The 29th annual amateur piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich will take place on Saturday, February 27, 2021, writes Dr Peter McCalister of the Piobaireachd Society. We hope to hold it in the usual venue, the rooms of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society at 127 Rose Street Lane South, Edinburgh, starting at 09:30a.m., depending on what Covid-19 restrictions are in place at the time.

These restrictions may prevent the contest from happening face-to-face with the judges, in which case we will take advice nearer the time and arrange an online event. However, the intention just now is to hold a face-to-face contest, though pipers may have to attend at specific times on the day to play at the venue and may have to leave after playing.

Entries and enquiries to:  

Competitors should submit two tunes with their entries, one of which they will be asked to play on the day. Players will receive the name of the tune selected by the judges in the final tuning room. Competitors may not submit any tune with which they have previously won first prize in the competition.

Conditions for eligibility are as follows:

  1. Competitors must be aged 18 or over.
  2. Competitors must be amateur pipers. An amateur piper is someone who has never accepted a money prize in a senior solo competition.
  3. Anyone in doubt about their eligibility to play should contact me for advice.

A new rule is that competitors must also be members of the Piobaireachd Society.

Prizewinners and judges at today's Archie Kenneth Quaich.
Prizewinners and judges at last year’s Archie Kenneth Quaich.

This competition has been increasingly popular in recent years. In the event that there are significantly more than 25 entries there will be a ballot on the closing date for entries, and the first 25 entries drawn will be selected to play, plus reserves. Those who are unsuccessful in this ballot will be definite confirmed entries for the 2022 competition, if they intend to enter that.

We appreciate that travel has been much reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and those from abroad may not be able to decide whether to travel, or to enter the contest.

We suggest pipers enter if you think there is a good chance that you can travel and play, and we will keep in touch with all entrants as the date of the contest approaches. For this reason we will have a later closing date for entries than in the previous years. The closing date for entries is January 17, 2021.

The competition is held in memory of Archie Kenneth (1915-1989), pictured, who almost single-handedly compiled the Piobaireachd Society’s Books 11, 12, 13 and 14 and most of 15