Stream It All! Bagpipes Delivered to the World!
The historic free live stream of the Glenfiddich Championship was a rousing success, I’d say. Congratulations to Iain Spiers on his first win. If you were one of the (at peak) more than 800 viewers, you dragged yourself out of bed in the wee hours (like me), lost sleep watching it into the night (if you were in Australia), or simply enjoyed the afternoon sipping tea in your living room. The chance to see a top notch bagpipe competition like this doesn’t come around every day, and congratulations to the National Piping Centre for the initiative to leverage modern technology and bring this event to the global piping community.
What is perhaps most surprising is how easy it seemed to pull off. I recognize that it was a bit of hard work to set up and run properly, but those things only require extra manpower and equipment. The simple fact that it came off so smoothly really highlights the fact that it should be an assumed part of any major piping event. You almost have to make up reasons to NOT do this. Much of the time, all it takes is the will. And before anyone starts to quibble about money, let me say that while I was very happy to watch the Glenfiddich for free (as were a lot of folks when they watched the Worlds), I would have gladly paid for the chance as well.
We in bagpipe circles get very excited about events such as the Northern Meeting, the Bratach Gorm in London, the Silver Chanter and others. Many times these competitions are reserved for the very few who actually turn up to watch. I remember a photo of the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban of Jack Lee playing one of his piobaireachd when he historically won both the Senior Piobaireachd and his second Gold Medal at the same event. If the room had fifteen people in it watching I am being generous. It is high time these events are served up to the global pipers who are so enthusiastic about them. The extra time, money, and manpower are almost negligible given the amount of enthusiasm and the technologies that exist today. I say stream it all! If the global community of pipers are not able to watch many of the major piping events streamed over the internet within a couple of year’s time, I would consider it a failure.