|The World Pipe Band Championships is a pipe band competition held in Glasgow, Scotland every August. The event has been operating regularly since 1930, when the Scottish Pipe Band Association (today known as the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) was formed. For competitive bands, the title of World Champion is highly coveted, and this event is seen as the culmination of a year's worth of preparation, rehearsal and practice. |
The entirety of the World Championships takes place on one day in August, on Glasgow Green. Typically several hundred bands attend, travelling from all over the world. Bands arrive early and are required to perform in a qualifying round which takes place in the morning. The top bands at the end of the qualifying round play in a second event in the afternoon to determine an aggregate winner. To win, Grade One bands must perform in two events, a March, Strathspey & Reel event (known as a "set" or "MSR") which consists of three pre-arranged tunes, and a Medley event, which consists of a short selection of music chosen and arranged by the band.
In the Novice Juvenile and Juvenile categories, band members must be under the age of eighteen, with the exception of one "adult" player, often instructors, who may serve as the Pipe Major or Pipe Sergeant. The remaining categories have no age restriction, but are based on proficiency. Grade One is the highest of these categories, and Novice is the lowest. Grading and eligiblity are overseen by the RSPBA, and bands must apply for downgrading or upgrading.
Because of time constraints, the RSPBA uses "A" and "B" designations in Grade 3 and 4, for major competitions. By doing this, bands are grouped based on prior-years' performances, and can receive promotions within their respective grade. It is also important to note that these vary slightly throughout the world. For example, in North America, many regional associations have implemented Grade Five, an entry-level Grade, intended to help bands familiarize themselves with competition and in Australia and New Zealand there is no Novice grade at all.
Prizes at the World's are awarded in the following eight categories:
- Grade One
- Grade Two
- Grade Three "A"
- Grade Three "B"
- Grade Four "A"
- Grade Four "B"
- Novice Juvenile