Effects of pandemic clear with only 145 bands entered for 2022 World Championships
The two-year impact of the global pandemic has come into stark reality with only 145 bands entered across all grades at the 2022 World Pipe Band Championships to be held at Glasgow Green, Glasgow, August 12-13.
With relatively few bands based outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland entered, and an overall decline in groups that are still operating, the total number of contestants is down from the 193 that competed at the last World’s in 2019 – a 25% decline.
As pipes|drums first predicted in January 2022, 14 bands are entered in Grade 1, with only Canada’s 78th Fraser Highlanders and Simon Fraser University and City of Dunedin and St. Thomas Alumni from the United States not from the UK. The previous four RSPBA championships are seeing 10 competing in the top grade.
All 14 Grade 1 bands will have to play four times each, with both Medley and MSR competitions on each day. Bands will choose what they play each time. There are separate draws for Friday and Saturday, but each draw remains the same for each day’s events:
- 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
- Simon Fraser University (Canada)
- Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
- Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
- City of Dunedin (USA)
- ScottishPower (Scotland)
- Inveraray & District (Scotland)
- St. Thomas Alumni (USA)
- Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
- Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
- Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
- Johnstone (Scotland)
- Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
- St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)
- Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
- 78th Fraser Highlanders
- Police Scotland Fife
- Police Scotland & Federation
- City of Dunedin
- Field Marshal Montgomery
- St. Laurence O’Toole
- Inveraray & District
- Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- St. Thomas Alumni
- Simon Fraser University
In general, bands prefer to play closer to the end of the event so, by that token, the 78th Fraser Highlanders had the worst luck of the draw, having to play first and second on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Reigning World Champions Inveraray & District are drawn around the middle of the pack each day, seventh and ninth, while perennial contenders Field Marshal Montgomery are drawn tenth and seventh and St. Laurence O’Toole get the final spot on Friday and eighth on Saturday.
Simon Fraser University will play second on Friday, but can look forward to wrapping up the Saturday in the final spot.
City of Dunedin, Closkelt and St. Thomas Alumni will make their Grade 1 world’s debuts.
The Friday will comprise only the Grade 1 competitions. BBC Scotland has confirmed that it will live-stream the Friday competitions, but has not officially said that the Saturday Grade 1 events will be broadcast live on the internet.
Grade 2 expands to 19 bands, with the Los Angeles Scots, North Stratton (Canada), and the Peel Regional Police (Canada) making the trip. The LA Scots are drawn to play first.
With only Grade 4B exceeding the 22-band threshold, it will be the only grade run in heats to determine a 12-band final, as per RSPBA rules.
If pandemic conditions permit, the 2023 World’s promises to see many more non-UK and Ireland bands, with many saying they hope to make the trip from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and continental Europe.