RSPBA Chairman John Hughes (left) has written to all Grade 1 pipe bands to gauge their views on the Friday Qualifying competition for this year’s World Pipe Band Championships.
If the bands are so minded it could see the Friday scrapped in favour of one day of concentrated competition, Saturday August 17.
The move would be welcome in some quarters as many see the Qualifier as unfair on bands who may have travelled long distances, spending huge amounts of money, but who do not make it through to the final on the Saturday.
Indeed this could be seen as a contributory factor to the apparent dropping off of interest in the Friday.
Worries were raised by our correspondent MacStig several months ago, the demise of regular Worlds bands such as Dowco Triumph Street and other bands declaring they would not be entering, threatening to severely curtail the numbers entering Grade 1.
Mr Hughes said: ‘This is an attempt to get some feedback from those bands who would be directly affected by any change to the Grade 1 event at the Worlds, and also to get an early confirmation of numbers…..
‘The Friday qualifier was put in place when it was not possible to have all Grade 1 bands play twice on the Saturday, when we already had the best part of 250 performances across other grades.
‘However with the reduced number of Grade 1 bands likely to enter this year’s Worlds the RSPBA Board felt it was worth a review.
‘I have asked for responses by the 6th March, and will present the findings to the Board of Directors for consideration at our meeting on 9th March.’
Mr Hughes’ message reads: ‘This email is in connection with the 2019 Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship and requires an urgent response from your band…..
‘Since 2013 we have been running the WPBC over two days. The primary reason for this was that we were unable to fit all of the required performances across all grades into one day.
‘In 2014 we established a specific qualifying event for Grade 1 only on the Friday because of the numbers involved…..
‘However, from the information available, it appears that the number of Grade 1 bands entering the Worlds in 2019 is likely to be lower than it has been for many years.
‘As an organisation driven by its membership, the Board of Directors feel it is important to ask the bands directly impacted by any change for their input.
‘As a result, the Board of Directors would like to ask you two questions: Will your band be entering the 2019 Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship?
‘If it was feasible to have all Grade 1 bands who have entered the 2019 WPBC play their MSR and Medley on the Saturday, with both the MSR and Medley being drawn on the Line, would your band support the option to remove the Friday qualifying event for 2019?
‘Could you please respond directly to myself by Wednesday 6th March 2019 at the latest, with the response from your band to the above questions.
‘This information will then be presented to the Board of Directors for consideration on Saturday 9th March 2019. Thank you for your support in providing this vital feedback.’
- Stay tuned to Piping Press from more on this story. The RSPBA AGM takes place in the Trades Hall, Glasgow, at 9am on March 9 and PP reporters will be in attendance.