Published: June 04, 2015

Virginia Tattoo contest a go; organization provides more details

The Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk has confirmed that its twentieth anniversary event on April 23, 2016, is set to happen, called “The Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship” held at Scope Plaza in the city’s downtown, and will be open to all Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands that wish to enter.

Prizes are set at US$2,500 for first, US$1,000 second, and US$500 for third in both grades. An Open Drum Fanfare Competition will have a single US$1,000 prize.

pipes|drums originally broke the story two weeks ago with details provided then by those associated with the event and details provided to pipe bands.

Spokesperson Scott Jackson said that judges are yet to be confirmed, but added that “we are actively seeking outstanding judges, from a variety of countries,” and that the event has not yet decided on sanctioning by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association will happen, since it could potentially limit the pool of judges the event could use.

The EUSPBA adheres to policy that all of its sanctioned events use only EUSPBA accredited judges.

“We believe that having the very best possible judges is key to making this a great event for the participating bands,” Jackson said.

The Scope Plaza arena.

Participating bands can apply for travel monies to help defray costs, and the first 10 bands that are confirmed will be awarded the travel grants.

“All Grade 1 and 2 bands are welcomed to participate, and no invitation is required. But I will be personally inviting all of the US and Canadian Grade 1 and 2 bands.”

Jackson said that there will be at least one band coming from the UK, and that entry for bands will first-come, first-served, but that “all Grade 1 and 2 bands that want to participate will be accommodated, but only the first 10 bands that accept will be provided with travel assistance funds,” including any non-North American bands that wish to enter. “No groups will be given preference,” he added.

There are currently nine Grade 1 and more than a dozen Grade 2 bands from North America.

In a prepared news release, EUSPBA President Dan Cole said, “I am thrilled to see a contest like this happening within our borders.” Cole has been working with the organizers since January 2015, and also “assisting with the identification of judges and other efforts to ensure this contest is the premier pipe band event on the 2016 North American calendar.”

The contest will have two panels of four judges in the usual configuration for Medley and MSR events.

The event will be planned as an outdoor competition, but the large arena on the grounds will be used in case of bad weather. April in Norfolk is generally warm and sunny.

Jackson added that “a limited number” of bands will be invited to perform in the tattoo, and those bands will have their accommodations and meals covered, and will have “opportunities for educational outreach and additional publicity.”

He said that Fraser Clark, who commented on the event previously, is not an official organizer of the event, but was asked to help spread the word with various bands.

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