Community News

All go for the Maclean Highland Gathering

Up till now, 14 bands have confirmed their support to the 116th Maclean Highland Gathering over this Easter weekend, April 2 and 3.

All the action this year will take place at the Maclean show ground to conform to NSW Covid health regulations. This means that there will be no street parade of bands on Easter Saturday morning. However, the popular Friday night “Ceilidh will go ahead at the Maclean showground.

The call has gone out for public support to attend all the events at the showground this year. The Grade 2 band competition will feature three of Australia’s top bands, St Andrew’s Pipe Band and Emmanuel College Highlanders at UQ from Brisbane and The Pipe Band Club from Sydney. There will be strong competition across all grades with the Maclean and District Pipe Band leading the local charge.

Come and see these top Australian bands do battle at the 116th Maclean Highland Gathering over the Easter weekend. The Maclean showground hill grandstand, offers some picturesque viewing, overlooking the venue ground and the mighty Clarence River.

The Friday afternoon solo piping and drumming contests have attracted a strong field of competitors who will compete at five platforms, spaning along the banks of the river frontage.

The evening program will stay at the showground for the Friday night open air Ceilidh starting at 7 pm. The Ceilidh, a Gaelic word for concert, offers an evening of entertainment with bands, Highland dancers, singers, plus a drum salute and this year featuring some Highland sport demonstrations.

The evening Solo piping contest will also stay at the contest ground, using the indoor pavilions. It is most important that the general public note these changes on Friday night, as the events are usually held in the Maclean business centre.

The Saturday Highland dancing contest has drawn a strong line up of 80 dancers, who will compete across a range of events in all grades. The Saturday program known for its big band contest is showcasing some of the best this year. Also, on the same day there will be the

popular Drum Majors contest, and this event calls on a strong drill technique, combined with brilliant mace skills. During the Saturday lunch break the program features another popular event, the drummers’ salute. This display under the skilful eye of Don Want with his team of boys will beat up a storm as they rock the showground.

The Highland sports are also on Saturday, where the event attracts some big men who will showcase their muscles, tossing the Caber and sweating it out in the tough log wrestle event.  The ladies are also encouraged to compete as the sport is taken very seriously by very strong hearted women, who want to show the boys how it’s done. Children are also catered for in a number of graded age races and this event will take place on Saturday afternoon.

There will be only one gate entry on both days, to enable recording crowd records for Covid conditions. The strict Covid cleaning restrictions this year have caused a shortage of accommodation available to bands, who usually camp in public halls in and around Maclean. These halls are not available this year, causing some bands to cancel their visit, whereby other bands are forced to undertake day travel.

Maclean is so blessed to have strong support from Queensland bands, as these bands have the huge task of juggling NSW daylight saving times and Covid rules. Chief Peter Smith is very pleased to see such a strong line up of bands and competitors this year. This just goes to show the high level of respect my committee deserves for maintaining the old Scottish Maclean traditions each year.

Come and support the 116th Maclean Highland Gathering, the home for all Highland Hearts. Cost of entry on Saturday, is Adults $15, Aged Pensioners $10, and School Aged Children $5. Tickets are limited to 3,000 only and can be purchased on entry on the day. The cost to enter the Friday afternoon and Friday night events will be a kind donation at the gate.

Volunteers are needed to help with gate entries, food stalls and kitchen duties.

Please phone to confirm assistance to Maclean Highland Gathering secretary Alister Smith on 0429 842 472 or 6645 2517.


Bob MacPherson