Ballantyne calls for Pipe Band support

Wednesday August 19th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Michelle Ballantyne MSP has called on the Scottish Government to reconsider its rules on pipe and silver band practise during the Covid-19 crisis.

In a motion submitted to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Mrs. Ballantyne stated that current restrictions mean that Scotland is the only country in the UK where outdoor band practise is currently forbidden.

The current rules will also prevent pipe and silver bands from being able to practise indoors during the cold winter months; a time when many bands begin to rehearse new material for the following year’s season.

Concern had previously been raised about the danger of pipes releasing water vapour, however, the use of synthetic materials, desiccant filters and water traps mean that pipes are now considered a ‘dry’ instrument.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:

“Pipe and silver bands play a hugely important role in civic life in Scotland and are often a focal point of the community. It is therefore absurd that Scotland’s COVID-19 guidelines make it the only country in the UK where pipe bands cannot practise.

“In addition to damaging community life, the current ban serves to stifle musical education as pipe and silver bands are often a valuable source of local music tuition.

“Pipe technology has come a long way and pipes are now safer and more hygienic than ever before. With this in mind, I urge the Scottish Government to review its current rules on pipe and silver band practise and to urgently update bands on whether they will be able to practise indoors this winter.

“After all the recent challenges they have faced, we need to give our local bands a fighting chance and help them make the most of next season. It’s time to pay the piper and I hope the Scottish Government will review its current rules and support both Scottish communities and one of the country’s most iconic cultural exports”

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