I’m not entirely sure what the Octagonal contest is. I know it involves bagpipes but details beyond that I’m a tiny bit lite on. Having stumbled upon the contest in Dunedin’s Octagon, I thought I’d have a go at summing the whole thing up. Here’s what I know, and I must apologize as even in these details I’m making a few assumptions.
In Dunedin each year there’s a Pipe Band contest which is called the Octagonal contest. This involves Pipe Bands from around the South Island. From what I could gather, the bands spend a lot of time standing in a circle warming up by playing a tune and pulling strange faces. Each group then takes it in turns to walk down the street, stand in a circle and play the same tune as everybody else. While doing this, people (who I assume are judges) watch their feet and make lots of marks on paper before everybody claps and cheers. Once finished, the group moves off to discuss their performance while a few of the older gentlemen calm their nerves with a cigarette. This is then repeated by the next group.
On a side note, I would like to mention how mind boggling it is that people who smoke can play the bagpipes. Just how a smoker would have the lung capacity to play the bagpipes for an entire afternoon is quite beyond me. Another mind boggling fact is that the bagpipes are the only known musical instrument to have been used as a weapon of war.