FDIC Wrapup Part I – The Renegade Pipes & Drums

The 2012 FDIC trip for myself and Captain Wines was excellent. We traveled with Andrew Catron (Kingsport FD) and Mike Elston (Salem FD). Big Mike Elston is a good friend of ours and plays the bass drum for the Virginia Highlands Pipes & Drums as well as Warpipe. Both bands are local in our neck of the woods in Roanoke and neither are fire related bands. We see them play at various events through the year though.

Mike is also a part of the Renegade Pipes & Drums as I am told. The Renegade’s are basically the collective group of pipers and drummers you see at various events throughout the year including FDIC, Firehouse Expo, FRI, NFFF Memorial weekend, and other events. Whoever shows up to play can play and they have formal events like the opening of FDIC as well as informal events such as playing at the various bars in town.

Big Mike playing at the Wild Beaver

Let me tell you, when you stick a pipe and drum band in a bar the size of say the Wild Beaver, it is awesome! Hell, my ears are still ringing.

In short, the pipes and drums are what make events like FDIC so special.

While my education on the Renegade’s is short, I have seen them play at many events throughout the years.

One thing that I really found puzzling was this…

These guys  take time off work, pay for travel, buy hotel rooms, play their hearts out off and on all day long…yet aren’t even offered a convention pass for FDIC.

I don’t know about you, but the Pipes and Drums at events like FDIC are a huge draw for crowds. Without the Pipes and Drums, the event would be missing something. Something huge.

I imagine that the problem is several things…The Renegades might not be organized completely to ask for funds for their trips, they don’t actually bring in any direct money for the events, and even if they aren’t taken care of…they would come anyways because it is what they do. Maybe they are simply too modest to ask for anything in return for their effort and dedication.

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that we aren’t taking care of these guys. Obviously, I could be totally out of line and maybe some of them are being taken care of. Possibly, some of them simply didn’t realize they could get a pass, or hotel room, or help with travel and they missed out. If that is the case, I would like to be part of the solution and let them know how to get a helping hand.

Maybe we should just pass the hat at the bars they play at to collect for a fund for travel.

What do you guys think?