February 12, 2024

Championships on for May 18 in Bangor, NI; Forres June 8th

After pulling out all stops to rebuild what had only a few months ago threatened to be a two-championship 2024 competition season, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will stage major championships in Bangor, Northern Ireland, on May 18th, and Forres, Scotland, on June 8th.

Bangor takes the place of Lurgan, also in Northern Ireland. Lurgan had held the UK Championships for several years until Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council opted out after 2023.

Forres, near Inverness in Scotland’s north, welcomes back the RSPBA after hosting the European Championships for several years before Inverness took over in 2022 after the pandemic caused a two-year hiatus for all RSPBA events.

Details of the deals are not yet known. The news comes only two weeks after the association announced the European Championships would be held in Perth, Scotland, on August 11th, the week before the World Championships in Glasgow.

“It’s really positive that the RSPBA have been able to announce that there will be five majors in 2024.” – Richard Parkes

“It’s really positive that the RSPBA have been able to announce that there will be five majors in 2024, after the disappointment of the loss of the British Championships in 2023,” said Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes. “Logistics will be difficult for everyone at this late stage, but good to be able to plan for a full season.”

According to several reports, rumours of the event in Bangor, near Belfast, were rampant, and bands already have had difficulty sourcing accommodation in the area.

News of the European was welcomed by the pipe band world, particularly non-UK bands that had already planned to attend the World’s, enabling them to take in two majors during their trip.

The RSPBA had warned in December that a worst-case scenario of only two championships might be the reality in 2024, but the organization pulled off an impressive turn-around. Chair Kevin Reilly and the late Vice-President John Hughes reportedly spearheaded the efforts to find new championship sponsors, including “over 100 contacts that included Councils, private entities and individuals” around the UK.

The association’s management had been under intense pressure to add to the World’s and Scottish Championships, and over the last two months far exceeded expectations, actually improving on its 2023 season when only four of five majors took place.

To do so during a period that saw Hughes’s sudden passing and Chief Executive Colin Mulhern’s resignation in an increasingly challenging UK economy will almost certainly be seen as an impressive feat of negotiation and business skill.






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