The Glenfiddich, considered to be the most prestigious event in the solo piping calendar, will go ahead this year as planned. The event itself, however, will take place at Blair Castle behind closed doors, with the public invited to join through a pay-per-view online stream on the day.
The date for this year’s event is October 31.
The qualifying pipers for this year will be announced in due course. A different way of determining those who play is currently being put in place. These will be announced nearer to the time along with the judges and fear an tighe.
The event will not have an in-person audience and there will be no ceilidh held afterwards. Instead the full day of events will be streamed through a pay-per-view channel so worldwide audiences can still tune in and watch the full day of events.
The Piobaireachd event will commence from 10.00am as usual, with the MSR following upon conclusion of the first performances.
Finlay MacDonald, new Director of Piping at The National Piping Centre said: “We are delighted to still be able to bring this competition, which is the pinnacle of the solo piping world, to you from its Blair Castle home, on the scheduled date. We know the playing line-up will be as strong as ever and we look forward to welcoming our digital audience.”
The championship was founded in 1974 and continues to be organised and supported financially by distillers William Grant & Sons. In recent years, The National Piping Centre has assisted with the organising.
Held at Blair Castle, Perthshire, annually since 1974, the event sees 10 pipers compete across two disciplines – piobaireachd and MSR – for the overall title. The ten invited pipers have each qualified for an invitation by winning key competitions throughout the year. These include the Clasp at the Northern Meeting), the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering), the Former Winners’ MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Masters Solos at Piping Live!
James McIntosh was the first winner and Finlay Johnston is the current winner.
A feature of the event is the awarding of the Balvenie Medal for service to piping. Anne Spalding was the 2019 recipient.
Here is Connor Sinclair with his winning MSR from last year’s Glenfiddich (Major Manson At Clachantrushal, Susan MacLeod and Broadford Bay: