Ten of the world’s greatest solo pipers are set to compete in this year’s Glenfiddich Piping Championship, which celebrates its 50th edition at the spectacular Blair Castle on Saturday, October 28, 2023.
With advance tickets already sold out, this year’s event is shaping up to be a formidable competition in front of a packed crowd at the stunning Perthshire venue.
Competing this year are defending champion Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Callum Beaumont from Dollar, Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Nova Scotia pipers Alex Gandy and Bruce Gandy, Edinburgh’s Alasdair Henderson, Innes Smith from Glasgow, Fred Morrison of Bishopton, Jack Lee from British Columbia, and Milngavie’s Finlay Johnston.
This year’s competitors were once again chosen from the list of qualifying events, with Willie McCallum the Overall Winner of the 2022 Glenfiddich Piping Championship. Callum Beaumont won The Clasp for Senior Piobaireachd and the Former Winners MSR at the Northern Meeting, where Innes Smith was the Gold Medal Winner and Finlay Johnston took second in the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel.
Angus MacColl was the Senior Piobaireachd winner at the Argyllshire Gathering, with Alex Gandy winning the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel, Alasdair Henderson taking the gold medal and Jack Lee taking second place in the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel at the same event. At the Scottish Pipers’ Society of London Competition, Fred Morrison was named the Overall Champion, while Bruce Gandy was awarded the Bratach Gorm, as well winning the Piping Live! Masters Solo Piping Competition overall prize.
The pipers will play in both the Piobaireachd and March, Strathspey and Reel disciplines, with prizes awarded for each discipline, as well as an overall Championship winner.
The judges for the day will be Murray Henderson, Bob Worrall and Jack Taylor for the Piobaireachd section, and Ian Duncan, Ian McLellan and PM James Banks will judge the March, Strathspey and Reel. Fear An Tighe (Master of Ceremonies) will be John Wilson.
After 47 years, Liz Maxwell, who has been the main organiser of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship, is taking leave of her involvement in the Championship and is entrusting its organisation to The National Piping Centre.
The landmark 50th annual event will welcome live audiences to Blair Castle’s impressive Victorian ballroom whilst also being live streamed, allowing piping fans around the world to experience all aspects of the competition from home.
The National Piping Centre’s Director of Piping, Finlay MacDonald, said: “We’re so pleased to announce this year’s competitors and judges for the 50th edition of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship. As always, audiences at the magnificent Blair Castle and around the world can expect fierce competition and a world-class display of piping from our outstanding competitors. It’s a fantastic milestone to be celebrating, and we’re honoured to be taking the torch from Liz Maxwell, who has been an integral part of the Championship for the past 47 years. Advance tickets have been in high demand and have now sold out, but anyone wishing to watch this historic event can do so online from anywhere in the world.”
The Championship will get underway at 10am on Saturday, October 28. Advance tickets have now sold out, and there will be a limited number of tickets available on the door at Blair Castle, priced at £20 per person or £15 for concessions. All in-person tickets include a programme. The online show is priced at £15 and will be available to view live and for one week after it is first streamed. Copies of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet, which features results from the past 49 editions, will be available at the castle for £5.
Livestream tickets for the Glenfiddich 2023 are available here.
Following the competition, the annual Pipers’ Ceilidh will take place in the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, with a limited number of tickets for this also available for purchase for an additional £65 on top of a competition ticket. There are also a number of special events planned as part of the 50th edition celebrations, with details being announced in the coming weeks.
The prestigious Championship, which was first held in 1974, was established to inspire the world’s finest exponents of Ceòl Mòr or Piobaireachd (the great music) and Ceòl Beag or light music (the little music). Run by The National Piping Centre, the world centre for excellence in bagpipe music, and funded through the William Grant Foundation, the event is held annually in Perthshire.
For more information on the Glenfiddich Piping Championship 2023, please visit www.thepipingcentre.co.uk/glenfiddich.
The Glenfiddich Piping Championship 2023 competitors:
Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
Callum Beaumont, Dollar, Scotland
Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
Alex Gandy, Nova Scotia, Canada
Alasdair Henderson, Edinburgh, Scotland
Innes Smith, Glasgow, Scotland
Bruce Gandy, Nova Scotia, Canada
Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland
Jack Lee, British Columbia, Canada
Finlay Johnston, Milngavie, Scotland