Kingston festival concerned with low entry
The Kingston Scottish Festival in Kingston, Ontario, is now traditionally the first outdoor contest of the year in the province, seeing a solid entry of bands and soloists of the event’s 15-year history, but the entries for the 2017 rendition of the competition are so far disconcertingly down, with less than a month to go.
The May 27th festival is hoping that more bands and soloists enter. So far only 10 bands have entered, and organizers can only speculate as to the causes. The contest has seen a steady decline from the 23 bands that entered in 2012.
Last year, the Kingston Scottish Festival was turned down for sanctioning by the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, meaning that the event would not be run officially by the society, and that PPBSO-member competitors would not accrue points towards their overall “Champion Supreme” tally. The non-sanctioned status remains.
Compounding the problem could be that the United States Pipe Band Championships at Alma, Michigan, are being held on the same weekend, although Alma is an eight-hour drive from Kingston.
To spark more interest, organizers will hold a silent auction of collectible pipe band neckties at the Kingston festival. “The Piper’s Tie Trust” so far has about 30 band ties to go up for auction, some highly sought-after by pipe band memorabilia aficionados. Proceeds from the auction will go to the St. John’s College Pipe Band of Zimbabwe. The ties were donated from the closets of various pipe band members.
The lower-attendance problem appears to be more pronounced this year. The North American Championships at the Glengarry Highland Games at Maxville, Ontario, are looking at a one-band Grade 1 event, and non-championship contests in Scotland, like the West Lothian Highland Games in Bathgate, are suffering from reduced entries. Fewer than 20 bands across four grades are entered for the Bathgate competition.
On the other hand, the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow appears to be anticipating a record entry from bands around the world.
Entries to the Kingston Scottish Festival close on May 12th.