Tickets to the annual Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championships are being made available for purchase online for the first time. Starting at noon GST, Wednesday, July 12th, piping enthusiasts can buy them via the National Piping Centre website.
Originally started in 1974 as the Grant’s Championship, and underwritten by William Grant & Sons, the competition pits the 10 top solo pipers of the year against each other in a two-contest event held in the Great Hall of Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Scotland. The competition is considered the de fact world solo piping championship by many.
In the early 1980s, the competition changed its name to the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championships, underscoring one of Wm. Grant & Sons’ major whisky brands. The sponsorship is now formally by the William Grant Foundation, an arm of the company “established to support communities and good causes in Scotland through charitable grants and donations.”
Contestants gain an invitation through designated qualifying contest, which include the top events at the Northern Meeting, the Argyllshire Gathering, London and the Masters Competition at Piping Live!, as well as the previous winner of the Glenfiddich Championship. Roddy MacLeod won the 2016 competition, and he and Bratach Gorm winner Callum Beaumont are the first to secure a place in the 2017 Glenfiddich Championship.
This year’s Glenfiddich is on October 28th, beginning with the Piobaireachd event at 10 am, and followed by the MSR in the afternoon. The annual Pipers Ceilidh is at night at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, with a limited number of tickets available for purchase along with a competition ticket.
The Great Hall seats about 500 people, and tickets are priced from £12 for children and pensioners for the competition only, to £65 for adults for the competition and the ceilidh.
A limited number of tickets will be available on the day at Blair Castle on a first-come basis.
The competition was the brainchild of the late Seumas MacNeill, who originally worked with William Grant & Sons patriarch Sandy Grant-Gordon to secure sponsorship. Grant-Gordon has been a steadfast supporter of piping for almost 50 years, sponsoring numerous other events throughout the year, including the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering, the Masters Solo Piping Competition, and the Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Piobaireachd Recital Competition.
pipes|drums interviewed Sandy Grant-Gordon in August 2015.