November 30, 1999

Polkemmet Reportedly Disbanded

Unconfirmed reports from the UK contend that the long-established Polkemmet Pipe Band has folded after its relegation to Grade 2 by the RSPBA. If true, it brings an end to a band with a rich tradition of excellence.

Polkemmet enjoyed considerable success from 1979 to 1993, starting with P/M Johnny Barnes, moving to P/M Robert Mathieson (1982-1986), and P/M David Barnes (1988-1993). Under Mathieson, the band made the ground breaking recording, “From Celtic Roots.” With David Barnes, Polkemmet won several major championships, and narrowly missed winning the World’s in 1991.

Based in the village of Whitburn, West Lothian, Polkemmet rose to prominence during the post-war era of colliery bands. The trimuverate of Polkemmet Colliery, Shotts & Dykehead, and Boghall & Bathgate are based with ten miles of each other, and all three bands have enjoyed a friendly rivalry.

The band had been led since 1993 by Steven Young.

Said one pipe band insider, “It’s a shame that Polkemmet’s had to chuck it in. There was a lot of tradition there, so hopefully someone will start it again soon.”


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