The 2021 Uista & Barra Professional Solo Piping Competition has been cancelled, it was announced last night. The contest had been scheduled for the first Saturday in March but has becomne a victim of the ongoing pandemic.
The Uist & Barra was the last live competition before the mass cancellation of piping events in 2020. In a statement U&B Piping Convenor John Angus Smith said: ‘The U&B Committee has decided that we aren’t going to run the professional contest this year.
‘We’ll focus our resources on 2022 rather than run the event later in the year – there is just too much uncertainty at the moment.’
Though the UK’s covid vaccine programme is well advanced, restriction on movements and meetings are expected to continued for at least the next three months making gatherings in close confined spaces impossible within the law.
This also poses quesations for the Scottish Pipers’ Association Professional contest, usually held in April, and the Highland & Islands Festival scheduled for the first weekend in May. If neither goes ahead it will be the second year in a row that they have had to be cancelled.
The top picture shows the winners from the 2018 U&B Craig Sutherland, Niall Stewart and Iain Speirs. Readers who need a U&B ‘fix’ should check out our slideshow from the 2016 contest on our video archive page here. Read a report on last year’s contest here.
On a more upbeat note, the Royal Highland Show, the annual gathering of Scotland’s agricultural community, are pressing ahead with their arrangements for this year’s event and that may augur well for this summer’s Highland games. In their latest statement the RHS say:
‘The Royal Highland Show is delighted to announce its return from 17-20 June 2021. It’s been a tough year for everyone and we can’t wait to welcome you back. We’ve made a few changes to the usual format this year, including a limited capacity and separately ticketed days…..
‘Naturally, we have full COVID-19 safety measures in place, and you’ll get a full refund if the event is cancelled. Buy your tickets today and we look forward to seeing you at our 180th Royal Highland Show.’
As online competitions become more of a norm, the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association has issued guidleines on how these may be conducted:Music-Board-Recommendations-for-Video-Contests