Is the World’s killing the pipe band world? Part 2
The world’s pipers and drummers’ fixation on the World’s is not by any means the RSPBA’s fault. The RSPBA can’t be blamed for reaping the rewards of their popular event, but they should understand the trickle-down negative effects that it has on piping and drumming worldwide. While they have taken advantage of the ever increasing interest in the competition, it is the will and drive of non-UK bands that have resulted in today’s macro problems.
While the World’s thrives, much of the rest of the pipe band world, it must be said, is suffering by degrees. As it happens, the erosion is only barely detectable, but in more mature pipe band areas like Ontario the ground is noticeably shaky. It may feel like problems have occurred overnight, but in truth they started back in the 1960s and progressed with an unhealthy obsession with – even an addiction to – the World Pipe Band Championships.
Ultimately the response from the RSPBA and others could well be, “If you don’t like it, don’t go.” But the reality is that everyone likes the World’s. It’s a great event, and, with a few alterations could be just as good while at the same time looking out for “the promotion and development of pipe band music internationally” – the essential mandate of the organization.
It’s up to everyone to learn from success and failures, for the pipe band “world” to respect and appreciate the pressures it has placed upon itself and understand that what we do is no longer a safe, ethnic product, but a thriving art form that needs to take a bold new approach.
While almost 50 years ago Clan MacFarlane, City of Toronto and Worcester Kiltie sought a new challenge when they ventured to the World Pipe Band Championships, little did they know that it may have started a new era that would come to where it is today.
For the long-term good of world piping and drumming, the next much needed golden age of pipe bands must now begin.
Editor’s note: Bill Livingstone commented to pipes|drums on September 23, 2010, following his departure from the 78th Fraser Highlanders and four months before joining the Toronto Police Pipe Band.