Crafters and food producers urged to get involved in final Piping fling

Photos © 2017 GnBri Photography

CRAFTERS, food producers and charities are being urged to get a slice of action from Piping At Forres, Moray’s biggest one-day event.

Piping At Forres which attracts visitors from all over the world is drumming up support for this year’s spectacle by launching a search for stallholders.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, which has been supported by title sponsor, Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, since it first began in 2013, will be held on Saturday, June 30 in Grant Park, Forres for the final time.

Organisers are now encouraging crafters and food and drink producers to get in touch to secure their stalls as it is expected that demand will be big for the final instalment.

Joanna Taylor, a director with Forres Events Limited, the company that organises Piping At Forres, said: “We have already had people getting in touch asking to take a stall. We hope that demand will be bigger than ever before as this is the final Piping At Forres. 2018 will be the sixth year the event has taken place in Forres and we have built up a reputation amongst our traders for our organisation as well as providing them with a great venue.”

Lots to see and do

Photos © 2017 GnBri Photography

Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also hosts a food & drink village, a craft & retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

There are places for over 100 stalls at the event, with spaces available within and outwith the marquees that form part of each village.

Joanna added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local food, drink and craft producers to showcase their products to an audience that comes from all over the world.”

More than 100 pipe bands from across the globe compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year.

How to apply

Information about being a stallholder and access to the online application form is available on the Piping At Forres website.

Piping At Forres organisers are also keen to hear from any businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring the event. There are a number of different levels of sponsorship available. 

Piping At Forres will, as in past years, give a stall free of charge to six selected charities. The selection will be made by the organisers from charities that have applied for a stall using the online process.

As 2018 is the Year of Young People, Piping At Forres is particularly keen to hear from charities that are run by or are involved with young people.

Volunteers are also being sought for the event, with meetings to be held in the weeks before the event. These will be announced online at on the event’s Facebook and Twitter pages @PipingAtForres

Forres man accepts Chieftain ‘honour’ for final Piping At Forres

Piping at Forres Chairman and 2018 Chieftain Alan James at Benromach. Picture: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR & Digital

A FORRES man who has been heavily involved in Piping At Forres has been chosen to act as Chieftain for the occasion.

Alan James, managing director of one of Forres’ biggest employers, was announced as the Chieftain of Piping At Forres 2018 at a meeting held to encourage more sponsors to get involved in the 2018 European Pipe Band Championships which will take place in the town on June 30.

The meeting, hosted by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, attracted both business representatives from across Moray and Highland and people from the tourism industry.

Alan James is no stranger to Piping At Forres which is now the region’s biggest one day event and has in fact been involved with the spectacle in one way or another since it started in 2013.

Alan has acted as chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises the piping and drumming spectacular, for the last two years and has performed the role of accompanying and hosting previous chieftains throughout the event.

An honour

Speaking of his appointment he said: “Being Chieftain is an honour and having accompanied last year’s Chieftain, Major General Seymour Monro, around the park, and Runrig star Donnie Munro the previous year, I have big shoes to fill.

“I am thrilled to have been asked. I thought long and hard about it as I am already involved in Piping At Forres, however, with Piping At Forres in its final year, there was no way that I could turn down the opportunity. We are very lucky in Forres as we have a significant number of public spirited volunteers including a very experienced leadership team and I appreciate the work that they do.”

Alan James began his work life as an apprentice with William Reid Engineers. He worked his way up through the ranks to become the projects director.

However, in 1998, the company went into receivership and Alan used the experience he had gained and set up AJ Engineering & Construction Services in 1999.


Guests were welcomed by pipers and a drummer from Forres & District Pipe Band

Guests to the sponsor meeting were welcomed by pipers from Forres & District Pipe Band, treated to tattie scones courtesy of Elaine Sutherland from Oakwood Cookery School, who each year organises the World Tattie Scone Contest which is held at Piping At Forres, and of course got to sample some Benromach whisky.

Eddie Tomkinson, a director with Forres Events Limited said: “We are delighted that Alan has agreed to be our Chieftain for what is to be the last in the current series of European Pipe Band Championship being held in Forres.

“In 2012 Alan, together with other local business personnel started Forres Events Limited with the aim of convincing the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association that Forres would be an ideal venue for the competition. Their efforts were rewarded because not only did we secure the initial three-year contract from 2013-15 but, because of the event’s wide success and popularity, it was awarded a further three-year contact for 2016-2018.

