World’s returns in a blaze of sunshine with first round of Grade 1 events
After missing the last two years due to the pandemic, the World Pipe Band Championships returned to Glasgow Green in spectacularly warm, sunny and parched conditions.
Sales of sun cream and tanning lotion were brisk, as temperatures soared (for Glasgow) to 29°C with many of the 14 Grade 1 bands competing in the first round of events challenged to maintain their tuning and pitch, with most performances exceeding 490hz.
Tickets to enter the park on Friday were priced at £11 ($17). Despite the offer to spectators to occupy the arena stands for free, there were many empty seats throughout the events, with hundreds choosing to stand to the side where they were closer to the competitors and, perhaps, the beer tent. An RSPBA official said that Friday attendance had never been so high.
The judges for the Medley were Maurice Rhodes, Bob Worrall (piping); Alex Dudgeon (drumming); Tom Brown (ensemble). Judging the MSR: Jim Wark, Ken Eller (piping); Duncan Millar (drumming); Alan Ronaldson (ensemble).
It was the first time that Closkelt of Northern Ireland, Florida’s City of Dunedin, and St. Thomas Alumni of Houston had competed at the World’s in Grade 1.
Several drummers competing wore face masks during their band’s performance.
The 2022 World’s is the final competition for Eller and Ronaldson as judges as both have reached age 75, the RSPBA’s mandatory age of retirement. It is also the last competitive appearance of Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Lead-Drummer Gordon Brown, who announced that he will be stepping down after more than 30 years in the role.
The Friday included only the two Grade 1 competitions. The same bands will compete on Saturday playing their other Medley and MSR in a differently drawn order of play.
About 2,500 enthusiasts from around the world tuned in to the free live-stream broadcast of the MSR event and fewer – about 1,900 – watched the Medley competition.
The results from Friday are kept secret and are tallied with Saturday’s scores, along with the balance of the other grades.
Tickets for Saturday are priced at £30 ($46.50) for a reserved seat in the arena, and £19 ($29.50) for general admission. The prize for the Grade 1 winners of the 2019 World Pipe Band Championship was £1,500. It is not known if the award has been increased for 2022.
Inveraray & District of Scotland are the reigning World Champions, winning the event the last time it was held, in 2019. Field Marshal Montgomery won the year before. Each band has won two of the previous four 2022 major championships.