The 2018 massed band march at the official opening of the Penticton Scottish Festival, which featured five bands. This year’s event is set to have a record-breaking 114 solo pipers and nine pipe bands attending, making for the largest massed band march yet. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Record number of pipers and pipe bands set to attend Penticton Scottish Festival

The annual event takes place in King’s Park on July 6

The pipes, the pipes are calling and they’re headed to the Penticton Scottish Festival on July 6 in King’s Park.

This year’s event, which is a combination of traditional Scottish Highland Games’ musical and athletic competition with a Celtic cultural expo, is set to have a record-breaking number of pipers and pipe bands compete. According to Shannon Mair, co-ordinator for the piping and drumming competitions with the festival, the event has 114 solo competitors and nine pipe bands registered.

“The pipers and bands are from all over. We have some from B.C. and Alberta, Washington state, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon,” said Mair. “This is a record amount for us this year, it’s far and away our best year in terms of numbers.

“This would certainly be the year for people to check out the massed band. Because of the number of pipe bands, the mass band will be quite a spectacle.”

The gates open for the family-friendly event at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the first competition to take place is the morning Highland dancing. At 8:30 a.m., the solo piping & drumming competition will begin.

READ MORE: Kilt etiquette 101 for Penticton Scottish Festival

At 9 a.m. attendees can witness great feats of strength during the heavy events competition. Next to show off their skills are the dogs competing in the dog agility competition at 11 a.m.

The main stage entertainment and the Celtic kids’ zone will also open at 11 a.m. for festival attendees. This year’s main stage entertainment includes performances by the Naramata Scottish Country Dancers, the Society for Creative Anachronism, Just Tyme, Triskele, Sedona, Gord McLaren, Emily McDonald’s School of Highland Dance and the Vale United Pipe Band.

The event’s beer gardens open at 12 p.m. and the official opening ceremonies and massed bands are at 12:30 p.m., with the afternoon highland dancing competition at 1 p.m. Another dog agility competition takes place within the park at the same time.

The first scotch tasting class will also kick off at 1 p.m., allowing participants to sample fine scotch and learn about the distillation process and history. At approximately 2 p.m., the pipe band competition will be underway, with the second scotch tasting class at 2:15 p.m.

The awards ceremony honouring the event’s champions will take place at 4:30 p.m., with another performance from the massed bands. Then at 5 p.m. is the Celtic Ceilidh in the Park, including a performance by the Victoria-based band Knacker’s Yard.

Attendees will have until the 8 p.m. close to enjoy the beer gardens and the rest of the festival. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and youth ages 13 to 18, $5 for children ages six to 12, and free for children five years and under.

For more information about the Penticton Scottish Festival, visit

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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