Countdown is on for piping extravaganza

The countdown to Moray’s biggest one day event which attracts visitors from all over the world is on, with tickets now on sale.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place on June 24 in Grant Park.

Organisers of the event, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, marked the run up to the Piping At Forres with an official launch party held in the distillery.

Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs. 

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

Alan James, chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises Piping At Forres said: “The launch event was a huge success and marks the countdown to what is now a firm fixture on the piping calendar and also a key date in the diary for locals and tourists alike who come and spend the whole day in Grant Park soaking up the atmosphere of the piping whilst enjoying all of the other attractions such as the craft village, food and drink stalls, the funfair and the many interactive attractions that make it a great family day out.”

He added: “Since the first Piping At Forres in 2013, the event has grown and each year there is something new. This year we are delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the park will be cast back in time when reenactors from various historical periods descend on the arena. We have also commissioned a historical walking app which will not only get people moving around Grant Park and learning about its history, but also get people out into the town itself, creating a real carnival feel not just in the park, but throughout the whole of Forres.”

Major General Seymour Monro who will act as this year’s Chieftain also spoke at the ticket launch event. 

He said: “I am really delighted to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this year’s European Pipe Band Championships. It is a spectacular event which has put not only Forres but Moray on the map. From across the world, pipers and drummers travel to Forres to take part. The people of Forres and the organisers of Piping at Forres are now renowned for putting on a fantastic show. As a local man it is a real honour to be able to support this superb event and the launch party has kicked that off very nicely.”

Last year, Piping at Forres drummed up over £1 million for the local economy and was shortlisted for the Best Cultural Event or Festival award in the 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Laurie Piper, Tourism Operations Manager for Moray Speyside Tourism attended the launch party and spoke about the economic and cultural benefit of events such as Piping At Forres.

He said: “Piping At Forres has established itself as one of Moray’s key annual events, attracting patrons from across Scotland and beyond and offering a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy a truly authentic taste of this most special part of Scotland.”

On behalf of Benromach, Ian Chapman Marketing Director added: “We are very proud to have been involved from the very start with Piping At Forres. Piping At Forres promotes the local community and this is something Benromach is keen to support. We are looking forward to this great day out in June.”

Special guests at the launch party were the McNab family from Pitlochry who won a contest to find the family with the most poignant links to piping. The McNabs currently have 11 family members spanning three generations playing in The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band. 

The contest which saw nominations coming in from as far afield as Canada also ties in with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Piping At Forres is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is delighted to again be supporting Piping at Forres, which has grown to be a standout event for the region. 

“Set against the scenic backdrop of Forres, the sight and sound of pipers together with the array of entertainment, ensures that locals and visitors travelling from far and wider to the Championships have a wonderful day out whilst also celebrating Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”

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