Pipe Band event for Gardens

Antrim Castle Gardens will play host to the Ulster Pipe Band Championship in July.
Antrim Castle Gardens will play host to the Ulster Pipe Band Championship in July.

Antrim Castle Gardens is set to play host to the Ulster Pipe Band Championship next year, with council providing £12,000 funding for the event.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association had contacted Antrim and Newtownabbey Council back in June about using the Castle Gardens for their regional finals next year.

At that time, the organisation indicated that a bid from the council in the region of £12,000, plus “in kind” support estimated to be approximately £5,000, would be sufficient to secure this event.

Councillors were informed at Monday night’s Operations Committee that their bid had been successful with the event scheduled to take place on July 23.

The RSPBA anticipate that 50 bands, a total of 1,500 competitors, would participate in the event, which could attract in the region of 3,000 spectators.

Ursula Fay, Head of Arts and Culture at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, said that while the date of the Pipe Band Championship “clashes” with the annual Antrim Show, organisers are aware and are happy to proceed.

Alderman John Smyth, Chair of the Operations Committee, said it would be good if there would be “co-ordination” in the promoting of the two events to maximise potential.

His comments were echoed by Councillor Jim Montgomery who said that while it was “unfortunate” the events were happening on the same day, and in close proximity to each other, with “co-ordination the two events could enhance each other”.

Cllr. Montgomery said the Pipe Band Championship was a “prestigious event”, televised, and a great opportunity to further promote the Castle Gardens as a venue.

“The Gardens are becoming one of the most prestigious locations in the country for hosting events,” Cllr. Montgomery added.

He proposed the committee accept officers recommendation in providing £12,000 funding for the Pipe Band Championship, plus £5,000 “in kind” support.

His proposal was seconded by Councillor Neil Kelly and agreed by committee.