MANCHESTER WILL stage one of the UK’s biggest international pipe band weekends on September 17-18.
The event, United Pipers for Peace, will see up to 20 pipe bands from around the world fly in from the US and various parts of Europe, along with bands from different parts of the Britain and Ireland.
The family-friendly free festival will feature some 400 musicians — pipers will take over the city centre! Ten different city centre locations will host performances. The festival weekend will feature a grand parade through the city centre along with a multi-denominational service for peace at Manchester Cathedral as well as a service of remembrance.
The festival been organised by the Manchester-based Fianna Phadraig Pipe band as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations.
Pipe Major Peter O’Connor commented, “It is an essential event of our time, with up to twenty pipe bands assembling to remember all the victims of all conflicts, past and present, and adding the sound of the pipes to the growing call for lasting peace.
“The event is completely free of charge and has been kindly sponsored and supported by individual sponsors and through donations from our friends and family. As you can imagine to stage such an event is a major financial undertaking and without their support, it would not have been possible.
“We have included a band for ‘Lone Pipers’ so that pipers and drummers not part of an established band can join in the event to make it as inclusive as possible.”
United Pipers for Peace is an event devised and first staged in 2016 by the French band Samarobriva Pipes and Drums, based in Amiens, France.
The aim was to remember and pay tribute to the fallen of the Great War, the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, 1916 in Picardy, near Amiens.
The has tribute continued every year since. Manchester’s event is the first time it has taken place outside France.
Pipe Major Peter O’Connor said, “We cannot help but think of the horror, suffering, destruction and death being inflicted at this very moment on the people of Ukraine.
“Ukraine is close to home and we feel the immediacy of this nation's plight. But neither must we forget the numerous conflicts raging throughout this world.
“We are not naive. United Pipers for Peace will not put an end to global conflict. Twenty pipe bands will not bring peace to the world. But the event will bring people together people of different origins, beliefs, philosophies and cultures.
"Many of us in the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band are a little longer in the tooth than we would care to admit, but one lesson we have all learnt from a lifetime in our beloved institution, travelling throughout Europe and further afield, is that strangers are our future friends, foreigners are our new neighbours, distant cultures are not a threat to us, but rather a gift to embellish our own lives.
“So let's, all together, make United Pipers for Peace Manchester 2022 a weekend of friendship, unity, acceptance, inclusiveness, sisterhood and brotherhood!”
The participating bands include:
Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band, Wythenshawe, Manchester
Samarobriva Pipes and Drums, Amiens, France
The 91st Gâtinais Highlander Pipe Band from Moigny-sur-Ecole, France
City of Apeldoorn Pipes and Drums from Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Huntly and District Pipe Band, Scotland
Hudson Highlands Pipe Band, Cold Spring, New York
Oldham Scottish Pipe Band
Manchester Community Pipe Band
Newtonhill Pipe Band, Scotland
Askol Ha Brug in Blain, France
Weilerswist District Pipe Band, Germany
M22 Pipes and Drums (aka Lone Pipers)
Northenden Pipe Band, Wythenshawe
Bolton Caledonia Pipe Band
Accrington Pipe Band, Lancashire.