John McGlashan College Pipe Band members (from left) Sam
Darling (14), Joe Corbett (15), Campbell Ellis (16),
William Archer (14) and Lochie Chittock (14) prepare to
pipe up a storm at the Octagonal Day Contest in Dunedin
today. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Pipe bands in Otago and Southland have avoided ending
their long run of contests in the Octagon on a sour note, by
consulting businesses in the CBD and gaining overwhelming
support for the competition to continue.
Bands attended last year's contests believing they would be
the last to be held in the Octagon because there had been
opposition to the events from retailers.
Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands Association Otago Centre
president Brian Coutts said central business owners had
complained about band members standing in their doorways
''warming up'', and the associated street closures.
However, businesses in and near the Octagon were canvassed
earlier this year and after receiving overwhelming support,
the bands had been allowed to return to their venue of
choice, he said.
All participants had been reminded to respect requests from
retailers to avoid blocking doorways and accessways.
As a result, up to 450 musicians from 15 pipe bands will do
battle in the Octagon today in the annual Octagonal Day
Contest, and tomorrow in the Otago Southland Provincial Pipe
''We're delighted that the contests are going to be in the
Octagon again,'' Mr Coutts said.
''A long time ago, we found the people didn't want to go to
pipe band contests any more, so we decided to take the
contests to the people.
''The Octagon is ideal for that,'' Mr Coutts said yesterday.
''It has food, drink and places to sit and watch.''
Dunedin City Council community events co-ordinator Marilyn
Anderson said the Octagonal Day was expected to be a
highlight for passengers in the city from two cruise ships
stopping over today.
A mass street march would be held at 4.30pm, from the Octagon
carriageway to the Moray Pl intersection with George St, she
Tomorrow will begin with a street march competition from 9am
around St Andrew and Filleul Sts.
The streets encompassed by Moray Pl would be closed to
traffic during the competitions, she said.