Pipe Band “disappointed” over Fireballs “snub”

One of last year's intrepid Fireball swingers
One of last year's intrepid Fireball swingers

Stonehaven Pipe Band have said that they are “extremely disappointed” not to have been asked to play at the town’s Fireballs ceremony on Hogmany, an event which they say they have “supported almost as far back as the ceremony itself”.

The Band issued a statement today to say that the decision was taken by the Fireballs Committee after the Pipe Band were unable to agree to a request to entertain the crowds for a longer time than in previous years.

The statement in continues: “The Members of Stonehaven Pipe Band would like to make it known to the people of Stonehaven, and indeed the wider audience that is attracted to the fireballs each year, that they have not been asked to play at the Stonehaven Fireballs ceremony on Hogmanay 2017. An event we have supported almost as far back as the ceremony itself.

“This decision has been made by the Fireballs association committee who feel that the band are not committing enough time at this event. The band has always entertained the crowds from around 11pm onwards allowing other acts to warm up the crowd before our appearance. The band do their utmost to keep the crowds entertained, but also play at other commitments in Stonehaven on the night meaning we need to schedule our evening accordingly. One such event being at the Station Hotel who have steadfastly stood by the band and provided us with a venue in which to practice throughout the year. Without this the band would not be able to continue.

“Regardless of this unexpected news, Stonehaven Pipe band still puts Stonehaven first and through the support of the Station Hotel and hopefully some funding that we are currently pursuing we intend to grow and develop the band to affirm our position as ambassadors of Stonehaven.

“We have always tried to support local events, especially those that are organised by charitable organisations and are extremely disappointed that we will not be playing this year.

“We would like to apologise to the people of Stonehaven for not being able to play at this event but this decision sadly is out with our control.

The Fireballs Committee have said that they hope the Stonehaven Pipe Band will return to the schedule in the future.

Stonehaven Fireballs Chairman Ross Milne told the Leader: “Firstly, this is dissappointing for everyone involved and the committee sincerely hope that Stonehaven Pipe Band will play at the Fireballs again in the future.

The event has grown substantially over the last few years, with people coming from all over the world to see Stonehaven’s unique Hogmanay ceremony. People begin to fill the streets of the Auld Toon from as early as 9.30 - 10pm; in fact we have to encourage people to arrive this early in order to get a good view! The committee has wanted to adapt to these growing crowds and provide entertainment from 10pm onwards and at both ends of the street (slipway/harbour end, and the main High Street/cannon end).

“Stonehaven Pipe Band have been approached in the past and asked to adapt their schedule and playing times to help us accomodate the extra crowds. They have not been willing to accomodate or discuss the idea.

“For the last two years, we have had two bands/acts playing at opposite ends of the street; working together and swapping around periodically to give everyone some variety. This has worked well and the committee had wanted to continue the format.

“Hopefully Stonehaven Pipe Band will be in a position to help us out in the years to come.

We have to look at what is best for the Fireballs ceremony and hope that everyone can appreciate that.”