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Lorient Interceltic Festival 2015

On Wednesday the 5th of August, the band embarked on its 4th trip over to Brittany, France to take part in the Lorient Interceltic Festival. The festival started in 1971 and since then has grown to become one of, if not the biggest Celtic festival in the world.

Almost 1 year of practice went into the bands preparation for this year’s festival, with the Isle of Cumbrae taking centre stage as leading Scottish band for the second time.

Our trip began with a 12 hour overnight bus journey from Ardrossan down to Plymouth, to catch the 8 a.m. ferry over to Roscoff. After a 5 hour ferry journey we were onto the final leg, with a three hour drive into Lorient.

After some long overdue sleep on the Thursday night, rehearsals started at half past one on the Friday afternoon. The band's experience proved to be crucial in collaborating with the other two Scottish Bands (West Coast Highlanders & London Scottish) and resulted in one of the smoothest rehearsals in history. Following the rehearsal was a sound check and finally a full concert rehearsal lasting until after 11 at night.

The Saturday was relatively quiet, with three pipers playing at Golf Cel Trophy presentation at the Val Quéven Course. Then it was onto the first night of “Le Grand Spectacle, Nuit Interceltique”. This was the concert which the band participated in on the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. The concert itself is similar to the “Edinburgh Tattoo” with acts from all around the world collaborating to produce a spectacular three hour show in front of 13,000 people each night in F.C Lorient football stadium. The show’s popularity speaks for itself, as it was broadcast on prime-time French television on the Saturday night attracting 3,184,000 viewers.

As leading band it was our responsibility to arrange a 5 minute medley for all the Scottish bands to play. Music had been sent out months in advanced and hard work applied in practices with the other bands throughout our stay. This year’s medley also had a personal touch as the final tune in the set was composed by Callum Paterson, a player who was taught by members of the band and continues to play with us. The tune is a jig written for another band member, Harry Ellis who has played with the band for 9 years and both Harry and Callum were immensely proud to hear the tune played by three different bands, in front of such a large audience, on such a special occasion.

On the Sunday the band participated in “The Grand Parade”, where every year more than 700,000 people gravitate towards the historic naval port of Lorient, intent on celebrating the music and cultural heritage of the Celtic world. The parade itself has over 3000 artists, dancers and musicians who take part in this colorful event. Like the “Grand Spectacle”, “The Grand Parade” is also broadcast on French television and the band did itself proud by performing a starburst in front of the cameras, before reforming seamlessly (the playing wasn’t bad either).

On top of the “Grand Spectacle”, the band also performed 2 solo concerts, one in the town of Lanester and one in the Espace Marine in Lorient. Both concerts allowed the band to show off our expansive repertoire, encapsulating the crowd as well as getting them involved from time to time. From these two concerts the band intends to release its second C.D which will come from live recordings.

Lastly rounding off a great 12 days was the Pipe Band Competition. For a non-competing band, who did little to no practice finishing fourth in both the MSR and Medley competition is a credit to our members, showing the vast array of talent we have in the band. Fourth also meant we were the best Scottish band in the competition, however the next time we attend we will be more prepared and ready for the challenge.

The general consensus from the band was that this was quite possibly the best band trip we have ever been on. The fun, laughs, jokes and socialising were brilliant, but the playing and sound of the band was one of the best in its history.

To see photos and video clips of the band in Lorient please visit our media page.



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