City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bagpipes Ban Lifted in Edinburgh's Twin


By edg - Posted on 11 April 2012

So the skirl of bagpipes will still be heard above the burr of city traffic in downtown Vancouver. After a surprising flurry of global media coverage over a ban on busking with bagpipes, drums, and bongos in Edinburgh's twin city, Vancouver's mayor Gregor Robertson has promised the ban will be lifted.

"There will be no ban on bagpipes or drums busking in #Vancouver - not on my watch!" tweeted the mayor, who is often credited with helping the city shake off its previous moniker of "No Fun City". 

Pity the poor staff member who quietly implemented the regulation and brought the global armies of bagpipers virtually bearing down upon Vancouver's City Hall.

What started as a local news story, quickly escalated after catching fire on social media networks.

The mayor, a proud Scot, who wore his kilt when being sworn in, happily jumped into the foray:

"I’ve asked city staff to review this issue; Council won’t support an outright ban on specific instruments. My first reaction is that a complete ban on bagpipes and percussion instruments across the city is ridiculous and culturally insensitive. The clans won’t stand for it!”‬

The Toronto-based Globe and Mail which carries a limited number of Vancouver news items each day ran with the bagpipes alongside harder news stories about Vancouver's notorious serial killer and tar sands pipelines, as well as the pressing matter of whether Vancouver's ice hockey team can win the Stanley Cup (without another riot).

The Glasgow Herald, reporting from the launch of the 2012 World Pipe Band Championships, where generations of Vancouver pipers have seen success with their piping prowess, rallied to the cause.

Even the Scottish government saw fit to issue a press release after the ban was lifted yesterday.

"I welcome the fact that common sense has prevailed," declared Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop.

In its press statement, the Vancouver mayor's office struck a conciliatory note for all those would-be bagpipe-haters:

"Staff will continue to gather noise level readings, monitor complaints and work with musicians and performers to see how these instruments can be permitted in a way that is acceptable to the public," it said.

Adding, in case there was a shred of doubt:

"As the Mayor has made clear though, Council will not support an outright ban on specific instruments, and certainly not bagpipes."