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Pipes and Drums

Pipe and Drums is a key event at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival

The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival includes competition and performance bands, as well as individual competitors in piping and drumming.

Confirmed 2024 Competition Bands

  • Queen City Pipe Band - Grade 3
  • Pikes Peak Highlanders Pipes & Drums - Grade 5
  • Ciorcal Cairde Irish Pipes and Drums - Grade 5

Drum and bagpipe bands, also often referred to as pipe bands or pipes and drums, are musical ensembles that combine the powerful sound of bagpipes with a rhythmic section of drums.

Here's a breakdown of what they're all about:

Instruments: The core instruments are the Great Highland bagpipe, a bellows-driven instrument with a distinctive sound, and a variety of drums including snare drums, tenor drums, and bass drums.
Structure: A typical pipe band consists of pipers playing the melody, and a drum corps providing the rhythm. The band is often led by a drum major, a figure who directs the band's movements and visual presentation.
Origins: Pipe bands have their roots in Scotland, where they were traditionally associated with military regiments and clans. Today, they are popular around the world and can be found in many countries with Scottish heritage.
Performances: Pipe bands perform at a variety of events, including parades, cultural festivals, Highland Games, and even weddings. Their music is known for its energy and stirring melodies, and their performances can be quite visually impressive.

The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival is proud to host both a band and solo competition as well as opportunities for performance bands to simply entertain by sharing their craft. The performance bands will entertain audiences with traditional music between the stage acts. The competition bands and solo competitors will showcase their skills with marching and tune selection in front of qualified judges.

Solo and Band Competitions
The Festival is pleased to offer solo piping and drumming and band competition. Solo piping is offered in grades 5 through 1 (including piobaireachd); drumming is offered for all grades. You must be a registered soloist or band in WUSPBA or other recognized organization to compete. Band competitions are offered in grade 5, 4 and 3. There will be limited travel and prize money.

The Rio Grande Celtic Festival has been sanctioned as of February 1, 2024 and registration has now closed.

The entertainment schedule will be posted for all entertainment bands.

Information for all Pipers and Drummers:

Competitors will have a wrist band available at will-call. For soloists without a band competing or performing, your information will be submitted by the Chief Steward and a QR code will be emailed to you to redeem at the gate.

Performance and competition bands will have their list of performing members submitted by their Pipe Majors, and QR codes will be generated and sent to each individual to redeem at the gate. Instructions will be sent to band leadership on confirmation.

Failure by band leaders to submit their will-call registration information or of band members to complete their will-call registration will require each band member to purchase their own ticket at the gate at standard pricing.

A site map will be provided for the field layout and location of the competition area.

Band Tents:

Band tents can be 10 X 10 or 10 X 20. All tents must face the field with the 10 X 10 end of the tent (for longer tents). Tents can be staked or weighted.

A tent for soloists traveling on their own will be provided, please bring your own chair.

There will be fire extinguishers in designated tents; there is no smoking or vaping in the tents per the fire marshal.

Other Items:

  • There is no sleeping in the tents.
  • No dogs allowed (per the City of Albuquerque).
  • No grills or open flame for cooking.
  • No alcohol or glass bottles per city regulations.
  • No smoking or vaping in the tents.

Additional Event on the Field:

The City of Albuquerque is hosting the 505 USA Cycling race on Sunday, May 5th. The race starts at 9:00 AM. Access to the field will be more restricted and monitored for the safety of all parties by city employees. The cyclists will be using the paved road around the Balloon Fiesta field (see the site map). The race ends at around 4:00 PM.

If more information is needed, contact Kayla Russo ( with any questions.

Thanks Google Gemini AI for writing portions of the content on this page.