New Zealand’s Manawatu Scottish cancels 2020 World’s trip
While the piping and drumming universe await a decision on whether the 2020 World Pipe Band Championships are cancelled, Palmerston North, New Zealand’s Grade 1 Manawatu Scottish has officially pulled out.
Pipe-Major Stewart McKenzie said that the band hopes to attend the 2021 World’s, but leaving it very much wait-and-see.
“Now is not the time to be planning on going anywhere in the near future,” McKenzie said. “Maintaining the health and well-being of people is the top priority at this time. The financial implications of pandemic were also a factor in our decision to postpone. Many band members face uncertainty in terms of their jobs.”
A trip such as Manawatu’s would cost more than NZ$200,000, according to McKenzie, and for a band that is funded entirely by members and grass-roots initiatives, pulling out five months in advance allows it to recoup deposits before it’s too late.
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has already cancelled its first three major championships, leaving only the Scottish in late July and the World’s August 14-15 as possibly happening.
With now only 17 Grade 1 bands entered for the World’s, if the 2020 event were held the Grade 1 contest would not require a qualifying event. The threshold number of contestants required for a qualifying round is 18.
The association previously announced that the Grade 1 competitions would be staged over two days, without providing an explanation or answering questions. There has been speculation that the RSPBA is contracted by Glasgow Life and/or BBC Scotland to hold a two-day event. Only three of the 8 bands entered said that they preferred a two-day competition in any form.
“The Manawatu Scottish bands are in great spirits after a successful domestic season,” McKenzie added. “We’ll be keeping ourselves busy in the coming months learning new music, and we look forward to returning to the World’s. Our very best wishes to all in the piping and drumming community at this difficult time. Stay safe and look after each other.”
Manawatu last competed at the World’s in 2018, and generally attends the competition every other year or longer due to the prodigious expense. The band recently placed second at the 2020 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships, and won the drumming.
Other far-travelled bands that have confirmed their intention to compete at the 2020 World’s are the 78th Fraser Highlanders of Ontario, City of Dunedin of Florida, Simon Fraser University of Vancouver and St. Thomas Alumni of Houston.