Pipe Bands and Competition

The bagpipes represent Celtic heritage like few things can. A rich part of our history, the Reno Celtic Celebration enjoys hosting pipe bands and solo pipers.

Pipe Band Competition

Updated for 2017!

The Reno Celtic Celebration, in conjunction with the Western United States Pipe Band Association, is conducting a FULL PIPE BAND Competition for our 27th games!


Western United States Pipe Band Association Main Website 

If you (your band) are a member of the Association, registration can be completed here:

Reno Celtic Event Registration – Pipe Bands

Pipe Band competition will be Saturday, October 7 starting at 1:30pm and going until 3pm. Winners will be announced at the closing ceremony for Saturday at 4pm.

Sunday (10/8), Pipe Bands will perform in the competition area (near the top of the park after crossing the bridge), during the Celebration. 

Here are the competing groups for:

Jefferson Pipe Band


The Jefferson Pipe Band was formed in 1998 with members from both Southern Oregon and Northern California.  The band has competed before in Woodland, Pleasanton, Portland, Monterey, and Reno and competed last year at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Scotland.  Many band members compete in solo competitions, and the band performs at many memorials and fund-raising events. The band derives its name from the movement that began in the early 1940s to create the “State of Jefferson” from several counties in southern Oregon and northern California.

Emerald Society Pipe Band

Located In Ripon Ca, The Emerald Society Pipe Band is the premier pipe band in the central valley. They play at events throughout Calif including: Bakersfield, Fresno,Oakdale, Modesto, Merced, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton, Sonora, Murphy’s,and other locations. They offer free instruction in piping and drumming ages 7 and older no music experience required.

The Irish Pipers Band of San Francisco

The Irish Pipers Band of San Francisco was formed in 1932 and is the oldest continuously active Irish Pipe Band west of the Mississippi River.  This year marks their 84th anniversary.  Original members of the band were Irish immigrants who desired to maintain the piping traditions of their native land.  The band was a charter member of the Pacific Coast Pipe Band Association. The band played at the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge and at the groundbreaking ceremony for the United Irish Cultural Center.  The pipers played at the charter meeting for the founding of the United Nations.  They have also performed on national television with Gene Kelly and on stage with the Grammy award winning Chieftains.  The band has traditionally participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well as the raising of the Irish flag at City Hall.  They have competed in bagpipe competitions in Long Beach, Santa Rosa, Pleasanton, Campbell, Woodland, Monterey, Portland, Reno and Ireland.  The Irish Pipers Band has been the guest band at the Peace Officer’s Memorial service in Sacramento. The band wears the County Wexford tartan.  The Irish Pipers Band practices on Monday evenings at the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco located at 2700 45th Avenue near Sloat Blvd.  Students of all ages are welcome for free piping and drumming lessons. The web site is www.ipbsf.org.

Prince Charles Junior Pipe Band

Founded in 1967, the Prince Charles Junior Pipe Band is sponsored by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco.  Last year the Band swept nearly all of its contests in Grade 5 and was promoted to Grade 4 by the Pipe Band Association.  The Band, along with the Senior Grade 2 Band just returned from Lorient, France where they were guest performers at the Festival Interceltique. The Band provides a unique opportunity for pipers and drummers to learn from Senior Band instructors. Players who achieve a high standard are then invited to play in the Senior Grade 2 Unit.  All youth who wish to learn are welcome. The  Pipe-Major is  Steven McElhaney. The  Drum Sergeant is  Alanna Deeley.
On the Main Stage:
Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band (Saturday Only)

The Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band found its origins as the Reno Police Department Pipe Band and in 1961 officially formed and became incorporated and is now one of the oldest on the West Coast. In 2011, the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band celebrated their 50th anniversary. They also honored the tradition of pipes and drums in Nevada by teaming up with pipers and drummers from all over Nevada, and then competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in 2012. The band wears the MacKay tartan, in honor of Irish immigrant John Mackay, an early Nevada settler and miner in the Comstock Lode (during the 1870’s), where he made his fortune. The Mackay School of Mining and Mackay Stadium at UNR are also named for him.

Solo Piping Competition

The solo piping competition will occur on the morning of Saturday, October 7, 2017. Competition begins at 8:00am and goes until noon. The competition is sanctioned by the Western United States Bag Pipping Association (WUSBPA). Below are categories, but all registration should be completed through the link above for the WUSBPA website. Thank you!

There are three categories available for solo piping :

Solo Piping Events:
Grade IV Piping
2/4 March
Slow Air/March (32 bar min.)

Grade III Piping
2/4 March
6/8 March

Grade II Piping

Please let us know if you have any other questions.