October 31, 2010

Glitzy Las Vegas competition cancelled

The Las Vegas Invitational Pipe Band Championship scheduled for April 2011 has been cancelled, according to Jeff Mann, one of the directors of the event. It is not known if the non-competition elements of the Celtic Festival will go ahead.

Rumours of the demise of the competition were prevalent over the last month, as entries to the competition by Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands were low. The organizers had offered a travel allowance of $5,000 for each Grade 1 band and $4,000 for each Grade 2 band. The events in the top two grades were to comprise a traditional medley, an MSR and a “concert” competition, with the overall winner of the three contests taking a first prize of $6,000 for Grade 1.

The group had extended the initial deadline for entry to the competition to allow more bands to hold their annual general meetings to make a collective decision. Reportedly only one Grade 1 band, Oran Mor, had confirmed its entry to the event, and only a handful of Grade 2 bands intended to go.

In a statement, Mann wrote, “It is with deep regret and sadness that I announce the cancellation of the Las Vegas Invitational Pipe Band Championship.”

He added that further comment would be forthcoming from Nevada State Senator Dennis Nolan, the Executive Director of the event.

The current recession has hit Nevada hard, and particularly Las Vegas, with unemployment in the city at  around  15 per cent.


  1. This is disappointing. In my opinion it would have been better to shell out a greater amount of travel money to get grades 1 and 2 bands in to get things rolling instead of thinning out travel money and including everyone.

  2. If the problem was participation, I wonder why entry was restricted to only North American bands. Surely it would have increased the level of interest if some of the UK/Ireland and/or Australia/NZ based bands had been invited to the party…

  3. I don’t think that opening the invitations to other continents would have made much difference. $5,000 would only be enough to fly people to Vegas from the U.K. So, then, after paying the way for your mid section, would the rest of the band be willing to pay thier own way? I think not…….

  4. The Las Vegas Highland Games will go on with a premier pipe band event including all grades. In addtion, plans are moving forward for a Military Tattoo including bands from all over the World and our famous Las Vegas Strip Celiedh. The International Celtic Festival will move forward. Interested pipe bands and drum majors should contact Scott MacDonald who has been named as the chairperson for piping and drumming. We expect one of the greatest Celtic experiences in the U.S Ken Misch, M.D. Vice President, Las Vegas Celtic Society

  5. This is sad. Regardless of who was invited, hopefully this is not due to the greediness that some bands have taken too. Not enough money to go is a bda excuse considering most contest offer nothing at all. Our band was signed up because we thought it would be a great competition, and the bit of travel money was a nice bonus. Oh well, hopefully with more time they can get this sorted.

  6. An addition to my first comment. Should have been $5K for 10 people… Greed isn’t really the question. It is more a matter of overall economics. Very few, if any bands have unlimited funding. If a band’s travel budget for the year is, say $50K, where does the band decide to go? Unless the members are willing to pony up sizeable amounts of personal cash, it wouldn’t be economically feasible to attend the WPBC + Maxville (substitute an Australian or New Zealand big here if you wish) + Vegas. To do all three would be conservatively upwards of $150K due to the geography involved. Even if a band could raise those funds per year it would still impact vacation time and personal wallets. It is an unfortunate reality, but in order to make the Vegas thing work as originally planned, it would have to be expense free for bands traveling over 500 miles as most would likely have Vegas as the number three pick vs the Worlds or the local continental grande spectacle” in the larger scheme of things.”



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