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EXCLUSIVE: Piping to return to Forres this summer as MacMoray's Andy Macdonald brings British Pipe Band Championships north


By Jonathan Clark

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A PIPE band championship is set to return to Forres as soon as this summer after a six-year absence.

Andy Macdonald – the man behind MacMoray Festivals in Elgin – has been successful with a last-minute bid to bring the British Pipe Band Championships to town.

Andy MacDonald (centre) is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's CEO Colin Mulhern (left) and director Bob Niven (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Andy MacDonald (centre) is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's CEO Colin Mulhern (left) and director Bob Niven (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The event will take place – as the European Pipe Band Championship did between 2013 and 2018 – at Grant Park, on Saturday, June 8.

A total of 120 bands, 4000 pipers and between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators will be present, with bands set to travel to Forres from across Great Britain and beyond.

The sixth and final visit of the European Pipe Band Championships to Grant Park, Forres. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
The sixth and final visit of the European Pipe Band Championships to Grant Park, Forres. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

According to organisers, the event will generate around £2 million for the local economy.

The championships have been brought to the town to stay according to Andy, who was eager to bring an event back to Moray after hearing so much positivity about the European Championships.

"I'm extremely emotional that I have managed to bring this back to Forres," he said. "It gives me an extra bounce in my step knowing I've achieved something I can be really, really proud of.

"This is such a big event and it's so good for Moray. I went in extremely last-minute with my proposal, but with the attitude and confidence that I want it more and Moray wants it more.

"My plan is to take this event to Forres and keep it here. We need an established championship in the north and we want to attract as many people as we can to Moray now.

"It's going to be such an exciting day out. Anyone who loved the European Championships is going to love this just as much."

The British is one of five major pipe band championships – and there was strong competition to host this year's event.

Colin Mulhern, CEO of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), is delighted to be able to work with Andy and to have an event in Forres again.

Andy MacDonald (left) has brought the British Pipe Band Championships to Forres' Grant Park. Andy is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's CEO Colin Mulhern (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Andy MacDonald (left) has brought the British Pipe Band Championships to Forres' Grant Park. Andy is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's CEO Colin Mulhern (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth

"I was talking to lots of councils and entities that wanted a bite at the cherry," he said. "People want these championships and can see the benefit of them.

"We are averaging 15,000 to 20,000 coming through the gates and one of these events can generate about £1.7m to £2 million for the local economy.

"We worked with Forres Events previously and they were fantastic. The town always puts on a great show. We can see we are going to get the same with Andy, we love his enthusiasm and commitment.

Andy MacDonald (centre) has brought piping back to Forres' Grant Park in the form of the British Pipe Band Championships. Andy is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's director Bob Niven (left) and CEO Colin Mulhern (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Andy MacDonald (centre) has brought piping back to Forres' Grant Park in the form of the British Pipe Band Championships. Andy is joined by Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's director Bob Niven (left) and CEO Colin Mulhern (right). Picture: Daniel Forsyth

"We are really grateful that Andy can see the vision and that he wants to bring this event to the area. If it wasn't for Andy we wouldn't have an event in the north and we like to have one in the north."

The British Pipe Band Championships are taking place after a year out last year. RSPBA chairman, Kevin Reilly, added: “We have worked extremely hard to return the British Championship to the calendar.

"We are honoured to be working with Andy Macdonald, who has made it possible to return to Forres after an absence of six years. Andy’s enthusiasm, passion and drive promises to bring something special to the local area."

Volunteers and sponsorship opportunities will be sought for the event and a website will be created in due course. Ticketing information will also be released soon.

For further information, visit YBD Music's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ydbmusic


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