Published: July 31, 2012

World Championships Grade 1 contest a lot less worldly in 2012

For the first time in more than 20 years, not a single band from either Australia or New Zealand will compete in Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships, meaning the contest will be limited to bands from either Europe or North America.

The reasons for the non-attendance are many, and certainly the global economy and the fact that antipodean bands have to shell out upwards of $100,000 to get to Scotland to play a three-and-a-half-minute march, strathspey & reel with the hope of qualifying for the Grade 1 Final. But more likely it’s the fact that the RSPBA will be changing the format of the World’s, moving to a two-day event in 2013.

The ultimate format of the two-day contest is not known, but it is expected that all Grade 1 bands will have to qualify, and the league table system, in which bands accrued points at the first three RSPBA championships, will be abandoned.

“It only makes sense that non-UK Grade 1 bands give this year’s World’s a miss,” said one member of a Grade 1 band that has chosen not to attend the 2012 contest. “The whole format is going to be different next year so, if there were ever a year to save some money, it’s this year.”

Since the Victoria Police of Melbourne captured the World title in 1998, bands from Australia and New Zealand have returned regularly to the World Championships. Some, like the Canterbury Caledonian, Manawatu Scottish and the PipeBand Club, have attended the event at least every other year, and often qualified for the Grade 1 Final.

Auckland & District, 2010 ┬áNew Zealand Champions, had planned to make the trip to the 2012 World’s, but cancelled when Pipe-Major Martin Frewen learned that he and his wife were expecting their first child exactly at that time.

The 2012 World Pipe Band Championships will be held at Glasgow Green, Glasgow, on Saturday, August 11th.

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