The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has confirmed that the first pipe band major championship of 2016 will be held at Paisley on May 21. The deal between the local authority and the Association is for three years.
Since 2013 the championship had been held at Bathgate in West Lothian but there had been widespread dissatisfaction with the facilities afforded the bands and the Association by the hosts, with considerable difficulties over parking and traffic management at this summer’s contest.
The move to Paisley, south-west of Glasgow, will be seen as a welcome move by the majority of bands who can easily get to the venue from Glasgow Airport or via the M8 motorway. It is also on the right side of the city for bands travelling by road and ferry from Ireland.
Paisley is no stranger to pipe band championships. For many years a competition was held in the town’s Seedhill Park. It was run by the Association’s Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch. The venue for 2016 is the St James Playing Field area, known locally as ’50 Pitches’, a reference to the huge area of flat land that accommodated a large number of football parks.
There will, therefore, be ample parking for band buses right on site on what were previously red blaes areas of ground. RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton said: ‘We are delighted to be able to announce Paisley as the new venue for the British. There were two other bids for this championship but the offer from Paisley was easily the best and exceeded our minimum requirements.
‘We have signed with the local authority until 2018 so that means all of our Championship are now secured at least until that time. The Scottish at Dumbarton are on a rolling programme and the Worlds at Glasgow has been confirmed until 2021 with options beyond that date.’
The full dates of next year’s majors are as follows:
British Championships – May 21 at St James Playing Fields, Paisley
UK Championships – June 11 at Stormont, Belfast
European Championships – June 25 at Grant Park, Forres
Scottish Championships – July 30th at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton
World Championships – August 12/13 at Glasgow Green
The picture up top shows Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band, the current British Pipe Band Champions