For many bands, tens of thousands of dollars hang in the balance as they await word of the random draw for order-of-play at the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships.
Playing early in a larger competition is almost always a disadvantage, and playing before 10 am in the notoriously unpredictable Glasgow weather can mean the difference between final glory and a whole lot of money and effort swirling down the toilet.
The all-important draw takes place on Wednesday, July 9th, at the RSPBA’s headquarters at 45 Washington Street in Glasgow.
At the 2013 World Championships, the morning of the first day of competition saw cold, torrential, often humiliating, rain pelt bands that had to play between 9 am and 11 am, while bands in the afternoon performed under clear, sunny and warm conditions. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, Toronto Police and Simon Fraser University were some of the worst-hit, some players having a difficult time simply keeping their balance against the wind, much less finishing the performance.
But an early draw isn’t necessarily all doom. If a lesser-established band is surrounded by favourites in the order-of-play, it can be an opportunity to compare favourably and get a bump up with the judges. And if stronger bands are grouped together, playing early becomes relatively moot.
This year’s World Championships are on Friday, August 15th, and Saturday, August 16th. It will be the first time that the event has been held on a weekday. In Grade 1, 2013 World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery, after winning seven consecutive RSPBA major titles, suddenly look vulnerable following recent losses at the hands of Inveraray & District, ScottishPower and St. Laurence O’Toole at the European Championships on June 28th in Forres, Scotland, and St. Laurence O’Toole at the All-Ireland Championships at New Ross, Ireland, on July 5th.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for analysis of and commentary on the order-of-play for the prominent grades in the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships.