A year after putting on what was widely acclaimed as one of the greatest shows ever seen in Moray, Forres is set to go bigger and better when the European Pipe Band Championships arrive in the town on Saturday.
‘Piping Hot Forres’ will close with a spectacular parade of all 119 participating bands led on to the arena by children from Applegrove Primary school.
Following winners presentations all 4000 pipers and drummers will come together as a massed band – and as a grand finale the grade one bands will present a rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’ in tribute to its writer the late Roy Williamson, who once lived in Forres.
Chairman of Forres Events Ltd, Ian Widdowson commented: “This is the hottest ticket in Forres this June – to see and hear the best in piping and drumming out in Grant Park is really a spectacular sight and sound and one not to be missed.
“The team here including all our volunteers, sponsors and supporters, want to make this a great family day out so we urge you to come along and support your local band or just soak up the fantastic atmosphere.”
The Grant Park arena will open at 9am with the first bands competing one hour later – and from there it is music all the way with continuous piping in four arenas until 5pm.
For breaks in the music itself visitors can visit a Craft Marquee by Johnstons of Elgin alongside a wide variety of trade stalls. Household names at Piping Hot Forres this year will include Walkers Shortbread and the Brodie Countryfare Piping Hot coffee shop.
For those keen to learn a little more about the arts of piping and drumming there is a ‘just try it’ education centre with equipment supplied by Pearl Music and McCallum Bagpipes in an area sponsored by the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation.
Parking around the arena will be at a premium – so organisers Forres Events Ltd are urging the use of public transport wherever possible, although a free park and ride system will be in operation throughout the day from the specially designated spectator car park at the Horizon Enterprise Park to the east of Forres on the A96.
Police warn that alcohol should not be brought to the site nor anything in glass containers, while bags will be subject to random searches by professional security stewards. However, the whole arena has been licensed for alcohol and that allows people to carry drinks around the spectating areas – normal licensing restrictions will apply and anyone purchasing an adult ticket may be required to produce proof of age.
Three Forres publicans will be running the three bars around the arena – Chanter Bar, the Drone Bar and the Grace Note Bar, with drinks prices, including draught beer, set at normal High Street prices.
Tickets for the event will be in the form of wristbands that allow spectators to come and go freely throughout the day.
Adult (18-59) – £12
Senior (60+) – £10
Youth (12-17) – £8
Children under 12 go free if accompanied by an adult, although they must be in possession of a wristband.
A family ticket is also available allowing 2 Adults and 2 Youths to enter for £30.