Published: January 31, 2008

Our fearless forecasts for 2008!

We gaze into the pipes|drums crystal ball to see what’s on the 2008 horizon. We’ve polled a team of select experts from the pipes and drums arts, and now provide our 75 – count em! – 75 predictions for the year. These insights cover pipe bands, solo piping, solo drumming and even a bit of Highland dress. It’s all in fun, and at the beginning of 2009, all things being equal, we will tally our results. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2008 pipes|drums Predictions!

  • A band will win all five majors in Grade 1.
  • Halifax Citadel 78th Highlanders will continue to be a strong Grade 1 presence, despite a disappointing day in Glasgow last August.
  • Alastair Dunn to get his second Gold Medal.
  • SFU will win the World’s.
  • Another big piping retailer to close shop.
  • Bagpipes to get a #1 hit single.
  • 2008 World Pipe Band Championship – two words: Field Marshal.
  • Band size: to hold steady at the 20-24 pipers.
  • Bass- / mid-sections decide to hold their own World Pipe Band Championships – pipe corps and side sections optional.
  • Gordon McCready for a Gold Medal.
  • 78th Frasers will win the World’s and Bill Livingstone will announce retirement.
  • A female will win the Gold Medal.
  • Triumph Street will get trounced all season by SFU. Both bands will be happy. With Triumph Street gone, Maple Ridge will dominate the two-band Grade 2 class, and may have a shot at winning at Maxville.
  • 2008 North American Pipe Band Championship Grade 1 results: 1st Scottish Lion-78th Frasers, 2nd Dowco-Triumph Street, 3rd Reel Regional Police, 4th E’r’body else
  • Angus MacColl will continue to play big 2/4 marches better than anyone else on the planet.
  • Boghall wins World’s Drumming Championship
  • A major oil company will offer to sponsor the World Pipe Band Championships on an oil platform in the middle of the Irish Sea.
  • Chris Armstrong will participate in and win the Lord Todd Challenge, the result being sealed when, to the delight of the crowd and judges, his fingers burst into flames during his penultimate reel set.
  • Chris Armstrong will release a solo recording entitled “Flames Frae Ma Fingers.”
  • A female will win the Former Winners’ MSR.
  • Margaret Dunn to win Gold Medal at Inverness, becoming first female to win it and perhaps first married couple to have a pair of Gold Medals on display.
  • Fans and spectators increasingly turn their attention to the Grade 2 bands, finding their medleys more musically accessible – and enjoyable – than those of Grade 1 bands.
  • A German pipe band to win Grade 3 at the World Championships.
  • FMM make it three in a row at the World’s.
  • A decision made that one of the major championships to be held in Ontario in 2009.
  • FMM wins World’s
  • A top Pipe Band will march into the competition arena with the drummers at the front.
  • Glenn Brown will win a Gold Medal.
  • Shotts doesn’t make prize list at at least one major.
  • Grade 1 band pipe corps size will decline in 2008 – average size back to 18-20 by next year (an early 2009 prediction).
  • PPBSO: the band scene will be really interesting in Grade 1, especially with the potential re-emergence of Peel as a contender, and with Toronto Police having some new members and a year to catch its breath. The SL78thFH will continue as the band to beat, especially if they do cut back the number of players.
  • In a mystifying bit of constancy in an ever-changing world, the glengarry continues as the headgear of choice for the vast majority of competition pipe bands.
  • Band trends: the trend will continue wherein bands struggle to retain members and generate enough funding to operate. More bands will merge or fold, especially in North America.
  • Jim Kilpatrick will reclaim the World Solo Drumming Championship.
  • Margaret Dunn to be in the prizes in the GM.
  • New European member states to show more interest in piping, e.g. Poland.
  • None of the “Big Three” to win the 2008 World’s. Perhaps Strathclyde Police?
  • Non-UK Bands will win every grade at the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships.
  • Patia Pipe Band (from Pakistan with the colourful hats) win Grade 4a at the World Championships with firsts across the board and they have wild celebrations across Glasgow that every newspaper shop and convenience store in Glasgow is closed for two weeks.
  • Piobaireachd Society: The Piobaireachd Society has been somewhat proactive in defending its history and publications, and has taken some steps to soften its image in the face of criticism. The PS will continue in 2008 to re-publish original sources and it will continue to re-brand itself for a better image among the piping public.
  • More TV coverage, perhaps Glenfiddich.
  • More bands challenge for top six places – too stale at present
