The first leg of the Grade 1 competition at year’s Breton pipe band championship has been cancelled.

Organisers, Bodadeg ar Sonerion, cite the ongoing COVID-19 situation in France as the reason.

The competition was due to take place in Nantes on February 13.

The fate of other grades will be decided at the end of this month. Unlike pipe band contests that take place around the rest of the world, these take place on different weekends at different locations: Grade 4 in Pontivy on March 6, Grade 3 in Vannes on March 13 and Grade 2 in Saint Brieuc on March 27.

Bagad Cap Caval competing in Lorient in 2017.

A spokesman for Sonerion said in a statement: “The current health situation and the unprecedented level of circulation of the Covid-19 epidemic have forced the Sonerion Federation to make a difficult decision, which impacts the activity of bagadoù …

“Following a period of consultation with all the groups concerned, the Sonerion Federation has decided: The cancellation of the first round of the first category competition scheduled for Sunday February 13, 2022 at the Cité des Congrès in Nantes.”

January has so far been the month with the highest average cases in France since the pandemic started. Within the last 24 hours, 464,769 new cases were detected, breaking the previous daily record of 368,149 cases. A health pass (pass sanitaire) system is in place for many public venues.

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Celtic Connections is to stage more than 60 live shows after the Scottish Government eased COVID-19 safety measures. The changes will take effect next week after a “significant fall” in new case numbers.

The government removed restrictions on crowd capacities. Large indoor events can and social distancing rules will be dropped.

The 60+ full-capacity shows will be staged across 14 days in venues around the Glasgow.

• Click here for full details and to purchase tickets.