Information for {New and Existing} Overseas Bands

This page has been created to support Overseas Bands who wish to visit the UK and participate in an RSPBA Championship or Local [minor] contest.

Joining the RSPBA

To play at an RSPBA organised competition the Band must be registered with the Association. Please consider the Articles of Association and Standing Orders and Rules of the RSPBA prior to progressing your application for registration. To register your interest in becoming a member of the Association please contact the RSPBA using the contact page of the website or email

A number of steps are involved in Registering a Band and the Band Members prior to the Band being given a grade and being able to enter a competition.

The “Non UK Annual Subscription Form” will be provided by RSPBA Headquarters in Washington Street. This requests basic information about the Band – Name of the Band, Tartan, Band Secretary and Pipe Major Details and the category of Band membership Adult or Juvenile. Once returned this allows the association to allocate a Band Number and collect the Fee.

The RSPBA Headquarters will provide details on how to make payment for a New Band the 2024 New Band Fees for Overseas Bands are: –
Adult Band: £120.00 in Sterling.
Juvenile Band: £110.00 in Sterling.

Once the Band registration number has been assigned, the Band detail including the status of any Fees payment (New and Renewal) can be found using the Fees section of the website.

Obtaining a Grade and Registering your players

To play in the competition the Band needs to be graded and each playing member of your band must be registered with the association. The Standards and Grading group of the RSPBA (S&G Group) is made up of members from the Music Board of the Association. They will consider the information provided to them and assign the Band to a grade based on the standard of the Band Members joining the Band. The main method for Overseas bands to notify the association of the [initial] Band Members is the completion of a Roster sheet. North American Association Bands have their own version of the RSPBA Roster sheet which can be used. A Roster sheet can be requested from RSPBA Headquarters.

The Roster form when completed should be returned to Headquarters in plenty of time for the S&G group to consider and allow the registration of the players to be completed within the time periods set out in the rules.

Where a roster involves the transfer of a player(s) from a higher grade band to a lower grade band the roster must be submitted allowing the S&G Group time to accept the player into the band and ensure this is achieved providing at least 42 days before the competition in which the player(s) will compete. A player’s band grade is the grade of the last band in which the player was registered. In all other circumstances, rosters must be submitted allowing the S&G Group time to accept the player into the band and ensure this is achieved providing at least 14 days before the competition in which the additional player(s) will compete. Bands may be regraded at any time based on significant personnel changes.

The Association would however appreciate if this form can be submitted as soon as possible to allow the S&G group to meet and discuss the grading and in no case later than 49 days for a higher to lower transfer and 21 days for all other transfers.

The current rules regarding the registering of players can be found in Section 3 of the Standing Orders and Rules.

It is the responsibility of the Band Secretary (Member) to ensure the roster of Band Members is kept up to date. The details of Band Members can be maintained using the Band Administration Forms for Player Release, Player Registration, Dual Registration, Pipe Major Change and Secretary Change.

Entering a Competition

Currently, the Association hold 5 Major Championships throughout the season; these are the Scottish, UK, British, European and World Championships. In addition to these each branch of the association will hold local or minor branch competitions.

Applying to be a member of the association does not convey the right to play in one of its competitions. Every competition, whether it is a Major Championship, or a Local Minor Competition must be entered into in its own right and the fee paid to enter the event.

The Competition dates with the relevant details of where the application can be sent to can be found in the Calendar section of the website as soon as the dates are available.

Applying to enter a Major Championship is done through this web site in the Fees section when the entry is available.

The Draw dates and last entry dates for each Major competition will be available as a news item on this website.

Playing Requirements

The Playing requirements for Championships and Minors is detailed in the Reference Information on Competition Format (Format Guide) – Outdoor Contests in the Music Board Section of the Information, Procedures and Forms page of this website.

Requirements for the Championships are strictly as per the Format Guide. Where changes are made to format these will be notified in this website and the guide update. The requirements for each Major will be made known as a News Item early in the year. Minor competition format generally follows section 8.2 of the guide, however each branch can let you know the requirements when you apply e.g. if the next Major is for an MSR in a grade they may choose to play MSR at the Minor.

Novice Juvenile B, Grade 4B, Novice Juvenile A and Grade 4A

The tunes which NJB / G4B and NJA / G4A bands are allowed to play in a Championship are contained in the Prescribed tunes list. Bands should select tunes within these lists for their competition sets that allow the Band to perform at their best.

On the day of the competition

  • Remember your bus pass (Coach Pass) if you requested one. This will be provided to you from HQ or the Branch on application.
  • Register your band when you arrive. Have someone from the band go to the Registration tent to register the band.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. UK weather is notoriously changeable.
  • Have a recce to find your arena.
  • Arrive at the final tuning area on time. The Stewards will search you out and usher you to final tuning.
  • March up to the line and arrive on time! The Stewards will ask you to move to the line. Please move when requested as the timely running of the competition depends on this.
  • Bring the band to a halt. You will be met on the line by the Director in charge of the arena and they will point out the Ensemble adjudicator (or lead adjudicator for the day at a minor). When they are ready, they will ask you to commence your performance. The PM should give the command to begin.
  • After completing your performance leave the arena on the march.
  • Please leave the beer tent in plenty of time to line up for the March Past. The Stewards and Directors will direct you.
  • Adjudicators’ Critique Sheets will be available at the end of the March Past. An announcement will be made to notify bands where to obtain the sheets.

Accommodation and Transport


Accommodation should be booked as soon as you know the dates of your trip. Try the following web sites –


If the competition is within the ‘Central Belt’ of Scotland it can easily be reached from either the East or the West of Scotland with the M8 Motorway running between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It should take you about one and a half hours to get from one city to the next. For roads north to Stirling and further to Aberdeen and Inverness there is the M90 and A90, A92 and M9/A9.

The American associations wished to point out that in the UK a ‘bus’ is also called a ‘coach’ so search for ‘coach hire’ as well as ‘bus hire’.

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