The final result of the Grade 2 competition at the 2012 World Pipe Band Championships is reportedly under appeal by at least four bands due to Bagad Brieg of Brittany playing six seconds over the maximum allowed time in the medley qualifying competition which, according to sources, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has acknowledged was known before the band went through to the Grade 2 Final.
Bagad Brieg went on to place third in the Grade 2 Final, which was also a medley competition. The band played the same selection, but slightly faster, putting the performance just under six minutes. The RSPBA time requirement for a competition medley in Grade 2 is between four and six minutes.
Bagad Brieg was placed first in drumming in the Final, edging out overall winners Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles for the prize. Lomond & Clyde finished seventh overall in the Grade 2 Final.
The Portland Metro Pipe Band of Portland, Oregon, finished seventh in the Grade 2 qualifying heat in which Bagad Brieg competed, and because Bagad Brieg were not disqualified did not go through to the Grade 2 Final.
According to two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, the RSPBA has been contacted by no fewer than four Grade 2 bands, each of which have appealed the decision to allow Bagad Brieg to compete in the Final. One source said that the RSPBA justification for Brieg going through was that playing over time gave them “no musical advantage.”
“Timing is normally very strict at championships,” said one RSPBA insider who spoke on condition that his name not be used. “It’s the job of the National Councilor (now director) on duty in that arena. In the past bands have been disqualified for being a second or two over time. One famous incident was a major at Allness where a handful of novice bands were disqualified by the National Councilor on duty that day, which caused a big rumpus because it was kids.”
Bagad Brieg were allegedly told by RSPBA officials after the qualifier that they had exceeded the six-minute maximum by six seconds, but it was decided to let the results be tallied and then deal with it later.
Recordings of Bagad Brieg in the Grade 2 qualifier show the performance lasting six minutes and six seconds, and five minutes 58 seconds in the Final.
The RSPBA normally will respond to complaints made in writing. It is not known if any bands have appealed in writing.
At publication time, RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton had not responded to a message left asking for comment on the matter.
After the 2012 European Pipe Band Championships, the RSPBA took away the first-prize originally awarded to the Killeen Pipe Band in Grade 3B after the band voluntarily returned the trophy and prize money when it was discovered they played with seven pipers, one less than the minimum required for the grade at a major championship.