Nick Tomkins previews the Ipswich Gathering of the Clans to be held at Limestone Park on Saturday.
Nick Tomkins previews the Ipswich Gathering of the Clans to be held at Limestone Park on Saturday. Rob Williams

Only best blow in for tartan extravaganza

IPSWICH will be marching to the beat of the best drums in the state when the clans gather at Limestone Park tomorrow.

More than 3000 spectators are expected to pack into Bill Patterson Oval to see Queensland's premier pipe and drum groups, as they contest for the 2018 Pipe Band Championship.

A 35-strong Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band contingent will be among the sea of tartan, with the group's treasurer and pipe player Nick Tomkins determined to impress the judging panel.

"We've got 12 bands involved this year. They will come from across south-east Queensland," Mr Tomkins said.

"We've got a number of members who are top grade players so we are definitely going out there to win."

The Ipswich group's talent has been bolstered by its introduction of the Greater Ipswich College of Piping and Drumming. Pipe players as young as eight will be performing with the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band tomorrow for the Gathering of the Clans.

Starting at 10.30am, the event features multicultural displays and performances, as well as stalls and even a jumping castle for the kids.

"While we were unable to secure any government funding we do have large growth plans for the gathering, making it a destination event for Ipswich to help contribute to boosting the local tourism economy," Mr Tomkins said.

"Government funding in the future will certainly help that, but until then our event is kept free for the community by a combination of some of our generous sponsors as well as the majority of the funding directly from our pipe band."

Ipswich has also secured the 2019 State Championships and Mr Tomkins said a change to a larger venue with more seating was a possibility.

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard will act as the Chieftan of the Clans, welcoming the visiting players, who will come together for a mass band performance to close off the day at 3.30pm.