“Sadly two years ago two of our directors died, leaving a big gap in the leadership team and Alan agreed to take on the role of Chairman.

“It is therefore fitting that in this, our last Championship in this series, Alan not only leads the team in what will hopefully be a fantastic day for all the competitors, traders and public but also on that day he represents Forres as our Chieftain.”


Ian Chapman, Marketing Director for Benromach added: “We congratulate Alan on his appointment as Chieftain of this year’s Piping At Forres. This much anticipated event showcases the musical and cultural talents of the participants, while the attendance of locals and visitors is testament to the festival team and our local community spirit. We are immensely proud at Benromach to have been involved with Piping At Forres from the beginning, and look forward to another great year in 2018.”

Sponsors called upon to get involved in the final Piping At Forres

BUSINESSES are being encouraged to bang the drum for their firms by getting involved in Piping At Forres’ final fling.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place in the Moray town for the last time on 30 June 2018 after a six year run, and organisers of the one day event want to make sure it is bigger and better than ever before.

In January, Forres Events Limited will host an event at the distillery of title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The party will welcome back previous sponsors, but the organisers are hoping that it will also entice potential new investors to get involved with the last Piping At Forres.

Join us at sponsor event

Joanna Taylor, a director of Forres Events Limited which organises Piping At Forres, said the sponsors event held in the Forres-based distillery will showcase why investing in the one day celebration makes good business sense: “This is the last Piping At Forres and is the last opportunity that businesses will have to become part of its legacy. The event attracts people from all over the world.   Grant Park, such an important part of the recent triumph of Forres in Britain in Bloom, will be filled with thousands of pipers and drummers along with many thousands more spectators.  What better place to showcase your business?”

She added: “There are many ways to get involved with the event. Our sponsorship packages are designed to be attractive to a range of businesses and budgets. Packages can include opportunities to be involved in advertising of and at the event, retailing your products in one of the two “villages” set up within Grant Park and entertaining current or potential customers or staff in our Chieftain’s marquee. The investment does not need to be huge and individual, personal sponsors are also welcome.”

The event has been supported by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky since it began in 2013.

Marketing director Ian Chapman said it has been a great platform for the brand: “It was a very strong event from the start. Those who have attended it have been very impressed with the infrastructure and the layout in the park and its location within the town and I think that contributes to the success of the event.”

Positive experience

He added that for Benromach, supporting Piping At Forres has only been a positive experience and one Ian would recommend to other businesses: “We are very proud of our association with the event because it promotes the local community, but it is also an opportunity to raise brand awareness.”

He added: “The event is helping raise general awareness of the brand within that type of audience. For any company that wants to be involved with the high-quality event, that’s the real attraction that’s one of the reasons we got involved.”

If you are keen to find out more about becoming a sponsor at Piping At Forres or attending the event at Benromach in Forres on January 18 email Joanna at

Pipes call out to young people to get involved

Representatives from youth organisations, schools and any groups which involve or have a focus on young people are being encouraged to attend an event with the possibility of being involved in Piping At Forres.

Organisers of Piping At Forres are holding an opening evening on November 22 to gauge interest from these groups on how they would like to be involved in next year’s event.

Piping At Forres is celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and wants to find out how best to involve the community.

Ainsley James, former depute rector of Forres Academy has taken on the volunteer role of coordinating any young people’s events related to the European Pipe Band Championships which will be held in Forres for the last time on June 30 2018.

Year of Young People

Ainsley who retired after 18 years at Forres Academy in 2016 said: “I am delighted to be working with Piping At Forres particularly with a role related to the Year of Young People. We really want young people to be part of the one-day event and want to celebrate and showcase the achievements of the young people of our community.

“Excellent relationships already exist with youth groups who have participated in previous events however we are keen to offer more opportunities and support to the community’s youth in new and different ways. There are so many possibilities out there. The evening will be informal and will very much be a two way conversation. We already have some ideas about how we want young people to be involved, but we are also looking for inspiration. We need people to come to us with their ideas, so that we can sift through all the options.”

She added: “The age range for the Year of Young People is 8-26 so we know there are huge possibilities out there. Knowing what the local community in Moray is like, the hard part will be having to turn people away.”

A spotlight on youngsters

The Year of Young People 2018 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

It follows on from the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology this year and the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design in 2016.

