October 31, 2013

(Updated) RSPBA World’s Survey indicates disatisfaction with 2013; points to Friday-Saturday 2014 event

Sixty-two percent of the 226 respondents to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s survey of bands, judges, stewards, administrators and others said that the 2013 World Pipe Band Championships was not a success, according to the spreadsheet of data sent to pipes|drums Magazine by an inside source. A copy of the survey was also obtained from a competing band.

While RSPBA directors, judges, stewards and compilers said that the two-day Saturday-Sunday event at Glasgow Green August 17-18 was a success by an overall margin of more than 2:1 or 63% Yes to 30% No (7% with “no definite answer”), competing pipe bands had a far different take.

Of the 74 pipe bands that competed at the 2013 World’s that responded to the survey, only 18% deemed the event a success, while 73% said that it was not, with the remaining 9% saying it was neither successful nor unsuccessful.

When it comes to whether the event should be held again as a two-day Saturday-Sunday competition, a two-day Friday-Saturday event, or a single-day contest as it was for almost its entire history, overall sentiment from the 188 who answered the question favours a Friday-Saturday competition, with 39% preferring the Friday-Saturday schedule, 31% Saturday-Sunday, 27% a single day, and 3% saying “either.”

But again competitors and non-competitors are split, with a 58% majority of the 74 bands that competed at the 2013 World’s preferring a Friday-Saturday event. Supporters of Saturday-Saturday were next at 30%, Saturday-only 9%, and 3% saying either.

Adjudicators fell roughly in line with the competing bands, with 60% preferring Friday-Saturday, 36% Saturday-Saturday, and 4% Saturday.

For respondents labeled “Other,” who apparently comprise unsolicited messages to the RSPBA or the Glasgow City Council, 35 people lobbied for a Saturday-only competition.

RSPBA directors, compilers and stewards were pretty much 50-50 on whether the World’s should be Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Saturday, with no strong desire for a Saturday-only contest.

Thoughts on playing requirements came back largely satisfied with what was asked for in 2013.

Written comments comprised 27 deemed “negative,” and 13 “positive,” and no obvious trends in either category.

According to a statement from Chief Executive Ian Embelton on the RSPBA’s website, the organization is deliberating on the World’s format for 2014:

“Following the feedback from the 2013 World Pipe Band Championships the RSPBA Board of Directors have met and discussed a new format for the 2014 event. The operational implications will be discussed with the event team in Glasgow next week with details released soon after.

“Our absolute priority is to provide an event which focuses on the needs of over 200 bands from around the world, ensuring the very best in pipe band competition and performance. We have listened to the feedback of the competitors and spectators and responded to ensure we continue to host the premier pipe band competition in the world.”

From the responses to the RSPBA’s survey, dissatisfaction with the 2013 event could be addressed by making the 2014 contest a Friday-Saturday competition, using much the same format as in 2013, and responding to negative comments listed.

“I felt that from a competitive aspect the two day event was a success,” 2013 World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes said. “The playing requirements for all grades were more challenging and the qualification system was fair for all bands. I believe that it?would have been fairer to have had a separate draw for the finals in each case.?The biggest issue for me was the lack of crowds and atmosphere on the Saturday. A lot of this could have been down to the weather but it is concerning and something that will have to be considered when planning for 2014.”

At publication, Embelton had not responded to an invitatioon to elaborate on how his organization would use the data or specific plans for 2014.


  1. the only branch who didnt like the 2 day worlds being on a sunday is the ni branch because off religious beliefs. its the rspba as an whole that runs the comps not just the ni branch.

  2. I am completely and utterly dumbfounded about these results. Speechless in fact. Three quarters of those asked voted that the 2day format failed, yet a similar number voted that it should continue as a 2day event again on either the Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun. If the two day format is a failure why would it be any different on any other combination of days?

  3. The after-party Che2. Otherwise, the positives in the supplied sheet far outweigh the negatives. Complaining about beer tokens and bus parking versus accessibility of tuning areas, fairness and equality amongst Grade 1 bands etc. When weighing the pros and cons, the integrity of the event has improved, which is the most important thing.



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