Brian Shaw, donning his kilt and playing his bagpipes, enters council chambers Monday night to tell the city about the first Highlands Gathering, scheduled to run alongside the Campbell River Salmon Festival on the second weekend of August this year. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Bagpipes and buzzsaws gets go-ahead from council

Campbell River Salmon Festival is about to get even louder

Many may have not believed it possible, but the Campbell River Salmon Festival – and the buzzing chainsaws of the Logger Sports events at Nunns Creek Park – is about to get even louder.

Phil Hicks, representing the Salmon Festival, along with a kilted and bagpiped Brian Shaw, told council Monday night that the first ever Highland Gathering will run this summer alongside the event and asked the city for its support.

“The idea for the gathering started about two years ago,” said Shaw after entering chambers blowing his pipes, much to the delight of some councilors – and the dismay of others. “In 2010/11 we lost the Comox Valley Highland Games and we also lost the BC Legion Highland Games, so there has been very little activity of late to encourage students to learn about the bagpipes and anything Highland – anything Celtic – over the last few years. We want to rekindle that.”

Shaw is chair of the Highland Gathering Association and says he “fully expects this will be a good, fun time for Campbell River and will help bring even more people to the city during the second weekend of August.”

The gathering will feature bagpipe competitions and demonstrations, stage events and drum performances, along with the Highland Heavy Games, “most of which deals with someone throwing something,” Shaw said with a chuckle.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun. Bagpipes and buzzsaws together. We’re going to be making one hell of a racket that day.”

Hicks told council that the Salmon Festival Committee has been working closely with Shaw and others and is excited to have the Highland Gathering run alongside their long-time, ever-popular event.

“We have been working towards this for quite some time,” Hicks said. “And now we are asking that the city provide direction to various departments to provide services at Nunns Creek Park to accomodate that event, as well as giving direction, as required to Campbell River Tourism, Destination Think, etc. to assist us in promoting the event.”

Council agreed, in principle, to support the gathering and asked city staff to “identify the necessary services and their cost to support the event.”

“Any time I get to hear the pipes, it brings a tear to me eye,” said Coun. Ron Kerr. “Maybe not the same kind of tear that comes to Coun. Cornfield’s, but I do love to hear them at any opportunity.”

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