If you don’t like the sound of bagpipes, maybe stay away from the Queenstown Recreation Ground on February 24 and 25.

The Rec Ground and adjacent Queenstown Memorial Centre are the venues that weekend for the inaugural Queenstown Pipe Band Championships.

They’re being organised by former Royal NZ Pipe Bands’ Association president and Otago Centre president Allister Macgregor, who believes the resort can become a world-class pipe band competition venue.

These first champs are being attended by 12 bands between Auckland and Invercargill, including the Queenstown and Southern Lakes Highland Pipe Band.

Solo piping and drumming comps are being held on the first morning, before the band comp starts that afternoon and continues the next day till 12.30pm.

The Saturday street march contest will held on the Rec Ground.

Local pipe band bagpiper Dave ‘Spoon’ Macleod, who’s contesting the solo piping comp alongside bandmate Clifford Hisscock, says it’s ‘‘fantastic’’ these champs are being held here.

‘‘We’ve been practising hard for probably six months.’’

He says the band, which includes about eight members from Cromwell and Alexandra, is dominated by pensioners, however it’s also got some young blood — ‘‘they’re good pipers’’.

Macgregor says ‘‘we’re dipping our toes in the water’’ ahead of much bigger Queenstown champs next year — they’re being held March 1 and 2, just five days before the national champs start in Invercargill.

He’s picking there’ll be 25-plus bands next year including possibly entries from Scotland, the United States and Australia.

This comp will also be livestreamed.

Macgregor believes Queenstown could become one of the world’s best destinations for pipe band comps, helped by our international airport.

Though the ranks of pipe bands used to be filled by old white males, he says there’s nowadays a much greater focus on youth and diversity.

He admits pipe bands playing badly can sound like squeaking cats, but says it’s very different when they play well.

Perhaps those bagpipe haters should in fact check out this month’s event.

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