June 02, 2020

Argyllshire Gathering cancels Thursday games, but piping could still go on

The 2019 march of the pipers to the Thursday Oban Highland Games, part of the two-day Argyllshire Gathering. [Photo Alister Sinclair]
The Argyllshire Gathering appears to have cancelled its outdoor solo piping competitions scheduled for August 27th in Oban, Scotland. The Thursday events are part of the Oban Highland Games, and follow a Wednesday of indoor competitions that include all of the Gathering’s piobaireachd contests and the Former Winners MSR.

But the organizers have left the door open to staging the contests in other forms, as associations and bands have been using online methods to hold solo events.

“Arrangements for the 2020 piping events are the subject of ongoing discussions with the relevant committees,” Argyllshire Gathering piping steward Torquil Telfer said, adding that they hope to make a decision next week.

The Argyllshire Gathering is one of the oldest and most prestigious solo piping competitions, and include the Highland Society of London Gold Medal, the Senior Piobaireachd, and the Silver Medal.

Regarding the cancellation of in-person Oban Games, the organization said in a statement, “Whilst . . . is obviously extremely disappointing, the Stewards are looking at innovative options and ways in which an event could be staged that would involve the whole of the town, as well as [Oban High] school. As matters are constantly evolving, the Stewards are meeting regularly to discuss options, and they hope to make a positive statement in the near future. They will of course be guided by the appropriate advice at the time.”

The Oban Highland Games hold the balance of the light music piping competitions in the background while athletics events, pipe band performances, and Highland dancing take place.

Several sources have said that the Argyllshire Gathering might try to hold at least one of the major piping events online via live-stream.

The Argyllshire Gathering’s sister contest, the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland, several weeks ago announced that its events were cancelled. More recently, the Northern Meeting stated that it would not hold any of its competitions online, saying that “online competition wouldn’t be appropriate for competitions of this level of importance.”

“I have no clue what this means for main events,” one prominent solo piper said on condition on anonymity. “It’s all very unclear. I certainly won’t be entering anything online.”

The Argyllshire Gathering has also registered “” as a domain name, and its website continues to suggest that the piping events will take place.



Northern Meeting not opting for online; Argyllshire Gathering still scheduled
May 23, 2020

No meeting in Inverness, but Oban gathering still a glimmer
April 14, 2020





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