June 12, 2024

New European Knockout Competition taking shape for March 22 in Germany

The new European Knockout Bagpipe Competition, with the tagline “Bringing Europe’s Best Pipers Together,” is scheduled for March 22, 2025, at a location to be determined in Germany.

According to piping impresario Eric Stein, who’s organizing the new event, the European Knockout Bagpipe Competition is being modelled after the Eurovision Song Contest, “to celebrate the rich and diverse bagpipe traditions of different European countries while fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie within the bagpiping community.”

Stein has engaged the help of Pipe-Major Jimmy Banks, who organizes the Scots Guards Knockout Competition in Scotland. Each participating country in continental Europe will organize local knockout competitions to determine a representative for their country to compete for the title of European Knockout Champion.

Participating countries are free to devise their own system to determine their rep, whether through a series of knockout events or a one-time contest. The judging system will be similar to the Eurovision Song Contest, with each country having a judge either in person or via a live stream. The winning country will then host the following year’s final so that the competition moves around Europe, “further enhancing cultural exchange and unity.”

Stein said he is in the process of finding organizers in various countries for the national qualifying events.

According to Eric Stein, the project has three essential objectives:

  • Promote Bagpipe Music: Highlight bagpipe music’s cultural significance and diversity across Europe.
  • Foster Unity: Create a platform that brings together bagpipers from different countries, fostering a sense of European unity and collaboration.
  • Support Emerging Talent: Provide a stage for new and emerging bagpipe talent to showcase their skills and gain recognition.

He is also in the process of securing sponsors for each of the events and the final.

Originally from the Metropolitan New York area, Eric Stein now lives in Florida and organized the annual Metro Cup Solo Piping Competition in Newark, New Jersey, for many years. He launched the Sun Belt Invitational in Florida in 2022, and then started the Ardmore Cup in Ireland in 2023.

While Highland piping is strongly associated and established with Scotland, the rest of the UK and Ireland, Commonwealth UK countries and the United States, the art has a significant presence in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Italy, and most Asian nations. South American countries like Brazil are also rapidly embracing quality piping and drumming.

“Together, let’s make the European Knockout Bagpipe Competition a landmark event in the world of bagpiping,” Stein wrote in a promotional piece for prospective sponsors and event organizers..






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