The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI) and Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council have announced the launch of the 2022 Antrim & Newtownabbey Pipe Band Championships. The event returns to the familiar surroundings of Antrim Castle Gardens again this year and will take place next Saturday June 18, starting at 10am.

Pictured left to right: Drum Major Grace Thompson (from Lisburn) Drum Major of Broughshane & District Pipe Band; Mr Winston Pinkerton, President and Life Ambassador of the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch; David Beggs (from Belfast), piper with Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band, Ballyclare; Councillor Stephen Ross, Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey; Oliver McIlwaine (from Ballyclare) drummer with Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band, Ballyclare.

This event will be the third local championship of the 2022 season and will see a return to the competitive event type within the Borough following on from a cancelled championship in 2020 and a non-competitive festival event in 2021. This championship will feature contests for Pipe Bands from Grades Four B up to Grade One as well as Drum Majors of all grades. There will be a total of 32 band performances with 30 drum majors competing on the day.

Upcoming Pipe Band and Drum Major events can be found at the top of the RSPBANI website here. Entries for Ballymena need to be submitted by Thursday, July 7, for Newcastle by Thursday, July 21 and Lisburn by Thursday, August 18.

The Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey, Councillor Stephen Ross, said: “It is wonderful that the Pipe Band Championships are returning to our award-winning gardens in Antrim this month. It is a spectacular event for the whole family and is enjoyed by thousands of our residents and visitors to our Borough each year, all of whom I am sure will enjoy the unique sounds, stunning surroundings and local hospitality.”

President & Life Ambassador of the RSPBANI, Mr Winston Pinkerton, said: “We are continuing our events under our strategy for 2022 of ‘Rebuild, Restart, Rediscover’. Two previous local contests over the last month have been very successful and it’s simply great to hear the pipes and drums again and to see the familiar faces of our local bands and drum majors, all back taking part in something they really enjoy.”

A shuttle bus service will operate from The Junction shopping complex in Antrim; disabled parking will be available at Antrim Castle Gardens.