If you are interested in finding out how your group could be involved in next year’s event join us at the Courtroom in the Tolbooth on Wednesday, 22 November at 7pm.

For more information you can email Ainsley at

Forres twin town associations in Chieftain’s Marquee fundraiser

VISITORS from Forres’ two twin partners will kick off the weekend of Piping At Forres with a celebration in Grant Park.

Guests from Vienenburg in Germany, and two students from Mount Dora in America which are both twinned with Forres will descend on the town the night before the piping extravaganza for a fundraising event.

The party was the idea of sixth year Forres Academy student Laura MacPherson Zieger who approached Forres Events Limited, the organisers of the European Pipe Band Championships to hold the event.

The event is being held to raise money to send two Forres Academy pupils to Mount Dora on exchange next year, plus a number of younger pupils to Vienenburg in the following year.

Laura said: “I heard about the Chieftain’s Marquee when a representative from Piping At Forres and Forres Rotary Club came into the school to do mock interviews with us to prepare us for university and job interviews. One of the questions I was asked is what I would use the Chieftain’s Marquee for and it made sense to use it for a fundraising event. That’s really where the idea started.”

The event which will feature The Dunphail Ceilidh Band and the German guests singing folk songs will take place on June 23.

David MacFarquhar, chairman of the Forres-Vienenburg Twining Association which is supporting the event and has been involved in the organisation of the celebration said: “This is going to be a fantastic event and is a great way to kick off what is going to be a spectacular weekend for the town of Forres. Laura and her team have put in such a huge amount of work and tickets are already like gold dust.”.

Tickets priced at £10 must be purchased in advance. They are on sale at the Fact Office in Leask Road.




Walking app will encourage visitors to explore town’s rich history

A walk in the park – The app will encourage visitors to the town to explore the rich local heritage the town has to offer. Left to right are app developer David Sim, Forres Events director Eddie Tomkinson, and volunteer Paul Johnson.

A WALKING app which will provide self-guided tours around Forres and will highlight its rich and colourful history is now available to download.

Organisers of the European Pipe Band Championships, Piping at Forres, commissioned the app to help people explore the heritage of the town and its people.

The free to download app has been launched in the run up to Piping At Forres which takes place on 24 June 2017, and which is celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

Joanna Taylor from Forres Events Limited, which organises the event now in its fifth year, said: “We are delighted this app is now live.

Easy to use

“With an interactive map, both audio and written commentaries and great photographs, it provides a very easy to use piece of technology and includes a trail map which guides the user around the town highlighting key locations such as the Town Hall, Sueno’s Stone, the Falconer Museum, the Old Longview Hotel and the. Whether you are a visitor to the town or a local resident this will give you insights about the town that will fascinate you.”

She added: “If you complete the whole tour, it takes an hour and we hope that people who visit Piping At Forres will take the time to download it before coming to Forres.

“Then, as well as enjoying the Championships, they will also be able to take in the many other interesting landmarks that Forres has to offer. The aim of the app is to get people, whether they are locals or visitors, to enjoy moving around the town as they learn about the long and varied history of the town, its sites and colourful characters.

Long-term benefits for Forres

“Whilst the app is being created on behalf of Piping at Forres, it’s not just going to be available on one day, our intention is that it will keep delivering benefits for the town over time and can be added to and developed even further.”

The app was created by Moray-based software company Openbrolly. Director David Sim said: “Right from the start we’ve built something that is easy to use and easy to update in the future with new walks and updated information. It is an exciting opportunity to be able to work on an app alongside an event that will bring so many people to the town. The app will take visitors a little further afield into the town and allow discovery of what it has to offer.”

Paul Johnson, who volunteered to help research the information about Forres within the app for Piping At Forres, said: “Forres has a fascinating and long history. I am used to telling some of its story to our visitors at Carden Cottages but I have learnt a lot more about the area. I am sure the app will be of interest both to those who live locally and those who come to Piping At Forres as visitors from outside the area.”

This year, Piping At Forres, which is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs and new to this year an interactive science tent.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Forres Walking App – iOS

Forres Walking App – Google Play

Be a Have-A-Go Hero at Piping At Forres

There’s lots to do at Piping At Forres and this year we have a new attraction. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play the bagpipes or how many Gaelic words you know? The Have-A-Go Row located in the Retail Village is filled with interactive activities that you wouldn’t get to do every day.

