Super Saturday on tap with Scottish and North American championships running on each side of Atlantic
Next to the World Pipe Band Championships, Saturday, July 30th, is probably the biggest date of the year, with the Scottish Pipe Band Championships and the North American Championships at Dumbarton, Scotland, and Maxville, Ontario, taking place.
The Scottish Championships at Levingrove Park are the fourth of the five majors run by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. As with the previous three majors, 10 bands are entered for the Grade 1 MSR contest, while 15 are in for the Grade 2 medley. Inveraray & District will defend the title as the winners of the 2019 contest, the last time the Scottish was held.
Inveraray & District won both the British and European Championships, while Field Marshal Montgomery took the UK Championship. It will be the final contest before the World’s on August 12-13 for most Grade 1 bands based in the UK and Ireland.
In Grade 2, Ravara of Northern Ireland won the grade at both the British and UK championships, while Scotland’s Royal Burgh of Annan took the European.
The forecast for Dumbarton on Saturday is for a high of 19°C, mainly overcast with intermittent showers.
Meanwhile, some 3,000 miles away, the North American Championships will take place for bands and soloists at the Glengarry Highland Games at Maxville. The 78th Fraser Highlanders of Ontario and the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) of Nova Scotia will vie for the title, while Grade 2 will expand to six contestants, though total band entries are down in the lower grades compared with pre-pandemic numbers.
There is a full slate of solo competitions over the weekend. Most prominent are the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) events on Friday, which will see 12 of North America’s top solo pipers compete for Gold Medal and five in the Bar to the Medal for previous winners.
The Gold Medal competitions this year secured a new sponsorship from GFL Environmental, enabling it to maintain the prize purse of more than $6,000 first set in 2019. The competition had been faced with a reduced 2022 sponsorship after the Clan Donald Land Trust had to make cutbacks due to the pandemic. The first-prize-winner in the Bar receives $3,000.
The reigning North American Champions are City of Dunedin of Dunedin, Florida. The band won the title 2019, the last time the event was held, informed of their success an hour or so after the 78th Fraser Highlanders were announced the winners and had marched off the massed bands field. City of Dunedin elected to focus on the World Pipe Band Championships, making it unrealistic for the band to travel to Ontario.
The tiny farming town of Maxville swells from about 900 residents to accommodate crowds often exceeding 30,000, making the games by far the largest in North American both by number of competition events and crowd size. Weather is forecast to be as good as could be hoped for, sunny with a high of around 25°C.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from these events as they are made available.