LBPS Strategy Day. Glasgow 25 November 2023

Summary of Main Topics Covered

Mission & Objectives

The original aims of the LBPS have been substantially met. It now needs to either:

  • Evolve to become more of a ‘focal point’ bringing people together… more of a celebration of the music, of what we are, and perhaps broaden its scope internationally. At origin much of the music was for dance firstly and one of the missions which could be given more focus is the importance of ‘better understanding the cultures’ of the times through the music being written and played. The significance of song perhaps is also an area which could merit from greater focus and attention.
  • Retain the name but focus exclusively on Border music?

Music is a way to express feelings and express our emotions as human beings, to console and support one another and to share mindfulness. Could we secure UNESCO recognition of the intangible and important cultural role which our music plays?

Musicians and audiences want to enjoy the music they play and listen to - the issue of defining the scope of what a new or renewed LBPS is a challenge but it would need to have a wider scope and could have branches focussing on:

  • Pibroch
  • Highlands
  • Lowlands
  • Borders
  • Burns, given his international following
  • Collaboration with other instruments and music from other cultures? (eg) Wales
  • Historical/ cultural

A ‘Lowland Piping Society’ which ‘promotes culture including music and not tartan’ might be a good way forward. It was felt the:

  • Music must be played and to endure it needs to be played, be broad minded, engaging, fun and encouraging.
  • The LBPS logo needed modernised
  • ‘Border’ could be dropped in any rebranding
  • The SSP don’t really need the Society’s promotion any more and are now capable of being self-sustaining
  • There be a renewed focus on improving links, partnerships and collaborations with other societies not only of music but also song and dance? (eg, the Piping Centre, GDMT, TMSA, TRACS, TDF, People’s Parish, SMG, possibly even the formalisation of a syllabus with recognised academic institutions or indeed our own.

Could the Society be expanded further south as well as focus on attracting more players in mainland Europe? Could events be held in England from time to time?

Is there scope for the creation of a ‘Cauld Wind Piping Centre’ - though not in Glasgow - which could, ideally, include housing the LBPS archive, plus an additional archive of music, and which would further help drive the repertoire?

How does the Society position itself to attract new Lowland pipe/SSP-native musicians?  It was agreed the piping loan scheme had been very successful and perhaps needed managed with a little more rigour to ensure more people got to try and didn’t hang on to pipes owned by the Society.

Name Change

This topic came up at various points throughout the day.  An oscillating discussion continued into the pros/cons of a name and logo change - there seemed to be relatively widespread agreement to the development and adoption of a new logo in particular at this point.

In general, most were in agreement that there is a need for the LBPS to:

  • Evolve and change if it is to be vibrant and successful into the future. Fundamental to this would be a name change as this would give renewed impetus
  • To be more outward facing in nature

Hub andPlatformConcept embracing greater adoption and use of modern technology

The idea of a ‘go-to’ hub portal with sub-areas for music including from, for example, the Borders, Aberdeenshire, Galloway etc but also for historical, cultural archive and events. Such a platform might include recordings, tutorials, material for sale/subscription access to online modules and a new syllabus. Sharing platforms such as Bandcamp were mentioned as possible service providers capable of hosting such a platform. 

40 years of archive has been built up within the Society - we must identify and agree how best to preserve this (see above).

Could we create a calendar of, or diary of performances going on all over the world and should membership be free to school pupils/music students to attract more ‘native’ players?

Being part of a wider pan-European bagpipe tradition, how should we better promote the LBPS’ activities better or in different ways to reach wider audiences in mainland Europe?

How might we better support composers on a platform?


Maintain competitions, in particular, we must try to encourage overseas participation through online entries.

Re-promote teaching and teaching weekends in general.

Pibroch - is there scope to increase focus and perhaps add a concert?

A once-a-year big festival - would this provide more of a focal point for all activities? A suitable venue with a wide variety of accommodation options available at the right time of year would need to be identified. Two strategy day attendees have participated in the Bagpipe Society’s ‘Blowout’ for several years. A sub-group should visit this and maybe any other similar cultural festivals to gather ideas.

The creation of a standing LBPS ‘house band’ to perform at events, such as at the Lorient Interceltic Festival, Piping Live etc. (there is a possibility of such a band participating in the Convenor’s idea for a show to be held in Dunkeld at the end of May). These were felt all to be good initiatives to raise the profile of the music and Society’s activities generally.


The idea/concept of sponsoring or having LBPS Ambassadors was considered to be a good idea through some form of trinkets, badges, shield or whatever was deemed appropriate, incorporating an updated LBPS name and logo.



How do we get closer to makers and support them?

Apprenticeships - there is a very high level of interest in making pipes on YouTube.  Could apprenticeships be promoted through the Princes Trust to young people?

Follow-Up Questions/ Actions

Do we know how many followers we have on YouTube, Facebook etc and what demographics and insights can we learn from this data to better inform us?

How might we plug into/learn/contribute from/to Angus McKenzie’s initiative on Skye?

Should we do a poll of members?

What learnings insights would be glean from analysing the demographics, geographies, ages of our membership data which might inform us further in our strategic deliberations?


There was wide agreement that:

  • Now was the time to re-focus
  • There is a desire to change
  • The day had resulted in a good and constructive dialogue