European Pipe Band Championships Cancelled

The organisers of Piping Inverness, which incorporates the European Pipe Band Championships, has cancelled this year’s event. The Championships were scheduled to take place on Saturday 26th June 2021, but with uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions and following the latest Scottish Government guidance, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), in partnership with event organiser, LCC Live, has cancelled the annual event.

By Jen Symington

This is the second year that Piping Inverness and the European Pipe Band Championships have fallen victim to coronavirus. The event, which was scheduled to be hosted in Inverness’ Bught Park, attracted over 17,500 visitors and over 100 pipe bands from around the world, when it last took place in 2019.

Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said: ‘In response to the current coronavirus outbreak, and after careful consideration and discussions with LCC Live Events Services Ltd, we have made the decision to cancel the 2021 European Pipe Band Championships in Inverness originally scheduled for Saturday 26th June.

‘Our decision is based on the latest guidance from the Scottish Government, as well as advice taken from our key partners.’


Should the RSPBA run a truncated 2021 pipe band season?

LCC Live first hosted Piping Inverness in 2019, as part of a three-year agreement with the RSPBA. This year’s Championships would have been the third and final year of that delivery agreement, and it is hoped that LCC Live will be able to extend its contract for a further two years (2022 and 2023).

Talks have started with the RSPBA, and LCC Live will be reaching out to other key delivery partners, in the hope the event can return to Inverness, when it is safe to do so. 



Les Kidger, Director of LCC Live, said: ‘We’re so disappointed that Piping Inverness, which incorporates the European Pipe Band Championships, won’t be taking place this year.

Events like this, take a considerable amount of time to organise, and with so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we have, in partnership with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, made the decision not to host this year’s event.

‘We are talking to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association about the possibility of extending our delivery contract into 2022 and 2023, as we’d love to welcome the European Pipe Band Championships back to Inverness. 2019 was a terrific event and brought many thousands of people to the local area and had a huge economic impact on Inverness and the Highlands.’

Les added: ‘We will be reaching out to our delivery partners, including Highland Council and Highlife Highland, in the near future to discuss the possibility of hosting this renowned European event in Inverness and bringing it back for a further two years.’

  • The RSPBA have already announced that the 2021 British and UK Championships have been cancelled. Of the five annual pipe band championships, this leaves only the Scottish at Dumbarton on July 31 and the Worlds on August 13 and 14. It is far from certain that they will go ahead.


1 thought on “European Pipe Band Championships Cancelled

  1. Following a string of cancellations of piping and pipe band events, I fear that organisers are being overly cautious and too hasty in making these decisions. I understand the need for certainty for the organisers, but surely they could have held off a few more weeks before making the key decisions? What is the point of having the best vaccination roll-out in Europe if we cannot make any advantage of it? Already 20 million adults have received a jab, approaching one third of the population, and these numbers will continue to rise significantly in the coming weeks. Yes, there may be some remaining risk, but there are risks in all aspects of life. I fear we are moving to a “zero risk” culture with lasting damage to our wonderful piping heritage

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