The future of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship is uncertain after it was announced that 2016 will be the last year William Grant & Sons coordinates the premiere Scottish fiddle competition (established 1989). The foundation will instead look to encourage and nurture participation in Scottish fiddle playing by making grants available to other organisations.
Chief Executive of the William Grant Foundation, Nick Addington, said:
We aim to help connect more people to Scotland’s arts and heritage, and to support initiatives that promote, develop and enrich Scotland’s contemporary cultural identity. Whilst we feel that the Glenfiddich Piping Championship continues to be well supported and acclaimed within the piping world as the premier competition for solo piping, we feel that the resources currently dedicated to organising the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship could support Scottish music, including fiddle playing more effectively through grant-making to other organisations.
It is significant that support will be continued for the Piping Championship, the profile of which is higher, it having been broadcast live in recent years. In contrast, recorded excerpts from the Fiddle Championship have featured on BBC Radio Scotland. Results for both tend to be widely reported in the press.
I attended the fiddle event in recent years, and was always encouraged by how well-supported it was in terms of audience numbers. The venue (Blair Castle), while appropriate given its links with Niel Gow, is not centrally located, yet many people make the annual pilgrimage.
It will be interesting to see what emerges to replace the event, at which participation is by invitation. It has stimulated the careers of many fiddle players over the years, including Paul Anderson, Maggie Adamson, and Patsy Reid, and will be sorely missed if it is allowed to fall off.
A grand finale has been planned for what will be the last Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship this 30 October, with all former champions having been invited to attend.
My source for the news was a press release I received from Artisan PR that was issued on behalf of the William Grant Foundation.
Ronnie Gibson, 31 August 2016