The Scottish Piping Society of London is postponing this year’s Annual Competition to a provisional date of 12-13 March 2021 at The Caledonian Club, London, writes Alison Gilmour. On what would have been the weekend of the Annual Competition – 7 November 2020 – the Society will host an online CPA ‘C’ Grade and SPSL Members’ Competition.
SPSL President, Michael Fitzhenry, comments: ‘We have two guiding principles for our Annual Competition, regardless of COVID-19: ensuring the welfare of all participants and running a financially sustainable event for the Society.
‘The Committee has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation including government guidelines and forecasts from independent medical bodies. Following a meeting focused on analysing options and scenarios, we’ve identified postponement as the most pragmatic path to mitigate the various risks associated with ongoing community transmission and a potential second wave, in addition to sustaining the competition’s status as a prestige event in the piping calendar that our sponsors, members, competitors, judges and spectators have come to expect.
‘I was encouraged that last year’s competition received overwhelmingly positive feedback from all stakeholders, and this provides momentum on which I am keen the SPSL builds. It’s encouraged us to focus on enabling the Annual Competition to take place, rather than cancelling.
‘I see postponement as a much better option than cancelling altogether. During the autumn/ winter months of 2020 we hope to gain a clearer picture of the forecasted second wave and how ongoing social distancing measures are working.
‘Monthly Committee meetings allow ongoing assessment of what is a volatile situation, but in a best-case scenario we look forward to welcoming everyone to London next year without restriction. What’s potentially exciting about the date we have identified is that there are a number of solo piping events scheduled for March 2021, comprising something of a mini piping season early in the calendar year.’
There have recently been significant changes to the Annual Competition including the 2018 decision to discontinue C Grade events. This year’s addition of an online event will give the Society the opportunity to support this cohort of competitors, in addition to SPSL Members whose April 2020 competition was cancelled.
Details of the online competition will be announced in September and the Committee will announce details of the rescheduled Annual Competition in early December.
Evaluating the success of these events by drawing on stakeholder feedback will inform future decisions of scheduling and format; for example, whether to return the Annual Competition to November or to adopt the new date going forward.
This is part of the SPSL’s ongoing commitment to support our sponsors, members and the broader piping community in the current circumstances. The SPSL Committee wishes everyone well in these challenging times. More info here.