The kilts are packed, the pipes tuned and the Highland dancers are limbering up - the stage is set as final preparations for Pipefest get underway. Taking place this Friday (27 June) the spectacular event will celebrate the Year of Homecoming and mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Over 1,650 participants from across the world including pipe bands, Highland dancers and clan members are travelling from as far afield as Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
The parade which kick-starts Stirling’s Big Weekend featuring Bannockburn Live (Saturday and Sunday), Armed Forces Day National Event (Saturday) and Stirling's Big Night Out (Saturday) will start from the gates of Stirling Castle and proceed through the ancient City of Stirling. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the city during the weekend.
Aberdeenshire-born Pipe Major Ian Duncan will lead thousands of stalwarts of Scottish heritage and tradition with Europe’s only private army - the 175-year-old regiment Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band and Colour Guard.
Visiting Scotland from the USA for the first time will be the popular Columbus Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, which is made up entirely of active, full-time Columbus police officers and firefighters. The Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band from Canada will also have over fifty players take part on Friday evening. The largest group travelling to take park is Dunedin High School Scottish Highlanders from Florida with over 125 participants.
Over twenty five Scottish Clans have registered to take part in the parade including the Clan Currie Society from the USA, Clan MacNicol and Clan McMillan from Australia and the Clan Henderson Society from the USA. Clan Moffat, Clan Arthur, Clan Urquhurt, Clan Bell, Clan Oliphant will also be taking part on Friday as well as local dancers from the Julie Young School of Dancing in Perth and the Theresa Kelly School of Highland Dance.
Closer to home, a number of pipe bands will also take part including bands from Dalkeith, Blairgowrie, Hawick Scout Pipe Band, Forfar and District Pipe Band and The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Association "Balaklava" Pipes & Drums. From England, pipe bands including Harpenden, Scunthorpe, Plymouth and Oldham will also parade through the streets of Stirling.
Pipefest is supported by Homecoming Scotland, The Famous Grouse Experience and Stirling Council.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Pipefest Scotland is an exciting addition to the packed programme of events taking place during our second Year of Homecoming, with participants and visitors from around the globe taking part in the parade on the eve of the Bannockburn Live event.
“Alongside a stunning re-enactment of the battle itself, Bannockburn Live – a key fixture in the Homecoming Scotland 2014 calendar commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn – will feature a programme packed with Scottish music, food and drink, crafts, literature and outdoor activities for people of all ages.
“Scotland is welcoming the world in 2014. Homecoming Scotland 2014 now includes over 880 events, happening the length and breadth of the country, extending the benefits of the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games and positioning Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative country with a rich history and culture.”
Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins said: “We are delighted that Stirling is playing host to this international event and we look forward to welcoming visitors from home and afar to what promises to be a lively, musical and multicultural day. The sight of thousands of pipers and other musicians marching through the city will be an amazing sight and a perfect way to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and to launch Stirling’s Big Weekend.”
The Famous Grouse Experience, General Manager, Stuart Cassells said: “In my new role as General Manager at The Famous Grouse Experience at Scotland’s oldest distillery, I am involved in many heritage and tourist events across Scotland. As a fellow piper and founder of The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, I am especially privileged to be a part of Pipefest 2014, marking the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. I was also a previous Pipe Major of the local pipe band The Royal Burgh of Stirling, so being a part of this great event really does feel like a homecoming.”
Following the finale at the King’s Knot, there will be a ceilidh at Stirling Albert Hall featuring top Scottish band, Whisky Kiss.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For all media enquiries please contact :
Pipefest Event Producer
Pipefest events have taken place around the World including: New York, Indianapolis, Paris, Rome and Shanghai. The company has built up a great relationship with pipe bands around the World. This year the company successfully produced the New York Tattoo and aims to build on this event in 2015. We also look forward to Pipefest 2015, following Pipefest 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010.
6:00 Welcome, at the open top bus (VIP & Media) parked near the top of the Castle Esplanade. 7:00 Parade Start – the Atholl Highlanders will march through the gates of Stirling Castle and lead the parade.
7:05 The Pipefest open-top bus will then join the parade [Block 3]. The bus will park on Broad Street – where guests can watch the parade march by.
7:45 approxThe bus will follow the parade to the Finale on The King’s Knot.
8:15 Finale – 15 minutes With the glorious backdrop of Stirling Castle over 1,600 pipers and drummers will play together.
8:30 Pipefest Ceilidh (informal) – The Albert Halls. (3 min walk from Finale). All guests welcome. Cash bar. Top band, Whisky Kiss are performing at 9:15.
About Homecoming Scotland Scotland will welcome the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 - providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run from 31 December 2013 to 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. To find out more visit www.homecomingscotland.com
Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners.
Notes to Editors:
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
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