Crieff Highland Games Abandons Piping Contests

In a shock move, the organisers of one of Scotland’s longest established Highland games has announced that they will no longer hold solo piping or pipe band contests during their August gathering. In a statement to the Competing Pipers’ Association they said:
‘As you will be aware the number of both participants & spectators at Crieff Games piping competitions has dwindled over the past few years. We believe that this is down to the World Pipe Band Championship now taking place over two days on the same weekend. We have discussed at length, as well as implemented many changes to try to create a better attraction on the day with unfortunately little or no support from the RSPBA. Unfortunately after much soul-searching we have decided that neither the solo piping or band competitions are financially sustainable. Should the World Pipe Band competition change to a different weekend from Crieff we may well review the situation then (which may happen) but until then we cannot continue with the same structure as previous years. Believe me this decision has not been taken lightly but I hope you understand our views. I wish the CPA all the best with future competitions and hopefully we can work together again sometime in the future.
Ian Stewart, Vice Chairman, Crieff Highland Games'[wds id=”3″]


Donald Macleod, Secretary of the CPA commented: ‘The CPA comment that whilst the clash with the World Pipe Band Championship is clearly the main issue in this instance, 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.’

Crieff Highland Games were established in 1870 and has run competitive piping events since that time. The decision to turn their backs on serious piping follows that of Stirling Games in recent years. Stay tuned to for more on this story.


1 thought on “Crieff Highland Games Abandons Piping Contests

  1. This is unfortunate. I played there last year and it was a good competition with paneled adjudication by senior judges in both the light music and Piobaireachd.

    It is also rather confusing. Sixteen played in the professional events last year! In that number was a player who ended up competing at the Glenfiddich and a piper who won multiple A-grade light music prizes this year and will be playing in the former winners next year. Not Oban/Inverness numbers, but it doesn’t really seem like a bad, poorly attended contest.

    Perhaps part of the draw back is simply because they don’t allow field entries. I know a few other folks who would have come to compete, but they hadn’t signed up in advance.

    World’s or not, I do hope they reconsider. 15+ entries is a big contest in this part of the world.

    Additionally, I can’t imagine the games enjoyed much more than 16 open competitors for the majority of its competitions, 1880s to present. Perhaps the solo piping boom has all games organizers expecting that 35 players turn out.

    Regarding spectators, there were not many watching the light music, as it was tucked away, next to an archery stand and a folk band… But the Piobaireachd, which had three or four benches, enjoyed many spectators, and even a few during the on-off bouts of rain. Crieff did something here that more games should emulate – staging piping events with spectator seating. If people can sit, they will watch, it seems.

    Sad to see a well run contest which treated its competitors well disappear.

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