With all nine fingers crossed, Inverness and Oban accepting entries
With fingers crossed in the hope that there will be in-person events in late summer 2021, the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting, the world’s most prestigious non-invitation solo piping competitions, are accepting entries from the world’s top players.
Just as there’s no guarantee that the Oban- and Inverness-based competitions will take place, applicants will have their entries reviewed through a rigorous vetting process that begins with each piper’s grading from the Competing Pipers Association. Selections conclude with a “Joint Committee” meeting of representatives from various piping organizations determining who will be accepted to events like the Highland Society of London Gold Medal and Silver Medal events.
When asked if there is a date for deciding whether in-person competitions will happen, organizer Torquil Telfer said, “There is no specific go/no-go date at present. Many aspects will need to be taken into consideration, not least health and safety for all players, audience and officials, and we will strictly follow all government advice. I fully understand the dilemma for all competitors, not least overseas players who have to make travel arrangements and incur significant costs in attending the meetings. Hopefully, the way forward will be clear when the joint committee meets.”
Both events were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exception being the MacGregor Memorial piobaireachd competition run by the Argyllshire Gathering. Reserved for pipers 22 years and younger, the MacGregor was held online, with Campbell Wilson of Christchurch, New Zealand, winning.
Telfer said that if events can’t be held in-person he personally doubts that the senior competitions would take place online. “They would not hold the same value and respect as a live performance, but let’s hope that 2021 will prove to be a successful piping year.”
The two competitions have been held for more than a century. Non-UK pipers typically comprise more than a third of contestants.
Campbell Wilson wins online MacGregor Memorial
August 28, 2020
Eight MacGregor Memorial finalists picked
August 2, 2020
Argyllshire Gathering takes MacGregor Memorial online
June 17, 2020
No meeting in Inverness, but Oban gathering still a glimmer
April 14, 2020