The band’s late application to be upgraded to Grade 2 has resulted in part in the Burnett’s & Struth Pipe Band of Ontario being blocked out of the June 12th Georgetown Highland Games, a victim of their own success.
Because the band waited until hearing official word from its home association, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, that its upgrade application had been approved, it has resulted in the group not being one of the competing bands whose entry is accepted on a first-come, first-served system.
A number of years ago the Georgetown event decided to put a cap on its pipe band entry, in part to conserve costs, but also to ensure that, with limited space at its venue, it can get in all of the events of the day. There are 35 bands entered for Georgetown across the five competition grades offered, but only two entered in Grade 2.
“We offered to perform in massed bands without travelling expenses but . . . the answer from the Georgetown organizers was still no,” said band member Mike Connolly. “The result of this error made by me has a few band members concerned, but what concerns me is the lack of flexibility for a local group (albeit under a different name) that has always supported this games over the years when others didn’t. It also does not bode well for the already fragile state of Grade 2 in Ontario.
There are three Grade 2 bands in Ontario, two of which, including Burnett’s & Struth, were promoted in the off-season. The other is the Penetangore Pipe Band, which is entered to compete at Georgetown along with the Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band from New Brunswick.