August 31, 2010

Updated: Tayside Police dissolves following Clunie resignation

The Grade 1 Tayside Police Pipe Band of Dundee, Scotland, has dissolved after its pipe-major, David Clunie, resigned following the World Pipe Band Championships. The dissolution of the band is effective immediately, according to sources, and the band will not compete again.

The band held a meeting on the night of Thursday, August 19th, and collectively decided to break up rather than try to continue.

The troubles within Tayside Police had been rumoured over the summer, with speculation that the band would collapse following the Cowal Gathering, the final major championship of the year.

Tayside Police finished last overall in Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships last week, and also finished last at the two previous championships, the Scottish and European, at which it competed.

Clunie had been appointed pipe-major in 2008, coming from the also disbanded Grade 1 Clan Gregor. Ian Tobin was made lead-drummer the same year, two years after the band was upgraded to Grade 1 following its Champion of Champions award in Grade 2.

“It should be noted that my resignation has been brought about by an accumulation of various reasons,” Clunie said. “Without going into too much detail, the fundamentals are that the force was withdrawing all funding next season making it nigh impossible to run the band on a financial level. Over and above this there were also issues with the required level of any kind of support from the force and commitment from certain key personnel within the band. Practices were suffering due to these issues amongst other  accumulating ruling factors. The decision was not taken lightly, but one could not envisage  being able to improve the band  at this  competitive level in the way the band situation was as stated above. It should be noted that my resignation was given before any decision taken by the remaining members to dissolve the band.”

Clunie added, “At present I have made no decision on future plans as to . . . where I may continue my piping career.”

The band was first organized in 1905 as the Dundee City Police Pipe Band.


  1. Fundraising isn’t as easy here. Here, bands are ten a penny in some areas and the public don’t seem to want to give money to every band they see. They get fed up of seeing Give us money to keep our band going” We don’t have Typical Americans who give money away to any type of cause. Fundraising is harder

  2. summerdrummer, and thespeaker” Thank you for the input. I asked because I don’t know how it goes over there in that sense. I would imagine that having a country the size of my state that saturation would totally take a cut out of everybody. As for the cost of gas

  3. I don’t know the full story, but my first thought was bad losers. There must be some big issues since one decides to close down a Band. I always think it’s sad when a band closes down. Hope the players find other bands to play with.

  4. Is it just me, or is this not the first time there has been an issue with this band breaking down? Not to mention I know I’ve seen some pretty negative comments about Tayside before in other chat collums, what gives? Can’t we all just get along? How does one decide that with uniforms and drums available that it’s better just to shut done the band then continue? Does no one want to run a band anymore?

  5. So I know this was said during the Strathclyde issue with the Department, but is fundraising not very big over in the UK? I mean, you are talking about traveling with in an area the size of Florida and it’s impossible to keep the band going? I know over here in the states even the lowest level bands do anywhere from 5k-30k a year in fundraising, and that’s so they can buy uniforms equipment and travel via planes and coach’s. So can anyone tell me what the civilian bands do over there that don’t have sponsors?

  6. @piperjde costs are very high here due to lack of infrastructure. For instance, a band needs a coach for a day…thats approx $500 a pop. Its probably cheaper to operate in the states actually, but that is down to the British setup. Bands that dont have a sponsor have to sub the whole venture themselves. In this climate, people can sub less, so bands can do less, this ultimately puts the greatest strain on everything. People just dont have the money to do what needs to be done at the mo….and constantly coming last isnt a great return for your money

  7. Thank you for the input. Although at $500 bucks for a coach, it still seems that fundraising isn’t taken seriously as back here, or it’s harder to fundraise due to the economic climate. It’s hard to travel using only the occasional bake sale. Guess that’s why we all have to travel there, and the worlds continues to be held in Glasgow. I know during the season here each member can figure to have to shell out around $4-500 personally in gas, hotels, and food for about 5 competitions.

