Council will foot cost of Pipe Band showcase
A SPONSOR for this year's Scottish Pipe Band Championships has still not been found - forcing the council to foot the bill for the second year running.
The popular event, due to be held in Levengrove Park on May 19, generates around £1million for the area's economy and attracts an average of 30,000
people to the town every year.
Cash-strapped West Dunbartonshire Council hold the rights to host the tournament until 2015.
But they haven't been able to find a replacement sponsor for the competition since Chivas Brothers pulled out in December 2010.
The loss of the event's major sponsor was described as "a critical blow" by council bosses and meant they had to stump up £13,500 last year to ensure the event went ahead.
It had been hoped a new sponsor would step forward, but with the championships just weeks away, the local authority confirmed it will have to bridge the gap again.
A council spokesman told the Reporter: "The Royal Pipe Band Championship is a high-profile event and the council is fully committed to its success.
"Although we have not sourced a sponsor for the event, the council is confident this year's event will continue to contribute to the local economy and showcase the area to the thousands of visitors who attend the event every year."
The spokesman added: "The event will be funded through the council's budget."
Chivas Brothers' decision to pull out of sponsoring the event is thought to have come as a result of a saucy marketing campaign featuring half-naked female models which was used to promote the 2010 Championships.
In a leaked document shown to the Reporter, it was said the picture - which shows two topless young Clydebank College students covered in tartan body paint - had angered the drinks giant, as they are banned from using raunchy images to promote their product.
It was also claimed the council had failed to consult them over the move.
But a Chivas Brothers spokesman refused to be drawn on the claims and said the decision had been taken after a review of all of its sponsorship interests.
Denis Agnew, a former chieftain of the games, said he was pleased the council had decided to cover the extra cash produced in order to ensure the games would go ahead.
He said: "They realised the value of the Pipe Band Championships to the economy of Dumbarton. For me it was a no-brainer.
"Last year despite the atrocious weather, it was still a great day. It also generates £1.3million into the local economy.
"It's a great event. To see people from all over coming to Dumbarton for it, under the shadow of Dumbarton Castle, is fantastic."
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 09 May 12
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