It is with deep regret that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland (RSPBANI) Branch Executive has taken the hard decision to cancel the Lisburn and Castlereagh Pipe Band & Highland Dance Festival, which was due to take place on 3rd September.

This festival was originally conceived by the Executive in conjunction with our branch bands during discussions regarding the planning of a 2022 season programme back in early Spring 2022. The consensus at the time was that the Branch would organise and deliver a festival-type event together with our competitive championships during 2022 in order to ensure there was opportunity for non-competitve bands and players to have an oportunity to play together and in front of an audience. The RSPBA United Kingdom Solo Drumming Championship coincided with this time and a decision to hold both on the same day at the same venue was agreed. The funding for running events will always come down to a number of stakeholders working together, but the timing of the events is mostly down to availability in the first instance with our main sponsors within local councils and their own event programmes.

Following a very busy and successful 2022 competitive programme culminating in the RSPBA World Championships in Glasgow a fortnight ago, it has very recently become apparent that a lot of branch bands are now taking the opportunity for a well earned break, with many band members taking holidays at this time, now that the competitve season has concluded. The Branch Executive appreciates that this has made it extremely difficult for our branch bands to field enough players to attend and perform on the day. The Executive also realises that as we all continue to adapt to the ongoing and fluid changes with regards to our daily lives whilst continuing to work our way out of pandemic measures, the opportunity for family holidays at shorter notice has become more necessary.

As one of the main events of the festival, the lack of bands being able to attend on the day has made it untenable for the Branch to consciously deliver the festival to the public at this time. The RSPBANI continues to have a strong working partnership with all our sponsors, partner organisations, suppliers and of course our performers, who we have worked with previously. The Branch Executive will continue to engage with these stakeholders going forward and welcome working with them all again in 2023.

The Branch Executive Committee when coming to this hard decision wish to pass on sincere apologies to everyone including all our branch bands and volunteers who work tirelessly to make the Northern Ireland Branch what it is.

The United Kingdom Solo Drumming Championship will proceed on the same date however with a change of venue to Greystone Primary School in Antrim. All competitors have been contacted by the Branch Secretary and further information regarding this event will be made available shortly.

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