A record 127 bands have signed up for this year’s Piping At Forres, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, to be held on Saturday 25 June in Grant Park.
The list includes 11 grade 1 bands - from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland including the current World Champions, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia and 2015 European winners, Field Marshal Montgomery. Whilst the majority of bands are from Scotland, bands have signed up to play from Denmark, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and 5 school bands from Australia.
Of the bands from Scotland - 35 Bands are from Glasgow and the West of Scotland, 26 from Lothian and Borders and Fife, 18 from Dundee, Perth and Angus, 28 from the North of Scotland and 6 from Ayr, Dumfries and Galloway. Local bands from Forres, Elgin and District, RAF Lossiemouth, 2622 Highland Squadron RAF, Badenoch and Strathspey and City of Inverness have all signed up to play in front of their home crowd.
Chieftain for 2016 is former Runrig frontman and critically acclaimed solo artist Donnie Munro.
The competition in Forres is now in its fourth year after the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, who run the competition, awarded the rights to Piping At Forres to host the competition until 2018.
New for 2016 is a Prosecco bar, run by Forres Mechanics FC, which joins the Scottish Gin Bar run by the team from The Drouthy Cobbler, Elgin, to add to the beer tents, that includes craft beers. The entire competing area within Grant Park is licensed allowing adult spectators to enjoy a drink whilst watching the bands. There will also be a Brodie Countryfare’s piping hot café, serving teas and coffees in a seated area.
Several charities will benefit from a free stand at the event: 2Wit2 Woo, Owl Rescue; Help for Heroes; Erskine, Morayvia; Speyfest and RAFA.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Piping in Forres reaches its fourth year in 2016 and I am delighted to say that it continues to grow in size and stature with every staging.
“The event plays an extremely important role in protecting and promoting Scottish culture and heritage and, of course, in attracting thousands of visitors to the Highlands to witness the finest pipers from all over Europe at their very best.
“As in previous years, Grant Park is set to come alive with thousands of spectators and hundreds of musicians, creating a unique and spectacular day for all of those in attendance.”
Tickets are on sale now at www.pipingatforres.com.