Come along and have a go, you never know, you might just find a new interest, hobby, or even an undiscovered talent.

  • RSPB – Sharpen up your observation skills with the RSPB and learn to birdwatch like a pro.
  • The Keith Kilt and Textile Centre – Make & Take – create a crazy felting miniature or make a card and find out more about the kilt and textile courses on offer.
  • The Squeezebox Shop – Hear the accordion played by an expert and maybe even have a go yourself.
  • The Discovery Tent – The Forres & District Pipe Band will let you practice your puff on the pipes and bang the drum to your heart’s content!
  • Moray Gaelic Group – Dip your toe into the culture of the Gaels – and have a go at the language – with the help of the Moray Gaelic Group
  • Historic Environment Scotland – In keeping with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology you can delve into the history of Forres and Moray with tailored crafts and get hands on with artefacts discovered around the region.
  • Battle Scar Entertainment will have actors dressed in historic costume roaming the arena bringing history to life as they engage the public with stories from the past. There will also be the chance to make your own battle mask.
  • We are hoping the snow will stay away today, but you never know in Scotland! Just in case, you can test your skills with Moray Sports Foundation who will be on the park with their ski ergometer.
  • Get a taster of life as a Highland Reservist with the Highland Reserves and Cadets Association.
  • Delve into the past of Cluny Hill with archaeologist Dr Leif Isaksen and his team who are excavating the site which is thought to be an Iron Age hill-fort

Science and the sun set to shine at Piping At Forres

Firth Flyer – From left: George Goudsmit and Campbell Maclennan from AES Solar with Bill Graham and the Firth Flyer from the T-Exchange which will be displayed in the Science Tent.

Piping At Forres is delighted to welcome the only Scottish solar panel manufacturer, based in Moray to this year’s event to entertain visitors with the power of the sun.

Forres-based firm AES Solar is operating an Interactive Science Tent at Piping At Forres and it is encouraging little and big kids alike to pay them a visit.

George Goudsmit, managing director of AES Solar explained: “Piping At Forres is a huge event for Moray and of course Forres where we are based, and as a local business it is really important for us to get involved and be part of it. We could have taken a stall but that’s not how we operate at AES. We want to create something fun and unique which will be enjoyed by all, but that will also provide information about how we can harness the use of the sun and what a powerful source of energy it is.”


AES Solar has created the free attraction by collaborating with a number of organisations.

Visitors can be expected to be wowed by the Firth Flyer, a solar plane which will be making its debut journey across the Moray Firth in the coming months and they can also become a remote pilot of the Mars Rover with the T-Exchange, a group which combines creative thinking, practical skills and new or old technology to make innovative objects and devices.

T-Exchange member Les Grosvenor will also be there with his experimental Model Railway “Plank” which will show how a simple model railway shuttle system can be powered by a solar panel, whilst the Falconer Museum of Forres will be there its Kinetic Bike.

There will also be STEM Ambassadors co-ordinated by Aberdeen Science Centre who will have plenty of interactive activities such as engineering challenges, and maths and science puzzles too.


George added: “This has taken a lot of planning and we want to ensure that there are plenty of hands-on activities. We are delighted with the response and we are very fortunate to have such a wide range of interactive experimental things for the visitors to Piping At Forres to do.”

AES Solar was established in 1979 to manufacture solar thermal panels and has been run by George Goudsmit since 1989.

AES Solar has been involved in a number of landmark projects such as the first ever domestic Solar PV roof installation in the UK in 1995, and more recently has carried out work on a project on the Royal Estate at Balmoral.

The company trades worldwide and has export customers in markets as diverse as Scandinavia, Africa and South America.

Recently, AES Solar launched a new service for custom-built solar panels which can be shaped to accommodate difficult roof areas whilst the frame can be manufactured in any colour.


Businesses urged to bang the drum for the town – and win a prize!

Piping At Forres is delighted to be working alongside the Forres Business Association who are encouraging businesses in and around Forres area to beat the drum for the town by getting involved in the event.

Organisers of Piping At Forres and the Forres Business Association have launched a competition where businesses are being encouraged to immerse themselves in the event and they could win a £150 prize.

Marc Hindley from the Forres Business Association explained: “Big events such as Piping At Forres, Colours of Cluny, and the Findhorn Bay Festival for example can mean big business for the town, but it’s important that local
businesses feel part of these events too, hence why we are working with the organisers at Piping At Forres on this competition.

