May 17, 2024

Bands ready to shine at UK Championships in Northern Ireland

The May 18th weather forecast for the first major competition of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s 2024 season looks promising. Bangor, Northern Ireland, is predicted to have sunshine and a high of 19°C.

Ten Grade 1 bands, the full complement from the UK and Ireland, will compete at Ward Park in the top event, which calls for two medleys to be submitted. Most bands will have at least one all-new selection at the ready, with most potentially airing it for the first time.

  • Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
  • Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
  • Inveraray & District Stuart (Scotland)
  • Johnstone (Scotland)
  • Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
  • Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
  • Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
  • ScottishPower (Scotland)
  • Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
  • St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)

The judges are John Reville, Jim Semple (piping); Keith Orr (drumming); and Jim Baxter (ensemble).

The UK Championships are only six days after the Gourock Highland Games. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia took the top prize despite being the only band to compete in the torrential and dangerous lightning/thunderstorm that hit the games, causing the march-past ceremony to be cancelled.

Ward Park in Bangor, Northern Ireland, on a sunny summer day.

Six days is a short time to restore a delicate bagpipe soaked by rain, especially an instrument with a natural pipe bag. The European Championships at Perth, Scotland, on August 11th are only five days before the World Championships in Glasgow, reportedly playing into the decisions of the 78th Fraser Highlanders and Simon Fraser University to skip the European.

Only 11 Grade 2 bands are entered for the UK Championships, which calls for an MSR:

  • City of Edinburgh (Scotland)
  • Coalburn IOR (Scotland)
  • Glasgow Skye Association (Scotland)
  • Kilchoman Distillery Isle of Islay (Scotland)
  • Manorcunningham (Ireland)
  • Portlethen & District (Scotland)
  • Ravara (Northern Ireland)
  • Royal Burgh of Annan (Scotland)
  • St. Joseph’s (Ireland)
  • Tullylagan (Northern Ireland)
  • Uddingston (Scotland)

The judges are Mark Faloon, Colin Moffett (piping); Adrian Hoy (drumming); and Tom Brown (ensemble).

The UK Championships were secured largely due to the effort of the RSPBA’s Northern Ireland Branch, which is also playing a lead role in the marketing and running of the event

Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia are the reigning UK Champions.

pipes|drums is a sponsor, taking a half-page ad in the program.

Stay tuned for results from the UK Championships as they are made available.






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