Unfortunately, following a site visit this evening with the Perth Highland Games Committee, Scone Palace staff and representatives from RSPBA DPA branch, we have jointly taken the reluctant decision to cancel the 2019 Perth
Perth Highland Games!
It is with extreme regret that the 2019 Perth Highland Games have been cancelled due to poor ground conditions.
It’s never easy to cancel the event, as it’s something nobody wants to happen. This is especially true for the committee who have for the past twelve months been preparing for games day.
I have put together some questions and answers that our critics may find useful.
WHO DECIDES TO CANCEL THE GAMES?
It’s usually a committee decision at the end of ther day, but yesterday’s decision was made with representatives from Scone Palace, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and our traffic management all in attendance.
WHY CANCEL SO EARLY?
If we cancel early we lose around £7,000 or so, on money already spent on advertising, programmes (which are all printed and lying in my hallway), licences, equipment hire, storage, ticketing and so forth. This ensures that there is still money available to stage a games the following year. If we cancel closer to the weekend, work will already have started, and with all our contracts and agreements in force, including penalties, we would be talking a loss of a five figure sum, and no chance of any further games being staged.
WHY NOT HOLD THE GAMES IN THE MUD?
Apart from having to deal with irate drivers, who find their parked cars well and truely immobilised, there are genuine safety concerns for foot racers and cyclists, and indeed, all who attend. Another great (and very costly) concern is that the committee is financially responsible for re-instating the land used for the games to the condition that it was before the event started.
WHY NOT HOLD IT AT ANOTHER VENUE?
I cannot think of a venue that we have not looked at. Bear in mind that we need 125 metres by 70 metres of an arena, about 300 metres for traders and catering, a dancing area, two pipe band arenas along with suitable tuning areas. Then there’s car parking and public transport to consider.
Scone Palace offers four alternatives if our first choice is deemed unsuitable. Unfortunately none was in a good enough condition for the games to go ahead. Switching venue at the last minute is not an option, as we are only licenced (e.g. public entertainment and market trading) for Scone Palace, and the minumum time for any of these to be processed is 28 days.
The North Inch always seems like a good venue (and it is), but car parking is not allowed (and there are restrictions on what can be brought on to the games field), and we were informed by our traders and paying customers that if car parking was not permittede, then they would not support the games. Bear in mind that there are other events in that area in the week prior to, and following our games day, so staging games there has been deemed ‘problematic’. There are similar concerns on the South Inch, with the added condition (of the licences) that any noise, such as loudspeakers, pipe bands etc., is severely curtailed as there are places of worship nearby.
WHY NOT CHANGE THE DATE?
This is being considered by the committee. However, to change would probably see the event take place in either the spring or autumn. The highland games callendar runs from mid-May to mid-September with games being staged on every weekend, and some during the week. There are distance restrictions laid down regarding staging two events, but even if that proved to be alright, we would find it hard to get judges, officials, competitors and traders as they would likely be at the games who already have that date. This is because the games callendar is set out well in advance and everyone tends to book their events for the whole year as soon as possible.
EVENTBRITE TICKET HOLDERS & REFUNDS
Please note, all Eventbrite ticket holders will be fully refunded. If you were planning on visiting Scone Palace, you still can. If you can show that you had purchased tickets you can get entry to the grounds.