pipes|drums has learned from two separate inside sources that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will reportedly announce plans to make the World Pipe Band Championships a two-day competition, beginning in 2013. Exact details are reportedly still to be decided and officially ratified, but the organization may make an official announcement at its annual general meeting on March 10th in Glasgow.
According to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, a likely scenario will be a Saturday-Sunday event, with all grades competing on both days. The marquee Grade 1 contest could see all bands competing in both a Medley and MSR competition on the first day, and then a short-leet final on Sunday, again comprising both a Medley and MSR.
“Think-tank meetings are taking place with various groups and committees,” said the source, but that “a two-day event is definitely on the cards.”
“A two-day World’s in 2013 is . . . now pretty definite,” said another insider, who also commented provided he is not named.
The association has been under pressure from bands for several years to alter the format of the World Championships, which currently operates on a single day, with Grade 1 taking on a complex qualifying process that includes a league-table system throughout the RSPBA season, exemptions for “overseas” bands that placed at the previous year’s World’s, and an MSR qualifier competition on the day of the Championship.
A complicating factor for non-UK bands with a Sunday event could be the additional travel and vacation time needed to stay in Scotland through the weekend.
“We feel like a two-days World’s would be a good thing,” said Terry Lee, pipe-major of six-time World Champions Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver. “It would be more challenge and more suspense. Even though it means bands such as SFU will not pre-qualify, it is worth it to see the event grow. If our events are potentially being doubled it would be nice to see a doubling of the judging panel as well. The scope of the event has outgrown four-member panels. I personally wonder why we wouldn’t see finals in more grades than Grade 1. This could help with enlarging the ‘finals’ panels as well. Twelve-band finals would be nice.”
The World Championships will continue to be held in Glasgow for at least the next three years, as the city was awarded the event in a contract extension. The competition has been held in Glasgow every year since 1980 except 1985 when it moved to the town of Hamilton due to complications with its original Bellahouston Park venue. Before 1980 the event moved from city to city every year since 1947, when it was established, replacing the de facto world championships at the Cowal Gathering.
RSPBA officials had not responded to inquiries regarding the matter at publication time.