Open to all

“The competition is open to all businesses in the IV36 postcode area, and it’s really important that we stress that. The business association is not just about the High Street.”
He added: “It may be that shop owners want to dress their windows with a piping theme or tie it in with the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology which Piping At Forres is part of, or it may be they want to create some kind of item to sell, or food outlets such as the restaurants, cafes, bakers and butchers create a culinary delight with a piping or drumming feel. The options are endless, we want people to be creative and we want our businesses have fun and tap into the event.”

“The event brings thousands of people to the Forres area, and making visitors feel welcome has great long-term value for the town and its businesses, and not just those in the tourism sector.”
Ideas need to be in place by Monday June 12 and judging will take place on Friday, June 16 a week before the European Pipe Band Championships.


Moray Speyside Tourism Operations Manager Laurie Piper (third left) attended the Piping At Forres launch party and will judge the FBA competition.

Judging the entries will be Laurie Piper, Operations Manager with Moray Speyside Tourism and Jo Robinson, Visit Scotland’s regional director.
Laurie Piper said:  “This is a great idea by the Forres Business Association. Events like Piping At Forres are crucial for the area and entice people not just from across the region but from around the world too. What better way to get people interested in your product or shop than by creating something unique that’s going to make people want to stay longer and potentially visit your business.”

Economic impact

Last year, Piping At Forres generated over £1m for the local area according to an independent economic report and the feedback study gave the event 9 out of 10 for overall customer enjoyment and attracted more pipers than ever before.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “I would encourage all the businesses in this area to get involved in this competition, which is a bit of fun but also shows that they are getting behind this hugely successful annual event, which brings so many visitors into the town. 

“Tourism is leading economic transformation in Moray Speyside through redevelopment and expansion of existing products, innovation and bringing new opportunities to the visitor economy.”
Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.
Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

Please email FBA Marketing Officer by June 12 with your completed ideas to ensure that all the information is handed to the judges for June 16th.

Forres Pipe Band will play at Euros

Gordon Roy was the star of a video promoting Piping At Forres

A PIPE Major who became an internet sensation when he appeared in a video promoting Piping At Forres has said he is delighted his band will be taking part.

Gordon Roy who leads the Forres & District Pipe Band has confirmed that the band will be taking part in this year’s event.

But he said, that whilst the Grade 4B band is looking forward to the event, running a pipe band is becoming increasingly difficult due to recruitment.

Gordon said: “We actually decided relatively late that we were going to take part in the European Pipe Band Championships as we were not sure we would have enough people to make up the band. It should be a given that the band from the town that holds event take part, but we were not sure we would manage. It would have been unfortunate had we not been able to get something together, but we have managed and we are really looking forward to it.”

He added: “We have around 30 playing members who age between 12 and 73 years old, but the problem lay with the drumming. We just couldn’t recruit enough drummers. However, we are delighted that this problem is now solved and we have been practising to prepare for the Championships.

“This isn’t a problem that is unique to Forres, we are in touch with pipe bands throughout the country and everyone is feeling the difficulties.”

To address the issue of getting new members, Forres & District Pipe Band has a vigorous youth training programme and offers tuition on the pipes and drums free of charge to anyone in the local area who wishes to learn.

“Our free training programme has been up and running for about a year. It was the brainchild of our chairman and piper John Channon who saw a real need for it and the programme is working. What we are seeing is that there is a desire for young people to learn this skill,” explained Gordon. “It is part of Scotland’s history and heritage and we feel we have a duty to ensure that it doesn’t die out. Whilst we have had a few problems over the last couple of years, we believe that through our recruitment programme we will be creating pipers and drummers for generations to come and that is something that feels great.”

Gordon hit the spotlight in May when a promotional video for Piping At Forres went viral on social media. Gordon was filmed playing Flower of Scotland at numerous historical locations in and around Forres including Nelson’s Tower and Brodie Castle. The film was viewed almost 30,000 times and reached over 72,000 people on Facebook.

Speaking on the success of the film, Gordon said: “I had great fun filming, it was long day and never have I had to play the same tune so many times in one day, but it was worth it. I was delighted to be asked by the team at Piping At Forres, but never did I expect it get such a huge response.”

This year, Piping At Forres, which is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs and new to this year an interactive science tent.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

If you want to find out more about the Forres & District Pipe Band contact the band secretary Elaine Mcallister at or call  01309 676736.