May 27, 2022

World’s livestream still up in the air

Six weeks ago, we reported that a decision on the free livestream of the World Pipe Band Championships on August 12-13 in Glasgow was pending, and six weeks later and less than three months until the event, nothing appears to have changed.

BBC Scotland, producers and broadcasters of the internet broadcast, as well as television and radio programs of the World’s, when asked for an update on the status, a spokesperson said, “[BBC] production are still in discussions with Glasgow Life re livestream of [the] World Pipe Band Championships.”

We then asked Glasgow Life where things stand, and a spokesperson said, “It’s going to be for the BBC to announce their plans for broadcast of the World Pipe Band Championships.”

Glasgow Life is the non-profit organization that puts on the World Championships, licensing the event from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. BBC Scotland pays for the rights to broadcast the Glasgow Green competition. Financial terms of both deals are not known.

On May 27th, Glasgow Life made a formal announcement about the event in general but did not include any details about programming.

The BBC has for many decades captured highlights from the World’s for various programs and commercial products, including vinyl recordings in the 1970s and ’80s. The organization delivered the first live-streamed broadcast of the event in the 2000s, initially only for the UK population, which pays for the public broadcasting service through user licenses. The BBC then opened up the internet live-stream to a worldwide audience for free.

BBC Scotland trucks lined up behind the scenes at the World Pipe Band Championships. [Photo pipes|drums]
The Grade 1 competition to decide the 2022 World Champion promises to consist of 14 bands:

  • 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
  • City of Dunedin (USA)
  • Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
  • Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
  • Inveraray & District (Scotland)
  • Johnstone (Scotland)
  • Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
  • Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
  • Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
  • ScottishPower (Scotland)
  • Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
  • Simon Fraser University (Canada)
  • St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)
  • St. Thomas Alumni (USA)

No bands from New Zealand or Australia are planning to make the journey and the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) of Canada have said they will not be attending. Two Scottish Grade 1 bands, Glasgow Skye Association and Lomond & Clyde, have opted to sit out the season as they look to rebuild their ranks following the two-year competition shutdown due to the global pandemic.

BBC Scotland World’s livestream host Jackie Bird interviews Inveraray & District Pipe-Major Stuart Liddell. [Photo pipes|drums]
Even with only 14 bands in the event, the RSPBA will hold a round of Grade 1 competitions on Friday, August 12th, and then another round on August 13th.

The World’s livestream program has been a favourite event for those unable to attend the competition, with watch parties being held at all hours all over the globe.

pipes|drums readers can contact BBC Scotland here.





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