Worlds: RSPBA Confirm New Format for Grade One – Comment

RSPBA Chairman John Hughes has issued the following statement regarding the World Pipe Band Championship Grade 1 contest to be held on Glasgow Green on August 16 and 17:

Now that the entries for the Worlds have closed, we can confirm that there are 15 bands entered for the Grade 1 contest. As a result, the format proposed by the Music Board and supported by the Board of Directors is as follows:

  • All 15 bands will play own choice MSR and Medley on the Friday.
  • All 15 bands will play their alternate MSR and Medley on the Saturday.
  • All 4 performances will count towards the final result.
  • The adjudicators critique sheets for all 4 performances will be handed out after the prize giving on Saturday.
  • There will be a pre-draw for playing order for the Friday, and a separate pre-draw for the playing order for Saturday.


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PP Editor Robert Wallace commented: ‘The ‘four performances’ format (FPF) is the first time it has been tried at the Worlds. It will be welcomed by those who have complained of a lack of atmosphere at the Friday Qualifier.

‘It will also be welcomed by those, myself included, who were concerned that bands travelling huge distances to get to Glasgow faced the prospect of what should be a memorable trip ending at 5pm on the Friday when they learn that they have not made it through to the final.


‘Now, irrespective of how a band does on the first day they will fully involved on the second, with all the excitement and sense of inclusion that that brings.

‘In my view this FPF should now become the accepted way forward even if the 18 band threshold limit is reached. This is unlikely to happen in any case especially if the Music Board is more selective in bands that are allowed to play in this grade.

‘How a band does at the Worlds having to submit and play two different March, Strathspey and Reel sets and two different Medleys should be come the true criteria as to suitability for this grade.

‘These bands will be under the microscope as never before and the winner, and the place winners, will thus deserve every credit. What will be crucial will be the strictest security over the Friday outcomes. No band should enter the arena on the Saturday knowing how they did on the Friday.

‘Another ramification of the Association’s wise decision will be the surety that the winner of the Worlds in this grade has been subjected to an unprecedented examination of every aspect of its performance over two days by sixteen different adjudicators.

‘There will be a spin off for the audience too. Friday numbers should increase and I trust the organisers Glasgow Life will have factored in extra seating and listening areas.

‘All in all a satisfactory outcome for everyone concerned.’

2018 World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery celebrate as the light fades

Bands entered for Grade 1 2019 are as follows:
78th Fraser Highlanders, Canada 
Canterbury Caledonian Society, New Zealand 
Field Marshal Montgomery, Northern Ireland 
Glasgow Police, Scotland
Inveraray and District, Scotland
Johnstone, Scotland
Lomond and Clyde, Scotland
Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia, Scotland
Pipes and Drums of Police Service of Northern Ireland
Fife Police, Scotland
Scottish Power, Scotland
Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, Scotland
Simon Fraser University, Canada
St Laurence o’Toole, Ireland
Glasgow Skye Association, Scotland

Get entrants in other grades here.

  • The subject of the Worlds format has exercised the minds of many readers and we would be interested to hear their responses to this confirmation from the RSPBA. Please comment below.
    Need tickets for the Worlds? Click here. Performances in the Grade 1 main arena will be streamed live over the internet for those who cannot manage to Glasgow.
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2 thoughts on “Worlds: RSPBA Confirm New Format for Grade One – Comment

  1. Finally, common sense has prevailed and there will be a separate draw on the Friday and Saturday for each day of the Grade 1 competition. The old system of a band playing first on the Friday (both MSR and medley) AND first on the Saturday (both MSR and medley) was ludicrous beyond words. I congratulate the RSPBA on their long awaited wisdom.

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