Bagpiping in Vancouver? How about bagpiping in Las Vegas, baby!

There’s nothing like a great bagpiping competition.

For many pipe bands and individual bagpipers and drummers, it just wouldn’t be summer if we weren’t intensely involved in the exact ensemble execution of our marches, strathspey’s, reels, medleys and parade tunes. The warm days, the sound of the pipes and drums, the friendships, the crowds and the ever-present and welcoming beer garden or tent – it all adds up to a great experience and a whole lot of fun.In BC, the Coquitlam Highland Games at the end of June is one of the best, attracting the best bagpipers and pipe bands in British Columbia and beyond. The beer garden is pretty good too. Everyone in the BC piping scene is on hand to compete, listen, share stories and see who’s on the rise. BC has a vibrant and strong piping community, producing the best pipe band in the world again and again, which has helped to create an atmosphere of high level competition and expectations. We wait so long for the season, and it seems before it begins, it’s all over and we’re headed back into the winter months.

However, when it comes to competition, there’s no better place for that than Las Vegas. And does Las Vegas have an event planned for April 14-17, 2011.

The Las Vegas International Celtic Festival is already on the countdown to the April, 2011 event. This is Las Vegas, so expect a big, brassy competition unlike anything you would ever see in Scotland. The event hopes to draw  more than 90 world-renowned pipe bands to the 2011 multi-million dollar funded event.  The Grade one Simon Fraser University pipe band and the Los Angeles Scots pipe band announced the festival last week by parading down the Las Vegas strip. The event is being organized by the Western United States Pipe Band Association and is being assisted by other North America-based pipe band associations.  The festival has received US$2-million backing from the Las Vegas Events Corporation.

While Las Vegas may seem like an unlikely place for kilts and pipes, the state senator, Dennis Nolan, is a piper and the executive director of the festival. Like the Coquitlam games, this too sounds like a whole lot of fun.

About Mike Chisholm

Bagpiper, writer, fisherman and father born and raised in Nova Scotia, now living in Vancouver area.

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