March 19, 2015

Spring Gatherin’ nixes contests under alleged RSPBA pressure

competition held in Great Britain must be under its rules, judging and sanctioning, which involves a licensing fee. Some bands even are led to believe that it is a legal requirement. But there is no such UK law, or rule or policy in the RSPBA rulebook.

The RSPBA is also the only body to run solo pipe band drumming events, yet more creative endeavours such as the popular “Drumming for Drinks” freeform contest, held in the backdrop of the Piping Live! festival in August, is not known to ever have been interfered with.

With The Spring Gatherin’ caving under alleged RSPBA pressure, the UK band scene that is often yearning for more creative and inventive contest formats, remains beholden to RSPBA-approved MSR and Medley events with only piping, drumming and ensemble judges in a strict regimented format.

RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton was asked to comment on the matter, but to date has not responded to requests to provide the RSPBA’s side to the story.

Wasson added that, “We also heard today [March 19th], because we haven’t changed our web page to reflect the change to showcase for the bands, Ray Hall wants to phone the bands directly and remind them of the rules and the possible sanctions.

“We have already spoken to each of the Bands to tell them of the situation and each Band fully supports our actions and don’t give a hoot about RSPBANI.”

The Spring Gatherin’ is admittedly inspired by the annual Winter Storm event in January in Kansas City, Missouri, where workshops are combined with recitals and competitions. Winter Storm organizers have been complimentary about Wasson’s efforts, and to those compliments Wasson said, “We thank the organizers of Winter Storm for their supportive comments about the Spring Gatherin’ and would reach out to them to sit down and find common ground to improve what we are doing here in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Ireland.”


  1. This could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Roll on a ” Worlds” in the US with real world prize money sans RSPBA involvement.

  2. Call their bluff, have all the bands show up take part in the nonsanctioned event and show that the sky doesn’t fall in. Then hold other competitions on the days of the RSPBA games and show that the RSPBA isn’t all that necessay, it’s the bands and the judges; not the office boys. Take back control of your piping and drumming lives.

  3. Wow! Almost sounds like taxation without representation. How did that work out? It appears that the lords in RSPBA won’t change, but change is coming because the minions are looking to expand what they do and how they do it. This is really sad.

    bob mason



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