MORAY’S first major pipe band competition has been hailed as a success by organisers and visitors.
More than 17,000 people flocked to Grant Park in Forres in June to hear 120 bands take part in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s European Championships.
The event – christened Piping Hot Forres – was the biggest single-day ticketed event held in Moray last year, and maybe even the largest ever.
And in an online survey, visitors ranked their overall enjoyment of the championships at 9.2 out of a possible 10.
This year organisers from Forres Events Ltd are hoping to improve on that success.
The championships will be held on Saturday, June 28 in Grant Park, and will form part of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2014, along with events such as the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
The European championships are the only one of the five major competitions run by the RSPBA to take place in the North of Scotland.
It was supported by a wide range of local, regional and national businesses and agencies, with a core team of volunteers giving hundreds of hours of their time to help bring the event to fruition.
The overall winners were the Field Marshal Montgomery band from Belfast, while local band Elgin and District topped the Grade 4b section.
Ian Widdowson, chairman of Forres Events, said: "With thousands of pipers and drummers competing, this was a great day out in 2013. We aimed to provide something for everyone, with more than 100 stalls, two funfairs, Highland dancing, four beer tents and an alcohol licence across the whole park, allowing people to enjoy an amazing event in the stunning natural amphitheatre of Grant Park.
"We are already working hard to ensure that 2014 is as successful, if not better."
The online survey also revealed that 72% of those responding were aged between 31 and 60, while 17% were between 10 and 30, and 11% over 60. Half of those attending came from outwith the IV postcode area, while 73% came from outside the IV36 (Forres) postcode area.
Of those who travelled more than 50 miles to the event, 55% stayed overnight.