Celtic Connections 2021 / Magazine feedback / SPA Juniors results / Pipe and drum ‘marathon’

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The line-up up for the digital-first Celtic Connections festival has been released – and there is, sadly but expected, a dearth of piping.

The 2021 festival will be held entirely online every night between January 15-February 2, 2021.

There are but a handful of concerts that will be of interest to pipers:

  • Ross Ainslie
  • Breabach (featuring pipers Calum MacCrimmon and Conal McDonagh)
  • Gnoss (featuring Gold Medallist, Connor Sinclair)
  • Mànran
  • TRYST

With online competitive solo piping being the main focus of 2020, this handful of piping from the folk/traditional music world will certainly offer something different. Bagpipe.News will review all these shows in due course.

One show of interest will be broadcast from the National Piping Centre in McPhater Street featuring belows players and contemporary players. This one will likely feature Finlay MacDonald, Ross Ainslie, Malin Lewis, Ailish Sutherland, Bradley Parker and Conal McDonagh along with a house band. We hear the vibe will be akin to the BBC’s long-running show, Later with Jools Holland and will feature music from piper to piper alongside some light chat and banter.

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “It has been a challenging but exciting process pulling this year’s digital festival together. I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the musicians who have contributed both at home and abroad, it has been brilliant to see them all get behind the concept and support our vision.”

An early bird ticket has been released that gives unlimited access to the full 19 nights of entertainment for only £30. Tickets are available to purchase here

Celtic Connections was founded in 1994


We have been inundated with responses to the news that the Piping Times and Piping Today magazines have been ended.

Readers lamented the decision to halt publication of both titles although most understood the decision, given the circumstances the Board of the National Piping Centre was faced with. Almost all subscribers stated there were happy for the remainder of their subscriptions to be treated as a donation to the organisation and our thanks go to them all.

Meanwhile, Iain Bell of Dumfriesshire, Scotland has sent us this Donald Drone cartoon strip. Iain, the composer of many fine pipe tunes, was the creator of the popular Everypiper character in the Piping Times for the last few years.

Donald receives his letter regarding the fate of the Piping Times. He hits the Ochansploshan. He bolts into toon to The Inveradram Inn for a top up.

Thanks Iain!


Ross Miller won the invitational Up to the Line Pipe Band Podcast. The competition was held online at the weekend.

The contest featured Enora Morice, Scott Wallace, Ross Miller and John Dew. Each played for roughly 20 minutes each.

The first prize was £200.

The podcast is suppoted by Achiltibuie Bagpipe Specialists Ltd.


The results of the annual Junior competition organised by the Scottish Pipers’ Association is as follows:

18 and Under
Ceòl Mòr
– 1. Cameron May; 2. Hazel Whyte; 3. Seumas Scullion
Judge: Ronnie MacShannon.

March – 1. Cameron May; 2. Kyle Cameron; 3. Finlay Gray.
Judge: Logan Tannock.

Strathspey and Reel – 1. Cameron May; 2. Hazel Whyte; 3. Kyle Cameron.
Judge: Tom Johnstone.

Jig – 1. Cameron May; 2. Hazel Whyte; 3. Kyle Cameron.
Judge: Logan Tannock

Overall: Cameron May.

15 and Under
Ceòl Mòr
– 1. Euan Kennedy; 2. Dugald MacKechnie; 3. Laura Robertson.
Judge: Neill Mulvie.

March – 1. Gregor Grierson; 2. Aly Williams; 3. Euan Lindsay.
Judge: Tom Johnstone.

Strathspey & Reel – 1. Gregor Grierson; 2. Ryan McCreadie; 3. Euan Lindsay.
Judge: Logan Tannock.

Overall: Gregor Grierson.

13 and Under
Ceòl Mòr
(Ground) – 1. Hector Finlayson; 2. Peter McKay; 3. Aaron Hughes
Judge: Ronnie MacShannon

March – 1. Finlay Rowe; 2. Lewis Stewart; 3. Robbie Lithgow.
Judge: Neill Mulvie.

Strathspey and Reel – 1. Hector Finlayson; 2. Finlay Rowe; 3. Peter MacKay.
Judge: Gary Nimmo.

Overall: Hector Finlayson

13 and Under Practice Chanter
Slow March
– 1. Clara Hinchcliffe Martinez; 2. Kyle Kinross; 3. Gaby Kinross
Judge: Gary Nimmo.

March – 1. Clara Hinchcliffe Martinez; 2. Ben McGauchie; 3. Kyle Kinross
Judge: Gary Nimmo.

The competition was held online.


A 12 hour ‘Pipe and Drum Marathon’ is planned for next Saturday (December 12) in the Stirlingshire, Scotland town of Kilsyth to raise funds for local children.

The event is being organised by Jim Todd of the town’s pipe band. Jim tells us: “We’re looking for pipers and drummers who can spare one hour of their time next Saturday.

“From 09:00 to 21:00 we hope to have one piper and one drummer (and one bucket shaker) available to play around the town. Once a changeover point is reached the next set starts off.”

Interested volunteers should email Jim who will provide full details.