Glenfiddich going pay-per-view online
The 2020 Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship will take place on October 31st, with competitors playing behind closed doors to an audience of only judges, stewards and video people, their performances available live in a pay-per-view format.
The competition has always been held before a large paying audience in the Great Hall at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Scotland. In the last several years the event has been made available for free on the Internet by live-stream.
But who will be invited? Normally, the 10 contestants are chosen based on who wins designated competitions, such as the Highland Society of London Gold Medals at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, the Clasp at Inverness, the Bratach Gorm in London and other marquee events.
Organizers have not yet determined criteria for invitees this year, apart from almost certainly Finlay Johnston, winner of the 2019 Glenfiddich; 2019 Bratach Gorm and overall London Champion winner Callum Beaumont – the only qualifying contests that had taken place before the coronavirus crisis shut down competitions.
While Johnston won the aggregate prize at the 2019 Glenfiddich, Glenn Brown was the winner of the Piobaireachd and Connor Sinclair took the MSR, so each could well gain an invitation. The Argyllshire Gathering recently announced that it will stage one of its top 2020 events in some online form, though details have not been announced.
“The event will take place as usual at Blair Castle, however in light of the current pandemic, the event will not have an in-person audience this year and there will be no pipers’ ceilidh,” the competition said in a statement. “The team have been working behind the scenes to provide an enhanced and reliable viewing experience for the events, so people will be able to watch an uninterrupted day of piping.”
The 2020 event will be the 47th annual running of the contest, generally regarded as the de facto World Championship of solo piping.
The competition has been sponsored since its beginning by William Grant & Sons, makers of the Glenfiddich brand of single malt whiskies. The event is now presented by the William Grant Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization.
2019 Bratach Gorm goes to Callum Beaumont
November 2, 2019