Some 42 bands and 45 drum majors from throughout the Province arrived at Sandy Bay Playing Fields in Larne on Saturday for the Co Antrim Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships.
But, with pouring rain and not a sign of a break in the clouds, the event organisers, the Co Antrim Section of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland (RSPBANI), postponed the event saying that another date will be set if feasible.
In a statement, the branch said it wanted to express its “extreme disappointment that the Larne contest could not proceed [on Saturday] despite the huge effort that the Co Antrim Section and Larne Council had put in to stage one of the largest contests of the year”.
The branch added: “Ground conditions were deteriorating to such an extent that health and safety risks had to come into the considerations as well as the problems the incessant rain could pose to the instruments, especially with the UK Championships at Stormont next Saturday.
“The RSPBANI Branch will work with the Co Antrim section over the next few days to explore every possibility of rearranging the event to a date later on in the year.”
Ray Hall, the branch chairman, said: “I personally feel a great empathy with the Co Antrim section who, after a very emotional meeting, together with Branch Officers, had to make the decision that the contest could not go ahead.
“A similar decision had to be made at Enniskillen last year but most of the contest did take place. It was even more heart-wrenching to not be able to start.
“Last year I and the Co Fermanagh section were heartened by the messages of support we received from bands and others. I have no doubt that this support will be extended this year to the Co Antrim section.”