The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI) and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council have launched the 71st Ulster Pipe Band Championships and Highland Dancing contest for 2022. The event will take place on Saturday, July 23, from 10am.
The venue will be Ballymena Academy, which played host to the All Ireland Championships in 2019.
This will be the fourth local championship of the 2022 season and preceds the RSPBA’s Scottish Pipe Band Championship which will be held the following weekend in Dumbarton. This championship will feature contests for Pipe Bands from Grades 4B up to Grade 1 as well as Drum Majors of all grades. There will be upwards of 33 bands with a total of 45 band performances, 30 drum majors and Highland dancers all competing on the day. Spectators can also join in a free circus skills workshop running throughout the day.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Beth Adger MBE said: “I am delighted to welcome the Ulster Pipe Band Championships to the borough for what will prove to be an exciting and memorable day. The popularity of the competition is well proven, and I know there will be a big crowd from all over the country on the day. We are providing a free shuttle bus between the competition venue at Ballymena Academy and Ballymena town centre so that spectators can also enjoy our retail offering. I would like to thank RSPBA(NI) for choosing our borough for the competition, and to Ballymena Academy for providing such a beautiful venue.”
President & Life Ambassador of the RSPBANI, Mr Winston Pinkerton said: “I am so pleased to welcome the bands, drum majors and dancers back to beautiful County Antrim again this year as we host the 71st Ulster Championships. This contest is regarded as our local major and something that we always look forward to in the season. After the success at Ballymena Academy in 2019 for the All Ireland contest, we are extremely excited to return once again.”
Parking will be provided at Ballymena Academy on the day, with specific areas for disabled parking. A shuttle bus will also be operating between the competition venue and the top of Wellington Street in Ballymena town centre every 15mins between 11am and 4pm. Camper vans are not permitted to park at the Academy site overnight. The closest sites are Broughshane Motorhomes Service points – visit https://www.broughshane.org.uk/motorhomes for details.