Published: May 29, 2019

Opinion: Clean Break – a call for change – Part 2



Introduction of a pay-per-view live-streaming platform to assist in financing WPBA overheads.


The WPBA Tour Championship stops the rapid decline of the global pipe band movement that facilitates recovery, development and growth into a global brand that embraces year-round participation and encourages travel opportunities under a unified global brand that is commercially attractive to sponsors, advertisers and media streaming opportunities. Most importantly, pipe bands become stronger through stricter registration and transfer policies, and are incentivized to grow their own talent base through local player development strategies.

The problems that are blighting our game today are not insurmountable as long as everyone can admit things need to change. Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on as association officials, players, family, enthusiasts or trade, we all want the same thing, and that is for pipe bands to continue to have a sustainable competitive platform that enables the art form to prosper.

The problems that are blighting our game today are not insurmountable
as long as everyone can admit things need to change.

If we share that common goal as a foundation, then collectively, we should have the wherewithal as human beings to work together rather than against one another to protect what we have left, turn the state of decline around, and build a legacy that is bigger, bolder and better for the future generations of piping and drumming that we can be proud of. It’s a win-win situation for everyone with nothing to lose and everything to gain for pipe bands.

The alternative? I don’t think we have one.

Scott Currie is a four-time World Pipe Band Championship-winning drummer now retired following a 30-year competitive career between 1987 and 2016.

What are your thoughts? Only with constructive dialog can improvements be made. We invite you to use our comments system to provide your own fair opinions.

Is there a topic that you feel passionately about? We welcome your ideas for guest editorials, please contact us.


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  1. The association for many years has needed fresh blood and innovative people so this is not a recent occurrence. I first played in 1975 with Craigmount High and even as a young naive drummer finding my way in the pipe band world it didn’t take me long to understand the association was run by very old unimaginative people (some would say traditionalists) . It must be said these people in the main were volunteers which should be greatly appreciated, however my point here is not about criticising them for all the good work and efforts, but more so on how they were led and the lack of vision even back then on the way forward for the world of pipe bands.

    Going back to Scott’s article I feel that his suggestion is good, however it could lead to the end of pipe bands totally as it could be viewed as elitist if it was not supported below his suggestion. By this I mean the finances required would out weight the possibility of the grass roots bands being able to support such events . The tours Scott talks about are a good model to look at and if we take golf as the main comparator the main Pro tour is supported by regional tours across the world such as in Scotland the “Tartan” Tour. If Scott’s idea could be shaped in to a top tour supported by regional tours across the world it would be something that might allow grass roots bands to flourish and give either bands or players something to aspire towards.

    I think Scott is being very brave in putting his head above the parapet in a world where opinions are rife but ideas are limited, however having played with Scott at Shott’s and knowing he only wants the best for the pipe band world I can see he is trying to start a debate and hopefully a debate where people take the time to read and try to develop something that will continue to allow us to see and hear our finest piping and drumming musicians doing what they do best.

  2. Again the article from Scott is good, worthwhile and has some interesting ideas but i still believe that this does not address two fundamental issues:
    1. How do you promote pipe bands in such a way so to encourage increased participation from young people?
    2. How do you ensure that the numbers of competing pipe bands is increased to foster a better and more meaningful competition?
    Worldwide competitions and a world piping association is an excellent idea but you would want lots of pipe bands to ensure success.
    Can i put a challenge out to Scott as something worth analysing?

    Take a look at at the bands competing this year and take a look back at a similar competition 15, 20 years ago. Note the bands that no longer compete or are basically defunct. My band is one of them by the way.

    Where have those bands and those huge numbers of players gone? Does anyone know, does anyone care? Would it not be worth enquiring about?

    I can tell you that walking around Lurgan last week on a horrible day when sensible people would have stayed home, was unbelievably eye opening and was widely commented on. The amount of people who are walking about in civvies, no longer playing but very obviously quite capable of playing and still with an interest in piping is astonishing
    However i would suggest that because grade 1 with their huge bands and grade 2 with pretentions to be in that same league are so dominant on the scene that it leaves the ordinary Joe feeling that the scene is completely out of his/her depth and no longer reachable so they then just quietly retire. Would it not be worth talking to some of those people to ask them their views on the current pipe band scene? It might make for a very interesting conversation.


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