Foothills games cancels due to finances
The challenges involved with putting on Highland games and piping and drumming competitions continue, as the Foothills Highland Games at High River, Alberta, Canada, announced that the July 28th event, which would have been the ninth annual, has been cancelled.
Sources close to the competition said that financial challenges are the primary reason for the decision to cancel, and a statement from organizers said that they hope to hold the event again in 2018. The contest is in Okotoks, about 30 minutes south of the city of Calgary.
Sustaining traditional Highland games has become increasingly difficult, with dozens of long-held contests dying out in piping and drumming-rich areas over the last 20 years, as they struggle to compete against with more and more options available to the paying public.
Populations of first- and second-generation immigrant Scots, who were avid attendees of Highland games in commonwealth countries and the United States, have also apparently declined, and other ethnic festivals have become popular in many urban centres.
Late last year, the Canmore Highland Games, also in Alberta, announced its cancellation due to financial issues, but was able to resurrect itself for another year when new backers came forward.
In the last 20 years in the Ontario circuit alone, significant competitions at Chatham, Fort Erie, Sarnia, and Oshawa have fallen by the wayside, and even Scotland has seen traditional Highland games cancelled. Many games are reportedly a rainy day away from insolvency.
In Scotland, pipe band competitions have increasingly moved away from small Highland games, with bands focusing on the five major pipe band championships, which often have few or none of the other typical Highland games events.
Highland games around the world continue to be the primary venues for pipe band and solo piping and drumming competitions.