1970 World Pipe Band Championship Programme

August 8, 2022 on 8:37 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands | No Comments

You may have heard of the 1970 Worlds tribute band that has been formed to perform at this year’s World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow, August 12-13. Rab Wallace has provided the back story on his site, Piping Press.

For those keen to have a further look at the 1970 World Pipe Band Championships, the first to incorporate a medley of pipe tunes into the grade one contest (versus the usual, “march, strathspey and reel”), here’s the full programme.

In flipping through the pages a number of things come to mind:

  • The contest was not in Glasgow; and it was held in June
  • The format used in listing bands and their music appears pretty much as it does today; with even the same font and use of italics
  • The opening words by “Chieftain of the Day”, the Marquis of Huntly, read like they might’ve been written on the back of a bar napkin: disjointed and cold.
  • The grade four championship requirement was a big 2/4-timed march, with one band, the valiant Bankier Pipe Band, submitting that great beast of a tune, Willie Lawrie’s Captain Carswell. All for £25 – about £330 in today’s money.
  • Bob Shepherd’s Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band were competing in grade 3. They would win the grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship seven years later.
  • The tunes submitted by the leadership of the grade 1 bands, in this first medley contest, are shockingly simple, with that perennial tattoo favourite, The High Road to Linton, landing in at least three band’s selections of music. I wonder at the thinking of band leadership at the time.
  • A long-overdue tip of the hat to Bucksburn & District Pipe Band who opened their medley with a slow air – a SLOW AIR, I tell you! The Dark Island [composed in 1963 by accordion player, Iain MacLachlan and originally titled, Dr Mackay’s Farewell to Creagorry] kicked off their set of tunes. I wonder what year the rule changed, the one calling for march time only – and a rule that helped homogenise this event.
  • Back to cash: £100 to the grade 1 band winner – about £1450 today and £15 to the fifth place band (£215 today)

The results on the day of the grade 1 contest:

1. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
2. Muirheads & Sons
3. Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band
4. City of Glasgow Police
5. Red Hackle

Best drum corps: Shotts & Dykehead

Good luck to all participating in this year’s championships on Glasgow Green!


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