FORMER Runrig frontman Donnie Munro is to be Chieftain of a major European piping contest being held in Scotland.
The singer, now a critically-acclaimed solo artist, will perform at a charity dinner the night before Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships.
Donnie said: “‘I am deeply honoured to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this highly prestigious international event.
“Pipe band music has undergone enormous changes over the years and the professionalism, the quality of musicianship and complexity of performance, is now quite outstanding.
“I am sure this will be a fantastic day out for everyone.”
Alan James, chairman of Forres Events, who are hosting the championships, said: “Donnie is a well-known and much loved figure on the Scottish music scene and we are delighted to have him as Chieftain 2016.
“This is such a wonderful event and a great day out for all the family with so much to do across the park for all ages and interests not least the quality of the bands.”
Tickets have now gone on sale for the event, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which will take place on Saturday 25 June in the town’s Grant Park.
The charity dinner, being hosted by the Forres Rotary Club in Grant Park on the Friday Night, is in aid of Archie’s Foundation and Maggie’s Highland.
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association opened the application for bands to participate in mid-March and the organisers, Forres Events Ltd, are hoping that the number of bands will top 100.
Being based in Europe is not a requirement for bands wishing to compete and, along with enquiries which have already been received from pipe bands in the Netherlands and Denmark, the event will hear the Brisbane Boys College from Australia, who first came in 2014 and plan to return this year.
The family friendly event has been a phenomenal success since it was first brought to the town by Forres Events Ltd, a company run on a not-for-profit basis by a small group of business men and women in the town, in 2013.
It is the biggest single ticketed day event in Moray and in 2015 provided an estimated £1.3 million boost to the region, equivalent to an additional 5,500 working days or 25 full-time jobs in the area.
The European Pipe Band Championships are one of the five major contests run by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, and the only to take place in the north of Scotland.
Skye-born Donnie Munro was lead singer of the famous Scottish band Runrig, achieving huge international success from the 1980s to 1997, before leaving to develop his political and personal career. In 2000, he established his own band releasing a string of highly acclaimed albums in Europe and the UK.
Donnie has performed at some of Scotland’s biggest events including Murrayfield and Hampden Stadium, Edinburgh’s televised Hogmanay celebrations, broadcast live to a world-wide audience of many many millions and also, more recently, the Ryder Cup Televised Concert from the Glasgow Hydro Arena. Donnie is a past Rector of the University of Edinburgh and was first Rector of the new University of the Highlands and Islands.
He is currently Director of Development, Fundraising and the Arts with Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language, Culture and the Arts on his native Isle of Skye and also Chairman of Tobar an Dualchais-the Kist o Riches, a National Cultural Heritage Initiative which has resulted in the creation of one of the world’s most advanced Sound Archives.