World Piping Championships

I woke up early and headed out to find Glasgow Green- it was all about the bagpipes and cheering for the Canadian teams who would be here. And while I had looked forward to this for awhile, and I can handle some bagpipes, being assaulted by dozens of pipes and drums at 830 in the morning (and we all know how well I handle mornings!) can cause a person to wonder what on earth they have just signed up for. I clearly did not think this one through Not enough coffee in the world to prepare for that!

Regardless, I found my front row seat at the Grade 1 Arena (Grade 1 is actually the top performers – it’s not like school), and prepared for the hours of performing ahead of me. If you can’t beat em, just jump in head first and get dirty! Everyone around me seemed to follow the world of piping and had been here a few times before and were well acquainted with all the bands. They had favourites, but also had good insight into who had a good shot at this year. They were trying to be diplomatic, but they felt that this wasn’t the year for SFU. There was a great Irish band that had been winning a few key events and were poised to take the cup this year, if everything went well. Which it did. I am not surprising anyone here (can’t believe how many of you emailed me that you had caught some of the festivities or read about it) – they came 5th. Which I was excited about. I got to see my school take a spot in the top 5. But, since they had won for the last 2 years, I can understand how it might be a little more disappointing for them.

I also got to see some other Canadian bands, who qualified for the final band – including another band from Vancouver (Dowco Triumph). Turns out Canadians have a few pipe bands. And who else has lots of bands (besides the Scots)? The Northern Irish. They must have had as many as Scotland. It was crazy to see. But, cool that we have so many. Here’s a selection of Canadian bands from my front row seat.

Piping Live

The park itself is fairly large, and there were bands from lots of grades performing all over. As well, the highland dancing competition and the drum major competition were going on. I left a couple times during breaks to catch the action elsewhere.

When all the performing was done for the day (about 6 pm) , they cleared a HUGE area for an arena and all the bands who qualified march in, led by last years champs SFU… here’s what it looked like for me:

Piping 1

Piping 2

Piping 3

Piping 4

Interesting note – they don’t do a countdown to the winner of each competition – they start by announcing the winner, then 2nd, 3rd, etc… no suspense, they just get right to it! The Irish band that my new friends had predicted to be winners did in fact take it this year – but since I love the Irish I was pretty happy. And they had been really good.

About 730, it started coming to a close, and being all piped out, I made my way out for the night near the hostel. With pop music. With about 16 hours of pipes all week, I was ready for a change on this Saturday night! But, it was a cool experience and I am excited that I went. Glasgow – you were tons of fun! I can’t wait to come back!

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