Every August in Glasgow, Scotland sees the arrival of the Glasgow World Pipe Band Championships. The competition dates back to 1939, when what is now the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association was founded. Hundreds of competitive bands from Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and France compete in various levels of competition to win their respective division. For the highest level groups, the World Champion title is the ultimate goal and is generally considered the top pipe band award in the world. (Image courtesy of Pipinglive.co.uk)
The entire festival will occur between the 9th and the 15th of August, on Glasgow Green. There are numerous grades of competitions, with Grade 1 as the highest level and Novice Juvenile as the lowest. Also included are special grades for youth pipe bands, in which all members of the pipe band must be under 18 years of age, with the exception of one adult who usually acts as the Pipe Major or Pipe Sargeant. In the most populous grades, the pipe bands must play in a qualifying event early in the day to make it through to the next round. Those pipe bands that do qualify then battle for the championship in the afternoon. To win the Glasgow World Pipe Band Championships, a Grade 1 pipe band must participate in a March, a Medley event in which the pipe band plays a short piece arranged and chosen by the band, and a Strathspey and Reel event, which consists of three pre-selected songs.
Also occurring alongside the Glasgow World Pipe Band Championships are the Drum Major contest, Highland Dancing Championship and the Glasgow World Highland Games Championship.