Israel’s Sons of Holyland & District shut out of World Pipe Band Championships
The Grade 4B Sons of Holyland & District won’t be competing at the World Pipe Band Championships in August, allegedly because of an administrative error either by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association of the band itself.
After the draw for all grades at the World’s was revealed on the morning of July 6th, the band saw that it was not listed. After contacting the association, pleading their case, the band was reportedly told that they were welcome to attend the event, but not as competitors.
At publication time, the RSPBA had not responded to a request for comment on the matter.
Bringing a pipe band to Glasgow on the nearly eight-hour 4,000 kilometre journey from Tel Aviv to Glasgow would require substantial planning and financial backing, with flights and accommodation arranged well in advance. Return airfare to Glasgow from Israel in August is approximately $1,800.
A trip to the World Championships, especially for lower-grade bands, often fulfills a life-long ambition after years of planning.
Catastrophic “administrative errors” with pipe band competitions have occurred in the past. In 1991, the World’s entry from the Grade 2 Glengarry Pipe Band of Maxville, Ontario, was claimed to have not been received by the association. The band had paid for their mostly non-refundable flights and accommodation and, similarly, were told that they were welcome to attend the event as non-competitors.
Not counting the Sons of the Holyland & District, 28 Grade 4B bands entered the World Championships, competing in two heats of 14 to determine a 12-band final. The 2022 World’s overall counts 145 bands entered across all grades, a 25% decline in entries from 2022, the last year the event was held due to the global pandemic.
Sons of the Holyland & District would have been one of relatively few non-UK and Ireland bands to compete. They are scheduled to perform at Buchanan Street on August 9th as part of the Piping Live! festival.