Pipe band championships to be held in Antrim

The event will be held in June.
The event will be held in June.

Around 3,000 visitors are expected to attend the second Antrim and Newtownabbey Regional Pipe Band Championship event at Antrim Castle Gardens in June.

The event is being organised by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association of Northern Ireland (RSPBNI).

The borough council will host the event at a cost of £15,000.

Traditionally, this competition is held on the third Saturday in July but it has been switched this year to avoid a clash with the annual Antrim Agricultural Show in Shanes Castle.

The organisers turned down the opportunity of holding the event at V36 at The Valley, in Newtownabbey.

Meanwhile, a craft event is to be moved to an indoor location following concerns over weather and a subsequent reduction in visitor numbers.

Mossley Mill has been recommended as the venue for ‘Spinning Yarns’ this September at a cost of £5,000.

The event was held at Antrim Castle Gardens for the past two years and is said by council officers to be “challenged by poor weather”.

Although this is described as “an ever present risk year round for any outdoor event but particularly challenging for the audience profile for this specialist event”.

Council officers have stated that the numbers “reduced significantly” to 1,414 last year, from 1,813 in 2018, which they have acknowledged was “disappointing”.

“There is no doubt the poor weather and warning issued impacted upon this. However, the advance sales were also down so this is not the only reason for the reduction in attendances,” a report to the council’s Community Planning Committee stated.

However, it has been acknowledged that the event “does bring in new visitors with an interest in the specialist offer”.

DUP Councillor Stephen Ross proposed that the event is brought to its “rightful home at Mossley Mill”.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

Michelle Weir , Local Democracy Reporting Service