Ballymena is set to host the 71st Ulster Pipe Band Championships and Highland Dancing Contest, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have announced.
This year's event will be held in the familiar surroundings of Ballymena Academy on Galgorm Road, which played host to the All Ireland Championships in 2019. The event will take place on Saturday 23 July 2022 from 10am.
This will be the fourth local championship of the 2022 season and will feature contests for Pipe Bands from Grades Four B up to Grade One as well as Drum Majors of all grades. There will be a upwards of 33 bands with a total of 45 band performances, 30 drum majors and highland dancers all competing on the day.
Spectators can also join in a free circus skills workshop running throughout the day.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Beth Adger MBE said:
“I am delighted to welcome the Ulster Pipe Band Championships to the Borough for what will prove to be an exciting and memorable day. The popularity of the competition is well proven and I know there will be a big crowd from all over the country on the day.
“We are providing a free shuttle bus between the competition venue at Ballymena Academy and Ballymena town centre so that spectators can also enjoy our retail offering. I would like to thank RSPBA(NI) for choosing our Borough for the competition, and to Ballymena Academy for providing such a beautiful venue.”
President & Life Ambassador of the RSPBANI, Mr Winston Pinkerton, said:
"I am so pleased to welcome the bands, drum majors and dancers back to beautiful County Antrim again this year as we host the 71st Ulster Championships. This contest is regarded as our local major and something that we always look forward to in the season. After the success at Ballymena Academy in 2019 for the All Ireland contest, we are extremely excited to return once again."
Parking will be provided at Ballymena Academy on the day, with specific areas for Disabled parking. A shuttle bus will also be operating between the competition venue and the top of Wellington Street in Ballymena town centre every 15mins between 11am and 4pm. Campervans are not permitted to park at the Academy site overnight. The closest camp site is Broughshane Motorhomes Service point.
Visit www.rspbani.org or contact the RSPBANI office on T: 028 9267 0445 if you require further information.
There will also be updates at midandeastantrim.gov.uk/events.
Photo caption: (left to right) Zanna Hamill, pupil of Ballymena Academy and tenor drummer with Broughshane & District PB, James Andrews, piper with McNeillstown PB, Mr Winston Pinkerton, President and Life Ambassador of the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch, Councillor Beth Adger MBE, Deputy Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Niamh McMullan, pupil of Ballymena Academy and highland dancer with Johnston School of Highland Dance, Alex Hamill, past pupil of Ballymena Academy and snare drummer with Broughshane & District