Spring Gatherin is aiming to be bigger and better

Members of the Ulster Scots Agency juvenile band performing at the 2015 Spring Gatherin
Members of the Ulster Scots Agency juvenile band performing at the 2015 Spring Gatherin

The Spring Gatherin’ is returning in this year and organisers are promising it will be bigger and better than the inaugural event which took place in April 2015.

New for this year is the addition of a wider range of bands with flute, silver and accordion bands joining the line-up when the event takes place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April 2016 at Ramada Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast.

Director of events, Colin Wasson said: “It is clear from the reaction of both the participants and audience that the event is a much-needed addition to the calendar of the pipers and drummers in Ireland and beyond. With its laid back style and proximity to its audience the atmosphere created by this mix was appealing to all.

“It also became apparent there was a desire from bands and dance groups outside the world of piping to be included in such an event and create a hub which all genres could buy into and enjoy.

“For 2016, in addition to piping and drumming, we will be extending our welcome to flute, silver and accordion Bands.

“We consider the inaugural Spring Gatherin to have been a great success, with extremely positive and encouraging feedback given from many participants and attendees, and we are delighted that it is returning in 2016.

“Many have emphasised how well organised they found last year’s event to be. In fact, all feedback received has been 100% positive. The common thread we all kept hearing was that pipers and drummers have been waiting for an event like this to happen in the UK for a long time and that they hope it returns for many years to come.”

The Friday night will consist of a special one-off concert specifically put together for The Spring Gatherin.

The full day’s programme of entertainment will commence on Saturday with a series of workshops, which proved to be a great success in 2015, and were very well attended. It is anticipated there will be even more participants for the workshops this year.

This will be followed in the afternoon and evening with performances from some of the best pipe, accordion, silver and flute bands from across the province.

Organisers have revealed that Ravara Pipe Band and Cahard Flute Band are already confirmed with further bands to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band will be part of a Boy’s Brigade fund-raising concert being held on Saturday, February 27, in Holy Trinity Church, Prospect Road, Carrickfergus at 7.30pm. Also appearing on the night will be Ballyclare Male Voice Choir. Tickets priced £5 are available from the Boy’s Brigade Captain or by calling 028 9268 8444.

Just a reminder to keep Friday, March 4, free for Leapoughs Pipe Band’s Scotch Night in Dromore High School.

A full night of entertainment is on offer featuring Drumlough Pipe Band (Hillsborough), Dromore and District Male Voice Choir, Bailies Mills Accordion, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Dickson, Skeogh Flute Band and Ravara Pipe Band. The compere is John Wallace. The evening gets underway at 8pm. Admission is £10 which can be paid at the door.

The members of Cairncastle Ulster Scots will be holding their February Soiree on Wednesday, February 24, in Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally at 8pm.

Special guests are Islandmagee fidlers, a singing duet from Carrickfergus, local band The Grouse Beaters and many more.

There will be plenty of entertainment to suit all tastes and everyone is welcome, including anyone who plays a musical instrument or sings. Admission is £5 includes tea and biscuits.

For more information phone 07810294638 or email cairncastle.ulsterscots@hotmail.com