The first time I traveled to Scotland was in August 2004, to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships. From that first trip, I was hooked and completely fell in love with the “Worlds Week” and all of the music, events, and friendships that develop each year in Glasgow for the 7-10 days preceding the World Pipe Band Championships.
This year, the City of Dunedin Pipe Band was unable to travel over to participate in the event. However, if I had stayed home, I think I might have gone stir crazy! So I booked a shorter trip and secured a hotel within easy walking distance to the Glasgow Green, where the championship is held in Glasgow, and traveled over. There’s always so much to learn from being there. So many people love hearing the performances, but what I have always really enjoyed is watching bands warm-up and to observe their preparation process and appreciate the different ways that some of the world’s top pipers and and drummers pull their band together to deliver a great performance on the field.
The “pre-worlds” concert is always held on the Wednesday night before the big Championship and typically features a top-grade 1 band. This show has become the largest pipe band concert in the world, with a large, piping-enthusiastic audience, typically held at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall. This year, due to scheduling, the concert was held at the Armadillo, a newer and slightly larger concert venue in Glasgow. The performers this year were the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver, British Columbia. SFU is world-renown as a top concert pipe band, having previously performed and recorded at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. This year’s show did not disappoint and because of the venue, was the largest pre-worlds concert crowd ever and turned out to be an excellent night of great music.
Saturday was the big day at the Glasgow Green. The weather held out with minimal rain and enjoyed cool and comfortable temperatures. The winners this year were the People’s Ford Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia pipe band: the first time in the history of the organization they have ever won this championship, having coming very close prior on many years, making the result very emotional and a popular one with the crowds.
I had a great time in my element at the World Championships this year and as always, I’m now back home feeling inspired, motivated, and excited for next year!