October 31, 2008

Updated: Chatham games discontinued

The Chatham Highland Games, a staple on the Ontario circuit since the early-1990s and a designated PPBSO Champion Supreme event, has been discontinued. The news was made public by the city on October 16th.

The competition has for more than a decade annually been the second-most attended contest by competitors each year, with only the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, surpassing the event in terms of attending bands and soloists. With its relative closeness to the United States border, Chatham had been particularly popular with bands based in Michigan, Illinois and New York.

Organizers cited “spirallling costs” as the chief reason for the decision, saying that underwriting the competitions with the PPBSO cost the event $35,000 each year.

The games’ overall production cost was said to be more than $75,000. The Chatham Games committee added that a scaled-down version of the event as a “Scottish festival” is still a possibility for 2009, with a few pipe bands performing. Other venues, like Kincardine, Ontario, have taken a relatively scaled-back festival approach.

PPBSO President Bob Allen said that the Chatham games organizaers did not discuss their decision with the PPBSO before announcing it to the media. He said that Chatham does not owe the PPBSO any money.
Allen said that he spoke Gary Dick of the Chatham Games on October 16th and suggested “different ways to reduce costs, but was informed that the decision had been made and it was irreversible.”
Allen said that the PPBSO now has a prime open date in July to offer to other interested parties.

While Kincardine partners with the PPBSO on sanctioning and the Society’s turn-key organization and implementation of the solo and band competitions, several other Ontario-based games have emerged successfully without involving the organization.


  1. Well, that’s a damned shame. I liked Chatham, either as a competitor or as a spectator. Closest Ontario games for us Michigander types is now…(thinking)….Fergus? Cambridge? Bring back Kingsville and Boblo!

  2. OUT ………..Highland games where a bunch of bands stand in a circle with their backs to the crowd and play MSR’s and bore peope to death. IN………. Scottish/Highland festivals where organizers hire bands that actually face the crowd and entertain people with lively music !



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