April 03, 2020

2020 World Championships cancelled

For the first time since 1947, the World Pipe Band Championships will not take place in a calendar year as the competition was officially cancelled by organizers Glasgow Life and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

It will not be rescheduled.

A statement to pipes|drums from Glasgow Life said:

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “The World Pipe Band Championships has been associated with Glasgow longer than any other major summer event. This decision was taken in consultation with the RSPBA and EventScotland but was still difficult, even though we know it is the right one. Glasgow comes alive with the sound of Pipe Bands in August and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the championships back next year.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The World Pipe Band Championships is the pinnacle of the piping calendar, welcoming the best pipers and drummers from around the world to Scotland for this spectacular event. Cancelling this year’s event has been a difficult but necessary one as we navigate through these unprecedented times. For now our focus must be on supporting the NHS and all the service providers on the front line as they deal with Covid-19 but we look forward to welcoming the piping community back to Scotland for next year’s World Championships.”

Despite several requests, pipes|drums had no response from the RSPBA regarding the financial impact on the association due to the cancellation of the World’s and the other four major championships.

The event had been scheduled for August 14-15 to be staged at Glasgow Green, Glasgow, with about 180 bands previously planning to compete, including 17 in the premier Grade 1 competition.

Tickets to the event had been scheduled to go on sale at the end of April.

The World’s is not only the biggest pipe band competition in the world, but one of the largest outdoor events in Glasgow, Scotland and the United Kingdom overall.

The RSPBA had previously cancelled the British, European and UK Pipe Band Championships to be held in Paisley, Inverness and Belfast, respectively.

The cancellation of the competition essentially means that the entire RSPBA season is a wash, leaving the viability of the association in question. The organization has not responded to numerous queries regarding its financial situation. In November 2019, RSPBA Executive Office Ian Embelton said that payments from organizers for the licensing of the association’s five major championships would cover a six-figure debt reportedly incurred following cost overruns for the renovation of the association’s headquarters in Glasgow.

The 2020 Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival was also cancelled.

Inveraray & District of Inveraray, Scotland, were the winners of the 2019 World Championship.

The announcement follows the cancellation of other major events in Scotland in August, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Tattoo, the most famous two events in Scotland and major contributors to the Scottish tourist economy.



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