British Championships: Readers Have Their Say

Shotts at last year’s British

The controversy surrounding the cancellation of the 2023 British Pipe Band Championship continues to draw comment from the pipe band public.

Further concern was added yesterday with the revelation that the RSPBA did not approach Cowal Games to discuss a possible contingency for the championship.

This may provoke further comment. For now here is what readers have to say regarding Allan Hamilton’s story on PP and also our report on contrasting confidence on the solo piping front:

Gordon Rennie: The ideal situation would have been to give the All Ireland championship RSPBA major status and ditch the British name. Always felt that having a UK and British effectively two names for the same place was silly, but a sort of necessity after Cowal was rightly cast aside after years of decline in many areas.

Bands from Scotland may not be keen in having to travel over the Irish Sea twice a year, but more often than not for as long as I’ve been involved directly, there has been four and sometimes even five majors in Scotland with no lack of bands from Ulster and the Republic.

Like the article said, we will never know if this avenue was looked at due to the lack of transparency from Washington Street. Nothing new there however.

MacRaeBanner ’19
Ayrshire Bagpipes Nov 2020
shepherd banner ’22

David Cross: You can’t compare solo piping with running a band, so don’t even try. In solo piping you have no one else to think about bar yourself, whereas keeping a band of individuals together is a herculean task. I have no doubt that solo piping will continue to flourish while bands go the opposite way. That could not be a positive in any way.

John Paton: Hi Allan. I have been involved with piping around 70 years the same as yourself and loved every minute. It’s a sad situation that’s happening now to do with funding competitions. Can the RSPBA help out financially? You would expect them to help out in some way as the bands pay their registration money and entry money for the contests. I wonder if this has been mentioned.

Janet Laycock: Couldn’t the British Championships take place in England? Many big cities have parks large enough to use. Leeds is the City of Culture this year. Could they not be approached to host this event? Also Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, to name but a few more.

Hugh Ivory: Interested to know how far back the RSPBA realised that the British champs were in jeopardy. Surely there are other types of venue other than local authority owned parks that could have been considered such as sporting venues, higher education campuses, national parks stately homes etc. I suspect too little was done too late to save this championships.

Get help for your band from the RSPBA’s fund – click here

3 thoughts on “British Championships: Readers Have Their Say

  1. What seems to be needed are some professional event producers to take on these Games if they are not already employed.
    Games should be administered locally but an umbrella group, sponsored by the RSPBA, could take on an advisory role to assist local promoters. The wheel should not have to be reinvented every year.
    Yes, conditions and aspects vary in every Games, but there is also a common thru thread of components such as promotion, local funding, and execution that are typical to every Games where professional producers could help.
    Just an idea. Sad to see the British Championship not happening.

  2. One comment suggests that the All Ireland be given major status. Unique among pipe band contests the AI is a joint venture between two associations Rspba(NI) and the IPBA. So it would need to be a joint decision between both.

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