  • RSPBA – will consider enlarging judging panels to four piping, two drumming and one ensemble, each in a stationary position, to effectively manage the anticipated increase in band size.
  • PPBSO – platforms to be added for all solo professional solo events at outdoor contests . . . finally after this request was first considered back in the 1960s. In fact, Maxville had them and took them out.
  • New fashion trend we hope not to see: brightly coloured brogue laces to complement the primary colours in kilts. Red, yellow, green, purple laces, like some nightmare, pipe band version of Converse All-Stars.
  • Rain all day at Maxville; clear and mid-70s in Glasgow for the World’s.
  • Realization by various pipe band societies that Grade 1 should become an elite grade (10-15 bands worldwide) not a place for good Grade 2 bands trying to make the grade.
  • The size of pipe bands at 2008 World Championships forces judges to judge bands from inside circle.
  • Rules about maximum sizes of bands to be introduced – bands to only be allowed a maximum of 20 pipers and 10 sides on their roster. This would then mean that more Grade 1 bands would become stronger and provide more competition.
  • ScottishPower’s drum corps will feature in the top three at a major.
  • SFU to win World’s Drumming title making a huge comeback from a disastrous 2007 World’s
  • Shotts will not win a drumming major.
  • Somebody in the piping world will win the lottery and sponsor a grade 1 band
  • Stuart Cassells to give up Bagrock and concentrate on his piobaireachd playing.
  • Sunny weather for a change
  • World’s: the RSPBA will continue to run the World’s in the same format. Performers will get no recognition or revenue from performances, lead drummers will not even be recognized in the program or on the recordings [which feature their original compositions], and Field Marshall to win third year running.
  • The ” mini drum,” introduced by the Metro Toronto Police PB will become compulsory for all Grade 1 bands, making the instrument minimums: 8 pipers, 4 snare drums, 2 mini snare drums, 2 tenors, 1 bass
  • Simon Fraser University changes sponsorship and band name.
  • The Major in Birmingham will be a great success and actually have a beer tent big enough to supply the bands.
  • The new Mark Saul bagpipe tuner to revolutionize bagpipes and piping. The next step will be bagpipes that tune themselves midway through taorluath variation ensuring pipes remain in tune for every piobaireachd.
  • The Shotts World’s concert will feature a drum fanfare that will be unlike anything seen before and will be known as the best ever.
  • Edinburgh to set itself up as major piping site again – like Glasgow
  • The sun shines on the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow with a record temperature ever for Scotland. All the bands apart from City of Tokyo struggle to cope with the heat and many of the bands compete in shorts and t-shirts.
  • The World’s top pipe bands consider forming a “league” to sanction and run their own competitions, do joint marketing and share in all performance and recording royalties.
  • There will be a move to lower the pitch of the pipes in top Bands. Drum tensioners will become redundant as a result.
  • Watch for the return of Alan Bevan to the contest platform
  • Grade 1 band signs a recording contract and music company stops them from going to the World’s, because the band they are paying is playing for nothing.
  • RSPBA, realizing that lower grade standards have actually declined in Scotland and improved elsewhere, scraps crazy MAP project after 2008 season.
  • 2009 Set Tunes: own choice.
  • Colin MacLellan judges Clasp and/or Glenfiddich.
  • Toronto Police turn heads with completely off-the-wall medley.
  • Margaret Dunn wins Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medal. Some toffy Oban gentry type says something completely ignorant to her at the prize-giving.
  • World Championships plays second-fiddle to Piping Live! Who needs a contest to have a totally fun festival?
  • Willie McCallum gets his Clasp.
  • 5 COMMENTS

    1. I appreciate that this is ‘a bit of fun’, BUT: FMM win the Worlds Field Marshall win the Worlds SFU win the Worlds Strathclyde Police win the Worlds Why dont you just put: A Grade 1 band will win the worlds. Yet again pipes/drums produces a story of poor quality. Amature reporting of a site which tries to be the most informed in the business, failed again. Can’t wait for the headline news about some Grade 3 North American band changing the colour of their flashes.

    2. Shugs! L&B to get a prize ??? I heard them at 3 majors last year. Their sound was terrible, their playing was not what you’d expect from a top 6 band and the ensemble was not right at all. Nice kilts though…

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