Lorient Festival – Scots and Irish Soloists and Bands to the Fore

John Kelly reports from the Lorient Festival Interceltique in Brittany…..

Eleven pipers from Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, USA, Australia and New Zealand competed for the 38th MacCrimmon Trophy held at the Palais Des Congrés at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient on Sunday 5th August.

The winner was Stuart Liddell from Scotland who received the winning trophy from Festival Director, Lisardo Lombardia (above). The eleven contestants were: Brittany: Quentin Meunier, Gwenael Le Connoch and Cédric Le Bozen; Scotland: Christopher Lee, Stuart Liddell and Robert Barnes; Ireland: Andy Wilson and Grahame Harris; USA: Andy Carlisle; Australia: Kyle Warren and New Zealand: Liam Kernaghan.

Showing there are no borders in piping, Lisnamulligan Pipe Band (from Northern Ireland) and New Ross and District Pipe Band (from Southern Ireland) also took part in the festival. Sharing a chartered flight with other Irish musicians they left Dublin on Thursday 2nd August and arrived back in Dublin on Monday 13th August. The trip was organised by New Ross and District Pipe Band member Brian MacMahon (Chairman of the Irish Pipe Band Association) and Lisnamulligan Pipe Band member Nicola Bready.

Lisnamulligan and New Ross pictured after taking part in a pipe band competition featuring nine international bands on Saturday 11th August

In addition to playing the familiar piping tunes ‘Scotland the Brave’, ‘Killaloe’ and ‘Amazing Grace’; the bands treated the festival audiences to a great selection of well-known Irish tunes including, ‘Black Velvet Band’ ‘Molly Malone’, ‘Galway Girl’ and ‘The Wild Rover’.  On Sunday 5th they took part in a massive parade through the packed streets of Lorient featuring some 4500 musicians, singers and dancers from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and Australia etc.

For five evenings the two Irish bands played together as they joined an international cast of bands, musicians and dancers as they took part in the ‘Interceltique Night’ at the Lorient Football Stadium which concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.

Grahame Harris and members of Lisnamulligan and New Ross pictured prior to performing at the Interceltique Night at Lorient football stadium

Headed up by Louis Anderson, a talented 12-year-old drum major from Armagh, the bands played separately at various parades, stage shows and concerts in Lorient during the week.  On Friday, Lisnamulligan Pipe Band enjoyed an enjoyable day out on the beautiful Island of Groix. They paraded the island and entertained appreciative audiences as they performed in the town centre and at various locations. The band also played each time they embarked and disembarked from the ferry.

Finale of the pipe band contest at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France on Sunday 5th August

On Saturday afternoon the two bands went head-to-head as they took part in a pipe band competition featuring nine international bands. Lisnamulligan won three fourth place prizes and New Ross won three fifth place prizes.

Attracting some 750,000 visitors and spectators, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient is 10 days of 120 stage shows, concerts and events featuring 4500 musicians, singers and dancers from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and Australia etc.  There was a variety of activities including music workshops, conferences, concerts and parades every day and bagpipe competitions. Bagpipe, accordion, Celtic harp, drums, pipe bands etc will all add to the theme of the festival.


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