One of the biggest days on the international piping calendar is the World Pipe Band Championships. In the past decade, modern technology has allowed pipers and drummers (and enthusiasts!) from all around the world to view in real time the competitions which occur on Glasgow Green in Glasgow, Scotland every year. The BBC streams the Finals for Grade 1 on Saturdays, and over the past few years the Grade 1 Qualifiers have been streamed by various other organizations.
This year, the Qualifiers live stream are being conducted by Inner Ear on livestream.com.
The WPBC 2017 Qualifiers Live Stream
Click here for the link to the Qualifiers live stream. The Grade 1 Qualifiers start this Friday, August 11 at 5:30AM, Eastern Standard Time. Because there are four heats, two medleys and two MSRs, only one of the two groups are heard for each the medley and the MSR competitions. I personally hope some day to see two simultaneous streams for the Qualifiers, but running a feed like these takes a lot of volunteer hours and money. In any case, tune in to hear bands from all around the world!
The WPBC 2017 Finals Live Stream
The real center of the action, however, will take place Saturday, August 12. The broadcast link does not exist, but click here to view last year’s contest clips, and likely for information of the broadcast on Saturday. The contests begin at 10:00AM local time, which is 5:00AM EST. This year’s World Championships should be pretty interesting – Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band of Northern Ireland will be out to defend its championship title from last year. FMM has won 6 of the last 10 World Championships, and 5 of the last 6.
However, Inveraray & District Pipe Band, from Inveraray, Scotland, last year’s Champion of Champions winner, the winner of 3 of the 4 Championships in the UK this summer, and top-3 finisher at the Worlds in the past three years have understandably been chomping at the bit to take the biggest title in the pipe band calendar. This may be their year, though that has been said of them each year since 2013. Will they do it this year?
One of my favorite bands, Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band, will be seeking to repeat its Top-6 placing from last season. This year they have placed in the Top-6 in 3 of the 4 championships they have performed in, taking fifth overall at both the British and UK Championships. A 5th place finish at the Worlds finals would be huge for them. A great up and coming band, to be sure.
Other contenders for the title is St. Lawrence O’Toole Pipe Band from the Republic of Ireland, and 2015’s upset winner Shotts and Dykehead Caledonian Pipe Band. Shotts denied FMM its history-matching 5-in-a-row, and returned the World Champions title back to Scotland for the first time in a decade.
North American bands competing in the grade are:
6-time winners Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver, BC, looking to crack back into the Top 6 after being knocked out of the elite tier for the first time in decades
The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band of Toronto, Canada, the first band in the history of the World Pipe Band Championships to take the title outside of Scotland back in 1987.
The Toronto Police Pipe Band of Toronto, Canada.
The Peel Regional Police of the Greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada.
The Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band of Vancouver, BC, who have opened up as a multi-continent pipe band with practicing units in both the UK and in Canada. Will the project bear fruit for them and change the way Grade 1 bands prepare and compete?
Pipe Band fans have been spoiled the past two years as far as nailbiting competitions at the World Championships, and this year promises to be just as exciting. Tune in both days to watch the action live!