Flash the tartan at Gathering celebrates multiple cultures

THE City of Ipswich Pipe Band, one of Australia's oldest pipe bands having formed in 1909 by the Ipswich Caledonian Society, is once again hosting The Gathering.

Over 30 years ago the band started the event, previously known as the Ipswich Gathering of the Clans.

Last year it attracted more than 4000 people to the city. This year The Gathering brings the wider community together in celebration of Celtic music, culture and performance.

In the spirit of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, against the historic backdrop of Ipswich, visitors will witness the colour and spectacle of the Queensland Pipe Band Championships, featuring 250 of Australia's pipe band competitors.

Witness the fling of tartan from the highland dancing competition.

Celtic music, lost arts and a medieval re-enactment will also feature at this annual Highland gathering of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, French, Spanish, and Cornish Celtic cultures.

Visitors can also sample haggis, a Scottish savoury pudding consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag.

But maybe this is not to your taste.

You can learn how to play the bagpipes and even participate in the strong man-style Highland games, featuring the caber toss, a traditional Scottish athletic event in which competitors toss a large tapered pole called a "caber".

The term "caber" derives from the Gaelic word cabar, which refers to a wooden beam.

Maybe you might like to participate in the kilted dash or join in the tug-of-war.

Bring the whole clan along and discover Celtic heritage and historic Ipswich at The Gathering, Sunday, June 23 at Ipswich Turf Club. It's a great family day out set at the Ipswich Turf Club. There will be pipe bands, dancing, re-enactments, markets, vintage British minis, sword fighting, and one of the biggest Highland games in the country.

Tickets are $10 early bird online, or $15 at the gate. We also have a family Clan pass for $25 early bird.

The day starts at 9am, and culminates on the Edinburgh Military Tattoo-style massed pipes and drums at 4pm.

All the details can be found online at www.gatheringfestival.com.au

The City of Ipswich Pipe Band's vision is to develop a pipe band that delivers excellent entertainment to the community whilst providing musical education and satisfaction to its members. It's Strategic Plan focuses on four priority pillars being Education, Entertainment, Competition and Governance and when combined with the band's organisational values of Teamwork, Professionalism, Development, Family and Enjoyment, it is envisaged that many exciting opportunities will be realised for not only the band's membership base but for the wider Ipswich Community.

Actions do speak louder than words. As an example the band is developing the Gathering and a 'High Impact Entertainment' performance package, the re-establishment of a major concert offering for Ipswich and some exciting travel opportunities for both competitive and entertainment purposes, creating economic development for the band and wider Ipswich community.