PIPING Hot Forres is ready to make a noise with the official launch of tickets for the European Pipe Band Championships.
The competition, which made its debut last year, is set to attract more than 100 bands from Moray and around the world to compete in their grades for European champions titles.
A group of voluntary directors formed Forres Events Ltd to win the bid to host the event for three years, starting in 2013.
Grant Park will be the venue again on Saturday, June 28, with an expected crowd of up to 20,000 making it the single biggest crowd-puller held in Moray.
The competition is organised by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), based in Glasgow, but Forres Events Ltd is in charge of the practical planning for the day.
The group of six Forres businessmen and women have the goal of improving the local economy and securing the town’s reputation for holding a world-class event.
Chairman Ian Widdowson promises this year to be “even bigger than last”.
“It is a good family fun day out and it was a really happy day last year, and we anticipate more this year,” he said.
Last year’s grade 1 winners were the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland, who performed in front of more than 17,000 spectators who gave the event a 9.2 out of 10 satisfaction rate.
Elgin and District Pipe Band were champions in the Grade 4b section and will return to compete along with pipe bands from Dufftown, Forres and 2622 Highland Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment.
Pipe majors and Highland dancers have their own contests, and all those who want to register entries with the RSPBA have until May 14.
Johnstons of Elgin, Walkers Shortbread and Brodie Countryfare’s Piping Hot Café will set up stalls to serve food and drinks which will give a taste of Moray. Forres Events Ltd have also received grant funding from the Community Food Fund which will promote Moray’s local produce.
Last year there were 100 stalls, two funfairs, four beer tents and an alcohol licence across the whole park.
Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky is the main sponsor this year, and added support comes from Springfield Properties and Highland Spring, the suppliers of bottled water for the event.
The competition will also be part of the Year of Homecoming Scotland, which showcases Scottish events in addition to the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.
Tickets can be bought from R&R Urquhart’s offices in Forres and Nairn, Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin, Beaver Travel in Elgin and Forres, the Northern Fish Restaurant and online at www.pipinghotforres.com