THE STAGE IS set for 105 Pipe Bands from throughout Europe to take to the arena for Piping at Forres next month.
The Benromach-sponsored event has drawn bands from Belgium, England, the Republic of Ireland and Wales as well as those much closer to home for what is anticipated to be another fantastic spectacle for locals and visitors alike.
Current Grade 1 Champions the Inveraray and District Pipe Band has confirmed they will be returning to defend their title. Their band manager Jim McMillan said: “It was a very special day for the band to win their first ever Grade 1 prize at Grant Park – a venue now close to their heart.
“We have travelled all over Britain to pipe band competitions and the Forres event is one of the best organised of them all. The venue itself, facilities and organisation is of the highest standard.”
Ian Widdowson, Chairman of Forres Events Ltd said that everything was now in place for the championships on June 27. He added: “It’s fantastic to see over 100 bands in for the competition, 11 of those amongst the top in the world and such a great spread across the grades.
“It is especially heartening to see so many school and novice and junior bands coming to Forres – the grade 1s of the future.”
Around 20,000 people are expected once more to flock to Grant Park – and while the piping takes centre stage there will once again be plenty to keep every family member attending enthralled. Visitors can have a go at the Pipes and Drums themselves in the Education Centre which this year is being supported by the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation.
There will also be the World Tattie Scone Championship, which is fast become almost as important as the piping, while there will be around 100 stall in total set up around the park.
Johnstons of Elgin will sponsor a craft tent while the Food and Drink Village will include a Walkers Shortbread sponsored marquee featuring produce from throughout Moray, the Highlands and North East.
Children’s activities will see a funfair, bouncy castle and collection of inflatables while this year the STV Appeal are providing a range of activities for children aimed also at raising funds for their cause that seeks to help Scottish children and young people affected by poverty.
Welcoming the third year of the event to Moray is the Chairman of the Moray Economic Partnership, Councillor John Cowe, who said: “We have this fantastic event on our doorstep – with not just the spectacular sight and sound of these top bands competing but also lots going on along the fringes.
“That is particularly true for youngsters – making it a fun day out for the whole family. In addition the event brings in some great publicity for Moray and also some very welcome revenue to the area in visitor spend.”
Chieftain for 2015 will be Mark Laing, whose great grandfather, Sir Alexander Grant, gifted championship venue Grant Park to Forres. He said: “I am honoured to have been asked to be Chieftain of Piping at Forres 2015.
“Grant Park is a magnificent location for this event and I am sure that my great grandfather would have been thrilled to know that his gift to Forres is staging such a prestigious competition.”
This year’s Piping at Forres is also supported by EventScotland and the events team at VisitScotland through the National Programme as part of the Year of Food and Drink.
Tickets for Piping at Forres are now on sale online through www.pipingatforres.com or from Beaver Travel’s Agencies in Forres and Elgin, R&R Urquhart’s office in Forres and Nairn and Brodie Countryfare.