Sparkle in the games
The Kincardine Scottish Festival is tomorrow, and, as I’ve said before, it’s one of the best piping and drumming events anywhere. It excels not necessarily because of the competitors it attracts (it’s pretty much the same level of bands and soloists as Georgetown), it’s because of the sense of community that the event generates.
This is a big deal for the small town, which is as proud of its Scottish heritage as any in Ontario, including the massive Glengarry Highland Games at Maxville.
But rather than try to grow Kincardine into a behemoth event, Kincardine is quite content being small and manageable. Band entries are capped at a total of only 25, and entries are on a first-come policy. That said, they do ensure that all grades are covered. Don’t ask me how; I don’t know.
I think pipers and drummers like Kincardine because of that integration with the community. The townspeople treat their guests with honour and respect. You feel just a little bit special when you’re part of the piping and drumming spectacle at Kincardine. They let you play on their lawns. They even let you use their toilets.
And I think pipers and drummers return the favour. Everyone seems just a little bit more positive, a little bit more polite, a little bit more respectful. That’s not to say competitors are anything but those things anywhere else. It’s just that the mid-summer atmosphere there is slightly more fun.
And the bands get to play in a natural amphitheatre with the crowd stacked around them, assured of an interested and positive response no matter what their grade-level. They’re also assured of shade, and extremely close proximity to the beer tent. These things can’t hurt.
While Maxville is North America’s competition crown-jewel, I have to say that Kincardine is the continent’s remote diamond. Like the sun that reflects off of Lake Huron, it also sparkles.