World’s and apathy kill off Crieff solo piping
The solo piping competitions at the Crieff Highland Games in Crieff, Scotland, have been held since the 1880s, but gradual erosion of attendance due to the traditional date coinciding with the World Pipe Band Championships and waning interest by Scotland’s solo pipers in competing at “small” events have resulted in the organizers pulling the plug on the events.
Crieff Vice-Chairman Ian Stewart said in a statement to the Competing Pipers Association, “The number of both participants and spectators at Crieff Games piping competitions has dwindled over the past few years. We believe that this is down to the World Pipe Band Championships now taking place over two days on the same weekend.”
Stewart said that his event had “little or no support from the RSPBA,” and despite trying to make changes to garner more interest from pipers, they determined the events were “financially sustainable.”
He added that, if the World’s were to change dates in the future, Crieff Games might bring back solo piping.
The Competing Pipers Association told its members, “This serves as a further warning that if we competing pipers do not support the games, the organisers will simply cancel piping events due to lack of interest.”
While the World Pipe Band Championships are enjoyed by thousands of pipers and drummers and have been a financial boon to City of Glasgow, the negative ancillary impact of the World’s has been felt around Scotland and most of the rest of the piping and drumming world. Bands have focused on the World’s and other major championships, often avoiding perceived pitfalls of competing at smaller games in Scotland due to perceived questionable results. In non-UK piping and drumming countries, bands have limited travel budgets to more regional events so that they can compete at the World’s, often resulting in lower attenadance at smaller Highland games.