Thu, Mar 2, 2023 9:00 AM
The pipes were calling at Lansdowne Park this weekend as Highland bands competed in an event unseen in Marlborough for many years.
About 300 musicians in 14 bands from as far as South Canterbury took part in the RNZPBA Canterbury Centre Blenheim Pipe Band Contest.
Blenheim and Districts Highland Pipe Band president Allan Cameron says the two-day competition went well, despite spotty weather on Saturday.
“It’s been a great weekend and the feedback I’ve had has been very positive,” says Allan.
Traditionally, bands would travel south to compete, Allan says.
“For us, it’s been the first time we’ve hosted an event like this in a long time.
“We’re hoping it will come back.”
The Canterbury centre team took care of judges and paddock marking and a lot of the admin, Allan says.
Council’s communication and support were lauded, both by Allan and the Christchurch organisers, with council also providing event sponsorship for the event.
“Council have been very supportive.
“It’s been a highlight, actually,” says Allan.
RNZPPA centre president Mark Weir echoed Allan’s praise of council.
“We’ve had the most amazing communication and support from council,” he says.
Mark says the Blenheim competition was a welcome addition, with the Nationals taking place at Hagley Park, in Christchurch, in two weeks’ time.
He says the top-tier competition is a reflection of the popularity of Highland bands in the South Island.
“We’re the most active centre in the country with a big emphasis on youth,” Mark says.
Allan says the competition was close, but competed in good spirit.
“Everybody’s helped each other out.
“The band community in New Zealand is really healthy.”