IT’S fingers crossed for members of the Lewis Pipe Band who are busy practising in earnest in the hope that they will be crowned grade 4A European Champions when they compete at the European Pipe Band Championships in Forres, Moray in June.
It is the first time that European Championships have been held in the north Scottish town; but the band, whose ages range from 17 to 70, will be under additional pressure as they are being filmed for a documentary by MacTV to be aired later in year.
And out-with their own competition they will also be supporting the Tain Pipe Band – as their Lead Drummer’s mum plays in that band – although fortunately they are in different grades!
Sandy Gomez, Chairman of the Lewis Pipe Band, said: “We are delighted to have a major RSPBA competition in Forres, which is much closer to home for us than most other competitions.
“Having the European Championships in the north of Scotland will hopefully inspire more people to join their local band as it has for us, and this will hopefully see some different bands challenging for top places in the grades.”
Ninety-seven Pipe Bands have already signed up to attend the championships and with a day to go until the closing date, Forres Events Ltd (who are organising the event) are hoping that this figure will top 100 and attract crowds of up to 10,000, making it one of the biggest events in Moray in recent years.
David Urquhart of Forres Events Ltd said: “There’ll be thousands of pipers piping; drummers drumming; 50 dancers (Highland) dancing; judges judging and cooks cooking out in Grant Park in June – and that’s going to be a spectacular sight and sound.
“We want as many people as possible to come along to share in the day whether there to support your local band or just to share in the experience you’ll be assured of a piping hot Forres welcome.”
Bands from all over Scotland, Eire and Northern Ireland – including the current Grade I World Champions, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band – have signed up to play, but there’s still room for more before the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association list closes tomorrow (May 15th).
Tickets for the event are now on sale locally in Moray and through www.pipinghotforres.com.
Advance ticket prices are: Adult (18+) £10 (£12 on day); Youth (12-17) £7 (£8 on day); Under 12 Free (if accompanied by an adult); and Family (2 adults, 2 youths) £28 (£30 on day).