THE POPULARITY OF Moray’s hosting of the European Pipe Band Championships has been further enhanced with the news that more bands than ever before have entered the event this year.
Piping At Forres say that with 127 bands signed up for the June 25 event, a new entry record has been created – with the prestigious Grade 1 event seeing 11 bands from around the world arriving in Moray.
Present at Grant Park will be the current World Champions, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, as well as the 2015 European champions, Field Marshal Montgomery. They will join bands from Denmark, the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland – and even five school bands who are flying in from Australia.
Joining the world-wide galaxy will be local bands from Forres, Elgin and District, RAF Lossiemouth, 2622 Highland Squadron RAF, Badenoch and Strathspey and City of Inverness – who have all signed up to play in front of their home crowd.
Chieftain for the championships, being hosted by Forres for the fourth time, is former Runrig frontman and critically acclaimed solo artist Donnie Munro.
Local businesses are once again playing a major part in the event – for this year that includes a Prosecco bar, run by Forres Mechanics FC, who join the Scottish Gin Bar run by the team from Elgin’s Drouthy Cobbler.
The entire competing area within Grant Park is licensed allowing adult spectators to enjoy a drink whilst watching the bands with a number of beer tents available – while there will also be a Brodie Countryfare piping hot café, serving teas and coffees in a seated area.
Several charities have taken advantage of free a free stand at the event including 2Wit2 Woo Owl Rescue, Help for Heroes Erskine, Morayvia, Speyfest and the Royal Air Force Association.
Alan James, Chairman of Forres Events Ltd, which runs the event, said: “We are delighted to see so many bands signed up for Piping At Forres and each can be assured of a warm Forres welcome.
“This a truly magnificent day out and the sight and sounds of all these bands – some the best in the world – is one not to be missed.
“We work hard to ensure that the day has something for everyone from all ages including the very young. Our loyal sponsors and our fantastic band of volunteers to whom we are indebted help keep the park looking great and keep ticket prices low.”
Ian Embelton, Chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association added: “With so many bands signed up the Europeans look set to be a great competition this year.
“Forres is a wonderful venue and much enjoyed by the bands and I am always so impressed by the effort that goes in by the team in Forres to make this such a great day out for the whole family.”
Tickets for the most anticipated event of the year are still available at Beaver Travel in Forres and Elgin, Brodie Countryfare, The Bookshop, Logie Steading, Brambles Boutique, Nairn, and Ewe & Me, Aberlour and Grantown-on-Spey.