There’s no denying that times are tougher for many, but I couldn’t help but notice that, overall, things stayed pretty much constant in the piping and drumming world this past year. The World’s and Maxville, to name a few, were as well attended as ever. I didn’t observe any substantial decline in piping/drumming-related businesses beyond the usual handful of companies giving up on business. To be sure, subscribers to and sponsors of pipes|drums continued to increase.
Again, I appreciate that many, many pipers and drummers may have tightened their sporran-strings, and some may have encountered very hard times. I wouldn’t dream of minimizing that. But I do think that, by-and-large, most pipers and drummers will always find a way to travel to competitions, to purchase those new reeds, to pursue their passion.
And that’s just it: passion. Anyone who is afflicted by the competition piping/drumming disease understands that it’s a hobby of passion. And any industry that is based mainly on such devotion is going to be, I think, on pretty solid economic ground.
There is always the small percentage of pipers and drummers who get fed up and abandon the scene, never to appear again. They lose their passion for it, which perhaps they never really had. But the rest of us march on, and find ways to feed the addiction no matter what the financial challenge.
Last winter, with stock markets tanking and the threat of global economic depression looming, I figured that the piping/drumming market would be severely impacted. I watched for considerable numbers of bands canceling trips, losing sponsorships and hemorrhaging personnel. I thought for sure that the trickle-down effect would mean many failed businesses and a substantial shake-out of the bagpipe manufacturing, reed-making and Highland wear industry.
Instead, to my pleasant surprise, things in our little world appear fairly constant. It’s a micro-economy built on passion.