RSPBA raises band membership fees by 5% ‘in order that we can continue to function as an organization’
Explaining that “the Association will need to cover the costs it will incur as it undertakes administration and financial tasks as well as preparing the various schedules and allocations for next seasons Competitions (both Major and Minor),” the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has increased registration fees for bands by 5%.
Bands that paid their full 2021 and 2022 fees, as promised, will receive a 50% rebate on the new 2023 amount.
Despite no competitions being held for the second straight year in 2021, the association reportedly persuaded about a third of existing member bands to renew their registration for the good of the organization.
The 2023 registration fee for a band based in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England or Wales is £220 plus tax. A UK-based Juvenile band will have to pay £200 plus tax.
The 5% levy also applies to “Non-UK” bands, which have to join the RSPBA to compete in association-sanctioned events, most prevalently the World Championships.
The non-UK rate is half that for UK-based bands: £110 and £100.
(For the bands that paid up for both 2020 and 2021, those rates would be halved.)
The RSPBA is the only pipe band association in the world that does not honour memberships with other recognized association. Thus, for example, a band based in the United States that is a member of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association and wants to compete at the World Championships would have to pay US$200 to join its home EUSPBA, plus another US$245 to join the RSPBA, for a total of US$445.
Other associations, like the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, do not have a one-time band membership fee, and instead require all competing members to be paid-up individually, which also enables them to compete in solo competitions.
A renewing individual membership with the PPBSO is CAD$60, so an Ontario-based band of 25 members would collectively pay CAD$1,500 to enable them to compete everywhere except the UK. If they competed at the World’s, they would pay a total of CAD$1,837.
And those amounts don’t include entry fees for each competition.
“There will be no change to our dues structure whatsoever. We are in a very strong financial position and do not see any reason to change anything at this time.” – EUSPBA President Jim Dillahey
When asked if the EUSPBA also plans to increase its fees, President Jim Dillahey said, “Absolutely not. There will be no change to our dues structure whatsoever. We are in a very strong financial position and do not see any reason to change anything at this time. The Executive Committee is very proud of how we have managed the EUSPBA’s finances over the past few years, but especially during the pandemic. We have come out of it stronger than when we went in even with rolling over dues for bands.”
When asked the same question, President Jim Sim of the Midwest Pipe Band Association said, “No, we do not have that in our plans.”
The RSPBA continued in its statement, saying: “We hope that you understand the need to support your Association through the payment of these Band Registration Fees in order that we can continue to function as an organization as well as support and administer the membership of the bands and our volunteers as we prepare to run the Major Championships in 2023 and beyond.”
The RSPBA spent more than £1-million on a controversial renovation of its Victorian era Glasgow headquarters following a substantial fire in 2017. The organization funded the work through various loans and grants, in addition to using most of its capital fund, looking to revenues from future championship licensing agreements and registrations to help restore the money.
The unexpected onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of all RSPBA-run pipe band contests in 2020 and 2021, and revenues from sanctioned events only restarted with the 2022 season.