as well as two major international airports, making the organizers hopeful that more competitors will be attracted to the competition.
The event will be run over the April Easter weekend, and, in another first, the championship will be decided over two days, with MSR and March Selection competitions staged on the Saturday, and the Medley events on the Sunday.
“This format is a distinct break with previous championships and allows for a less hectic schedule for players and the opportunity to enjoy other performances and the attractions of the event,” said organizing committee member Stephen Matthews. “Significant effort is being placed on including attractions and socializing opportunities for players, their families, supporters and the general public of all ages. Gourmet food stalls, wine tasting and sales and kids’ entertainment and activities are all envisaged, and will be included with entry to the event, free of additional charge.”
The more relaxed approach is a departure from the Australian Championships’ one-day format, in which all bands played their two events in the same day. Matthews said that a ceilidh is planned to close the festivities.
The contest has already established a website – http://www.australianpipebandchampionships.com.au – a Facebook page and Twitter registration @austpbchamps12.
The event is run under the auspices of Pipe Bands Australia, a body that brings together the various pipe band associations across the country.
It is not known if a competing pipe band has ever been involved with the organization of a national championship in which it competes.