October 31, 2003

(Updated) Week-Long ?220,000 Glasgow Piping Festival To Be Announced

The Glasgow City Council and the National Piping Centre are planning to announce the Glasgow International Piping Festival, a one-week festival of piping and drumming during the week leading up to the World Pipe Band Championships next year. Sources report that the budget for the festival will be £220,000.

According to National Piping Centre principal Roddy MacLeod, the festival is completely separate from the World Pipe Band Championships and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

“The world championships and the Festival proposal are seperate ventures in terms of funding,” MacLeod said. “No doubt the bands will help in a big way to make a success of it and the championships would bring the festivities to a suitable close, but there will hopefully be artists from throughout Europe and beyond who will make it a success too. Given Scotland’s piping tradition surely we can expect Scotland to host a similar type of festival that is not entirely centred around pipe bands.”

First prize for the winning Grade 1 band at the 2003 World Championships was approximately £400, and there is no word yet as to whether prize monies will be increased or if travel allowances will be offered for the first time. The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association did not respond to inquiries from Piper & Drummer Online.

A Pipe-Major of a prominent Grade 1 band, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “I welcome any expansion of the event so long as the bands benefit. This would need to be not only in improved prize or travel money, but also an improved competition format, such as a two-day event.”

The festival will comprise parades, parties, instruction, and concerts. Last year’s competition is thought to have injected some £2 million into Glasgow’s economy. The event will not be limited to Highland piping, with the Lowland & Borders Pipers Society also taking part.

According to a Glasgow City Council document obtained by Piper & Drummer Online, monies are not clearly designated for prizes or the bands in general. They are to be distributed:

  • Marketing and PR: £73,000
  • Event costs: £103,000
  • Office costs: £10,000
  • Evaluation: £4,000
  • Contingency: £5,000

    North American, Australian and New Zealand bands routinely invest over $30,000 to attend the World Championships. Simon Fraser University of Vancouver and the 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto, both of which have attended the World’s since 1983, have collectively spent almost $2 million in their pursuits of the world title.

    The Western Australia Police Pipe Band, which failed to qualify for the World’s Grade 1 final, is said to have invested £300 for each second of the band’s March, Strathspey & Reel performance in the qualifier round.


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