Russell overall at Grampian / Musicians get green light for EU tours / Stuart Liddell recital / Piping Live! hailed a success /

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Allan Russell

The results from last weekend’s Grampian Highland Gathering piping competitions were:

March – 1. Allan Russell [pictured]; 2. Calum Brown; 3. Pipe Major Ben Duncan; 4. Gordon McCready; 5. John MacDonald.

Strathspey & Reel – 1. Pipe Major Ben Duncan; 2. Allan Russell; 3. Calum Brown; 4. Gordon McCready; 5. Greig Canning.

Overall – 1. Allan Russell; 2. Pipe Major Ben Duncan.

The Grampian Highland Gathering was the first physical highland games to take place in Scotland since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The games took place in the Aberdeenshire village of Braemar before an audience of 1,000 that included the Duke of Rothesay.

Organisers say a film of the games will be broadcast soon.


Most countries in the European Union (EU) are now allowing musicians to undertake short tours without visas and work permits.

Prior to this, musicians and performers in the United Kingdom (UK) have been unable to perform visa-free in the EU post-Brexit.

Short-term tours without visas and work permits are now allowed in 19 countries in the EU. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.

Touring performers and support staff have been able to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa.


One of the world’s leading pipers, Stuart Liddell is to give a recital in Aberdeenshire this Friday. The 2020 Glenfiddich champion will be at Delgatie Castle near Turriff from 8.00pm. Tickets are £25.

Like many of these old tourist attractions in Scotland, it has experienced a distinct lack of visitors – and therefore income – due to the pandemic. Delgatie Castle, built in the 11th century, is avfour-star visitor attraction.

Contact Joan Johnson for tickets: Joan@DelgatieCastle.com


Last week’s Piping Live! festival has been hailed a success by organisers.

The festival, the 18th, saw a reduced audience of around 1,200 attendees take in 52 events. The festival normally sees more than 30,000 enjoy piping in all its genres. A global audience of 10,000 tuned in from 20 countries.

Piping Live logo

This year’s reduced ticketed events were seated and socially distanced, while online shows remain available to view for one week after their first stream.

Finlay MacDonald, the festival’s Artistic Director, said: “There was a really exciting atmosphere at the festival this year as Scotland moved beyond Level 0 and we’re confident it will mark a new way forward for the music and event industry. It felt really special to be able to host live entertainment for thousands of music lovers again, whilst keeping safety in mind.

“We’ll take a short breath before planning gets underway for an even bigger and better return in 2022 to officially celebrate the National Piping Centre’s 25th anniversary.”

The festival opened with the Silver Chanter and ended with a show by Project SMOK.

A quartet from Johnstone Pipe Band performing at the Pipe Band Lite event last Tuesday (10th).