The announcement last week that the Scottish administration is working on a plan to allow large scale festivals to take place this summer augurs well for the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton on July 31 and the World Championships in Glasgow on August 13/14, writes the Editor.
More than one national newspaper reported that there were behind the scenes moves to align Scotland with England where large outdoor gatherings will be allowed from June 21. Here there are only sketchy plans for small scale gatherings being authorised from May 17.
It is this lack of guidance which has so bedevilled promoters north of the border and led to many major organisations threatening to take their business south.
The Scotsman newspaper reported: ‘The Scottish Government has revealed that it is working on a plan to help bring back ‘major events’ in the summer months as long as infection rates are kept down.
‘Details on crowd numbers and safety measures for event organisers are expected to be published shortly to allow festivals and other cultural and sporting events to go ahead.
‘There has been huge pressure on the government from event organisers and promoters to ensure that Scotland is not left lagging behind England as the vaccination programme is rolled out.
‘Guidance for organisers of events in England states that indoor and outdoor venues can reopen from May 17 with audiences of up to 10,000, depending on capacity, with all restrictions lifted by the end of June.
‘The government decision to give major events the green light in principle also significantly increases the chances of major events like the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe and the Tattoo going ahead in August.
‘An official events industry taskforce has warned that festivals, concerts and conferences could be relocated to England unless the Scottish Government published guidelines similar to those set up by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.’
Scottish officials now say details will be announced soon: ‘We are working with Event Scotland [co-sponsors of the Worlds] to support some of Scotland’s major events to return over summer subject to epidemiological conditions.’
Clearly the RSPBA are also readying themselves for a possible restart of band competition. They announced last week that playing requirements would be adjusted down to help bands get up to speed in a shorter preparation period.
For example Grade 1 bands now need only submit one medley and one MSR for the Worlds. Get the full break down here. There is also a growing feeling that if the lack of overseas bands means a reduced entry then this competition could revert to a single day so cutting costs and thus making the Championship more financially viable in difficult times.
On a gloomier note Gourouck, usually one the first contests of the season, have announced that they have cancelled the May 9 event. The promoters, Inverclyde Council, are looking at a September alternative, a sensible decision.
A spokesman said: ‘This year would have been the 65th anniversary games. The event cannot go ahead in light of the tier levels set out by the Scottish Government and continued restrictions on large gatherings and outdoor events.’
Provost Martin Brennan, a former Chieftain, said: ‘It’s deeply disappointing that the Games have been cancelled.’
Sharon Smith, Contest Secretary for the Glasgow and West of Scotland (GWOS) branch of the RSPBA, said: ‘The branch is equally disappointed with cancellation, but will be working with Inverclyde Council to hopefully reschedule later in the year subject to guidance.’