  8. I think you will find civilian bands in the UK work just as hard at fundraising and sustaining their existence as bands in any other part of the world. The unique issue with Tayside and some of the other Scottish police pipe bands (NB. Strathclyde and Lothian & Borders) is they were originally formed as police pipe bands, not civilian pipe bands sponsored by the police. If funding is withdrawn completely as is the case here, it would indeed be financially unviable and also inappropriate for the band to continue. In essence, a police force pulling funding from a ‘police band’ is completely different to a corporate sponsor pulling their sponsorship from a civilian band. That said, there’s nothing to stop the group from remaining together and reforming a new civilian band if there is a desire to do so. It’s a real shame to see this happen to the Tayside Police band and I wish them all the best in the future. I hope this does not signify the intent of other Scottish forces, who have been all too quick to replicate one anothers’ decision making in terms of ‘financial prudence’ in recent months.

  9. @piperjde – if you’re going to start looking at that sort of logistic then here’s a simple concept. USA Gas costs approx $2.50 a Gallon. Let’s convert that to the UK where Gas costs approx $9.00 per GALLON. I spend approx £70 / $110 PER WEEK just going to practices never mind contests at the weekend. I now play in a lower grade band to suit my work / family balance and I was amazed that with no sponsor this band actually managed to fund raise approx £20,000 / $31,000 just to keep the band on the road with uniforms and going to contests. Last weekend bus and ferry to Rothesay £500 / $775, 1st place prize money £170 / $260. Cowal this weekend even more. European Championships in Belfast Fri / Sun total cost just under £6000 / $9,200 incl coach for weekend, ferry and hotel, there’s just 3 of the 13 contests we will do this season. So yes, we do need to raise the money as well over here. Just my $0.02 worth

  10. This is an honest question…I’m not trying to be funny here, but, why do the the UK bands HAVE to have coaches? Is it because a place is needed to get away from the weather? Why not just use personal transportation? In NA, buses are a luxury as opposed to a necessity. Just curious….

  11. Well figured out to summerdrummers math and taking a modest 20 miles to the gallon car. he’s essentially traveling 240 miles a week to and from practice. (dedicated for sure). Lets say you have 30 people in you band and they all drive seperately to a games 120 miles away, it would be more cost effective to get the coach for under 1k than to have everyone paying $110 bucks individually.

  12. @Hendys – yes came in around £6000. We booked hotels 10 months in advance and got 25 twin / double rooms for £80 per room per night = £2000. Ferry, we took the slow boat with a late Friday and early Sunday (never again) at a cost of £1800 return and our coach cost us £1900 for the weekend. Add in some of the misc expenses like the secure bus parking, drivers rooms and costs and we were about £6500 all in.

  13. @piperjde – yeah that’s about it. Imagine Florida having a couple of hundred bands competing across all 8 Grades suddenly fund raising is so much more difficult. Also I am sure (spending a lot of time in the USA) that all the ex-pats / descendants of ex-pats with Scottish blood love helping out, where as here that doesn’t really work.

  14. @ Bagpipermann – Yeah I’ve also asked myself the same thing. The only argument I’ve heard from my new band is that playing in the lower grades we have a lot of kids / with parents and keeping the band together for the day is difficult. The bus gives everyone a central location to meet / store items etc. The experience of taking cars is less people make a day of it and a very sparse band makes the marchpast at the end of the day. We also make 4 pickups to accomodate our players. So, not sure I understand, when I played in the higher grades I used my car more, but it appears to be a more logistical issue. That’s the only argument I can add. The one thing I can add, is the on trophy days the trips home on the bus are great versus taking the car and getting a cold beer hours afterwards alone and at home.

  15. You HAVE to have coaches because its cheaper than multiple cars. One standard uk coach – 53 seats – approx $500. For 30 people even, thats 6 cars and a full tank of fuel in each which is nearer $600. thats why we use coaches and not cars…its a case of a rock or a hard place

  16. This smacks of a kop out from the members, pure and simple. I’m fed up hearing of Police bands moaning about financial support. Wake up and smell the coffee guys, you have been spoiled for far too long. Why should I pay fees and fundraise for my own band and then pay taxes to keep your band going so you don’t have to do all the engagements and fundraising that we have to. I’m all for the police supporting their bands in terms of allowing staff to practice on shift, that is a perk I can handle. However, it’s about time they started getting their own funding instead of Mr and Mrs Taxpayer subsidising them.



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