The Secretary of Perth Games, Mr Brian Whyte, has now confirmed the end of solo piping at the popular games, as presaged in the Editor’s article of last week……….
Perth Highland Games committee has made the decision to omit solo piping from the staged events for this year. This does not mean that solo piping will not feature in future years, should circumstances change.
As you are no doubt aware, last year’s piping competition can at best be described as a complete and utter shambles. The committee is of the opinion that there should be no repeat of this, as it is in nobody’s interest.
The decision to withdraw solo piping from the 2019 event was based on a couple of key factors.
It costs the games over £1,000 to stage solo piping, which is around the same amount, on average, that the games incurs annually as a net loss.
This of course, cannot continue or there will be no games whatsoever. In addition to this, our main sponsor indicated that they would no longer be supporting us. This has meant that we must look at all financial aspects more closely.
As it appeared from our feedback, very few paying customers were interested in the solo piping event. This was confirmed by looking at where people were situated during the day.
While every other event had a significant group of spectators, the solo piping had very few, if any. Therefore, it was felt that dropping solo piping would not affect the gate and would go some way to mitigate our financial situation.
Secondly, we are a committee of ten people, none of whom have any knowledge of piping. For the majority of the committee, last year was the first experience of running Perth Highland Games, and this was also the case for the volunteers that we managed to obtain the services of.
This was no more evident than in the solo piping competition. During the course of the day, a number of pipers expressed concern regarding the staging of the event, and indicated that they would not consider returning to Perth.
Our volunteers also had issues regarding solo piping and were unwilling to offer their services in the future. Indeed, there were a number of issues that came to light on the day, which is not unexpected considering that we had both a new committee and a new venue, but none on the scale of the solo piping.
It would therefore appear that our small resources would be better utilised elsewhere, ensuring a more controlled running of games day. In short, the withdrawal of solo piping from our programme will save costs on tentage, judges fees and lunches, ground space, fencing and prize money.
It will also enable our human resources to be better employed with other tasks. We have tried by means of local and social media to recruit people with piping experience on to our committee, but have had no repsonse.
Given the lack of experience, high running costs and shortage of volunteers it was felt that omitting solo piping from the games would enable the games to be more cost effective and run more competently.
I trust that this will provide a satisfactory explanation of the circumstances, and whilst this may be disappointing to those in the piping community, hopefully our reasoning can be understood..