Worlds Grade 1: Major Change Announced

The World Pipe Band Championship for Grade 1 will go to the band with best placings over two days of competition provided the entry does not exceed 17 bands, it was announced today.

At the moment bands play on the Friday for a place in the 12-band final on the Saturday. The only caveat to the change is that there must be an entry of less than 18 bands. If that figure is reached the status quo stands.

A lower than usual entry is expected for G1 in 2019 so for this year anyway it looks as though efforts on the first day will count towards the final award.

It will mean bands playing two Medleys and two MSRs before 16 different judges, the eight on the Friday having the same input towards the final decision as those on the Saturday. The band which emerges on top after that will truly be worthy World Champions.

The Music Board of the Association and the Adjudicator’s Panel have clearly bowed to pressure from individuals and the piping press where we and our readers have been calling for a more meaningful Friday for some years.



One reader Ian Forbes responded: ‘I am very pleased, because I first aired this suggestion on the Piping Press two years ago. 

‘It seems that ‘important people’ do read your articles, and at last common sense has prevailed. The old Friday performances were never a true competition, but a filtering, and the only real competition was on the Saturday. 

‘Now we have a real test of all the top bands with two MSR and two Medley performances counting towards the overall result.’

Official statement from the RSPBA:

‘At the Board of Directors meeting on Saturday 27th April, the Board unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Music Board regarding the format of the 2019 Grade 1 World Championship event.

‘If entries are 17 bands or less then the following will format will apply:

  • All bands to play on the Friday.
  • MSR in the morning/ Medley in the afternoon P/M’s choice of which of their two sets in both sections.
  • All bands to play on the Saturday.
  • MSR Morning/ Medley afternoon – alternate sets to be played.
  • 4 adjudicators per section, so 16 adjudicators to be used.
  • Results of all 4 sections to be taken into account to calculate the results.
  • In the event of a tie, current system already in place to be used (Rule 4.68).

‘If entries are 18 bands or more, then the competition format remains status quo as per 2018 with 12 bands qualifying from the Friday.’

At the moment G1 bands who don’t make it through have their Worlds ending at teatime on the first day. Some have spent many thousands of pounds in getting to Glasgow Green. However this will still be the unfortunate case if more than 17 bands enter.

RSPBA Chairman John Hughes (above) said: ’The Association has listened to many opinions on the Worlds format for 2019. We believe this latest change will answer many of the criticisms that have surrounded the two-day event and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping to agree this change.’

Worlds judges:

  • The Worlds 2019 take place on Glasgow Green on August 16 & 17.

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