Scottish Weather for Scottish Festival

Despite the Mayor and the organizers trying to organize a sunny day, there was only brief sunshine and it was a cool day. However, despite everything, the rain held off.  That probably explained the somewhat smaller crowd but it didn’t stop the Scots from coming out to Cobourg’s 56th Highland Games – now called a Scottish Festival.  The massed bagpipe and drums bands thrilled anyone with any Scottish blood (see video below).  And there were lots of  Scottish dancers competing.  Admission was $20 – the same as last year – organizers have given up on “free” or donations. According to the program, there were 19 market vendors and 7 food vendors.  The program listed 19 competing bands as of May 8 – and although Cobourg’s Legion Pipes and Drums Band was not competing, they did participate.

Highland Games 2019
Highland Games 2019

The day started with highland dancing competitions and heavy events although these were interrupted around noon by opening ceremonies.

Town Crier Mandy Robinson did her thing and opened the games – she also thanked the organizers for making her an honorary chieftain.  MP Kim Rudd was the first speaker and was followed by a representative from MPP David Piccini.  All Councillors were there except Adam Bureau – Mayor John Henderson said that Adam was at another community event.  John is getting good at speeches – covers the ground but keeps it short!  Included in the opening ceremonies was a parade of all the clans represented complete with their banners.

When it came time for the massed bands, it looked like it was about to rain so many participants put on rain gear but it was not really needed.  They came into the arena in three groups – quite impressive.

The closing ceremony also had massed bands but I only stayed just past the opening.

Below is a video of the event as I saw it.

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16 June 2019 12:04 pm

Well the admission price being $20 dollars was the reason why my portion of the possible crowd was absent, not the weather. Surely they cost less to opeate than the Waterfront Festival, which is $5.00 for a day pass to the craft vendors and free for everything else.

Even if they wanted to separate out admission to the Games or the Massed Bands and then reduce/eliminate admission to the vendors, that would be better.

manfred s
Reply to  Dan
16 June 2019 5:43 pm

could have something to do with size of audience and costs to put on the show. Spectator venues have more costs and the audience is far more specific, a double whammy, and the 1 day timeframes makes it a very tough trifecta so the ticket price is not as critical, I’d say. There’s a deeper commitment by the audience as well. Just another take on it.

Reply to  manfred s
16 June 2019 6:22 pm

I absolutely agree that at 20 dollars a head, you weed out the curious, and generally interested in favour of the enfranchised. Feels like that adds a certain inevitability of decline though. Everything has natural attrition, so you need to bring in new people to get them interested enough to keep coming back. If you price for the smaller population to support the costs of the event, you end up preventing many new people from having the chance to become part of the population.

And as I was the only one in my group of 4 that counted as ‘enfranchised’ (Having been a performer of Pipes and Drums for most of my life) the 60 dollar fee for the rest of the party was far too much to bear when the primary draw for them that wasn’t just visible or audible from the outside of the fence was a lemonade. So instead we just passed on the whole event.

manfred s
Reply to  Dan
16 June 2019 9:34 pm

understandable, nevertheless, hope enough folks felt it was worth it and sprang for the ticket. They’re having a hard enough time getting funding assistance from outside sources, something they have to have if they want to keep the whole concept alive.

Cobourg Highland Games Society
Reply to  Dan
17 June 2019 7:32 pm

First of all Dan, at $20.00 per head for up to 10 hours of entertainment, works out at a fair price when it can cost $7.00 to rent a 2 hour movie. The Waterfront festival does not have the expenses that we have, which is about $100,000.00
Every Pipe Band, Heavy competitor, the night time entertainment (which is free to the public), fencing, beer tent, public toilets, Bleachers, judges, etc, all have to be paid
Then there are permits that have to be bought, prize money for the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd placed competitors in 5 different categories of Pipe band competition, as well as the Heavies and the Dancers, solo piping and drumming. There are a lot more expenses which I am not taking time to list, but we cannot put the games on for less than $20.00
We do give people a chance to save $5.00 by buying Early Bird tickets at $15.00, up to a week before the games
How do you control admission to the Massed Bands only?
Can’t understand your logic in eliminating vendors fees. So they can profit from what we do all the work for, and we can’t. Are you a vendor?
Try going to some other Highland Games and you will find we are one of the cheapest around.

Reply to  Cobourg Highland Games Society
18 June 2019 2:11 am

I’m not saying “You must do it for less” I’m saying “The price definitely stops ‘some amount’ of people who would have gone from going.” If lowering the price doesn’t increase the volume sufficiently to make up for the lower price, then that is what it is, I just suspect you will see a gradual decrease in attendance. This was observational, not directive. I was never telling anybody what to do or how to do it. I was pointing out that the price of entry dissuaded several in my party, and additionally a number of other people I spoke to. I’m sorry that such information is distressing, though I understand why it would be. You could control admission by not having the area separated by transparent barriers (I saw good sized crowds lurking around -outside- the controlled area watching the events for free) and admitting those who purchased admission for those particular events. I wasn’t suggesting eliminating vendor fees, which I understand to mean “The price the vendor pays for space at the event” I was suggesting eliminating fees for attendees to -access- the vendors. Having that part open to the public pulls in substantially more traffic, some percentage of which might then be inspired by proximity and awareness, to buy tickets to the events which are occurring. Anybody who doesn’t want to attend the events, but might want to see what the vendors have available has to weigh paying 20 dollars up front against only the potential that there will be things for sale they want to buy that are worth paying 20 dollars to access paying the asking price for the items. Has it or could it be considered, if $20 dollars is the price that you’ve found maps onto attendance sufficiently to make this a going concern,… Read more »

Cobourg Highland Games Society
Reply to  Dan
18 June 2019 12:11 pm

Dan, you bring up some good points about a vendor area, and a separate games area, but the drawback right now, is the lack of volunteers to control that kind of event. If we had the people, maybe we could do something like that, but again we have to have extra fencing needed, and to fence off what we do now , costs over $7,000.00 plus tax. Last year we put up a green screen on the beach side to prevent onlookers, and that cost an extra $700.00, so to screen the entire park would cost several thousand more. We also got a complaint from inside the park, as the Heavy competitors lost the off lake breeze. Let’s face it, the 2 biggest attractions are the Massed bands at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, followed by the Heavies and the Pipe band competitions The Highland dancers also take up a huge area of the park, as each family brings a tent to protect the kids from the sun (or rain). We have put barricades up, but they ignore them The solo piping and drumming is actually done out side the park We do have an Early Bird programme, where the tickets are $15.00 each, up till one week before the games. The $20.00 price does help us break even, and also makes us one of the cheaper Highland games around the Province of Ontario. We have also thought of Family Rates for admission, but my biggest bugbear about the admission at the gates is trying to control them with the few volunteers we have, so logistically it wouldn’t be feasible with our current volunteer core Would you be interested in joining us, as you seem to have an insight to what is going on We are a small group of… Read more »