December 31, 2012

Boghall & Bathgate coming to Cobourg, Ontario, in June

2012 European and Cowal champions, and one of the most consistently successful top-grade pipe bands in history, Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia of Bathgate, Scotland, has confirmed that it will be travelling to compete and perform in concert as part of the 50th anniversary of the Cobourg Highland Games in Cobourg, Ontario, a small community about 100 kilometres east of the city of Toronto.

It will be the band’s first trip back to Ontario since it came to Toronto in the 1990s to perform at a tattoo-like festival, and the first time that the band has competed in Canada since the 1970s in the last years of the Intercontinental Pipe Band Championships at the Scottish World Festival, a part of Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition.

On Friday, June 14, 2013, the band will stage a version of its extensive 2012 “Forte” concert that it mounted in August at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Boghall & Bathgate will then compete at the Cobourg Highland Games on Saturday.

The concert will be held in the new Cobourg Community Centre, which has a seating capacity of nearly 3,000, depending on configuration.

“Given the depth of pipe band knowledge and enthusiasm in Ontario, it’s always been an ambition of mine to bring the band over, so I’m thrilled at the chance to bring the band over to take part in the events marking the 50th anniversary of Cobourg Highland Games,” Walker said. “I expect that many in Ontario have never heard the band in the flesh and probably don’t know much about us so it will be a great opportunity to remedy that in some small way. We also plan to compete at the Cobourg Games. It will be a relatively novel experience for a Scottish band to come over and compete in Ontario conditions, a challenge we look forward to – though I’ll still pack my cape!”

After more than 15 years since dropping piping and drumming competitions due to cost constraints, the Cobourg Games will bring back a full slate of band and solo contests this year, organizer David Thompson confirmed.

“What we are trying to emulate is the ‘Pre-World’s’ show in Glasgow,” Thompson said. “We’re ecstatic that Boghall & Bathgate can attend.”

Boghall & Bathgate’s arrival will be the first time that a non-North American Grade 1 pipe band has competed in Ontario since New Zealand’s Canterbury Caledonian in 1991.

The Cobourg competitions will be sanctioned and run by the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and the event will move to the large and shade-filled Victoria Park on Lake Ontario, a departure from the sun-baked venue that drove many bands away in the early-1990s.

Thompson said that piping, drumming and pipe band competitions will be an aspect of the games going forward and, with the success of the Boghall & Bathgate concert, the games will host a major Grade 1 band to stage a concert every year.

Thompson added, “If this turns out to be what I think it can be, the goal is to have a band every year.”

Concert ticket details are being finalized. Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more information as it becomes available.


  1. Wonderful news. Great to see the Cobourg games making a comeback. But, I suspect there will be at least one Ontario Gr1 band chicken out eer, I mean protest” the fact that Boghall is being flown in and paid to be there. Or

  2. This is just great news. Boghall is truly a great band – yes, as we all know. We’re lucky to have them our way. I know all of us on the Ontario scene look forward to welcoming them (with empty cups).

  3. PipesReady, what rot. Local Gr1 bands will be falling over themselves to A) play at a rejuvenated event and B) compete against a top flight band to get a read on where they’re at. The subsidisation of Boghall is what’s getting them there to help raise the profile of the event, I think everyone will see it for what it is. It would be a brave (read: silly) PM who pulls his band on the grounds you’ve cited. They wouldn’t be long for the job.

  4. Great news to have a games come back. They must have been saving their bucks, big layout to bring Boghall over. Having not been to Scotland for quite a few years, I look forward to the concert. (I go to all the Grade 1 Ontario band concerts I can, and the comparison will be interesting)



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