Saline Celtic Festival’s Bagpiping Bonanza Beckons this July


The Saline Celtic Festival, taking place on July 7 and 8 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, is bringing you not one, not two, but seven pipe & drum bands on the Saturday. This line-up is a record for the festival, and Drum Major Kerry Lewis will be front and center to lead the spectacular.

Festival-goers will be treated to the magnificent melodies of returning favorites such as the Cabar Feidh Pipe Band, Flint Scottish Pipe Band, Glen Erin Pipe Band, and Grand Rapids and District Pipe Band. But that's not all. We're also jazzing things up with the addition of Detroit Highlanders, Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums, and Montcalm County Honor Guard Pipe & Drum Band.

According to Tom Todd, the organizer, "This allows us to have pipe music continuously throughout the Saturday afternoon. This is going to be an exciting year in our new venue!" You can feel the anticipation in the air as Tom adds, “Our usual corps of bands returns each year as welcome friends of the Festival.”

The Cabar Feidh Pipe Band, in particular, is one to watch. They've been standing tall in Michigan and Canadian exhibitions, turning heads with their stellar performances. Another notable mention is the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes & Drums. Tom says, "We’re excited to finally include them in our Festival."

Let's not forget the Detroit Highlanders Pipe Band, one of the oldest pipe bands in the region originally formed back in the 1920s. Nowadays, they're primarily a virtual group, featuring skilled pipers and drummers from the region, many of whom are also members of other bands. The Montcalm County Honor Guard Pipe Band, a fresh face from west Michigan, is also joining the festival family this year.

According to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Army pipe bands trace back to the 19th century, with Scottish regiments in the British Army. Regimental pipers and drummers would play during lengthy marches to keep a steady rhythm and boost troop morale.

During the festival, the bands will deliver a blend of traditional and non-traditional Scottish tunes. You might even get to hear the tune “Detroit Highlanders”, penned in the 1920s by a renowned blind piper in Glasgow to honor Scottish traditions in Detroit.

The performances will kick off with Saturday’s 11 a.m. opening ceremony and will continue every half hour from 1 to 4 p.m., in the Pipers Circle. And the grand finale? A spectacular massed bands performance at 5 pm. The Wee Folks Parade at 4:30 p.m. will also feature a piper or pipers selected on the day of the Festival, typically from amongst the youngest of the pipers.

FESTIVAL FUN FACTS The new location: Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. On Friday, July 7, from 5 p.m.-midnight, adults tickets are $8, and for ages 6-17, it's $5 at the gate. On Saturday, July 8, from 10 a.m.-midnight, tickets are $15 in advance (advance sales end June 30), $18 at the gate; seniors (65+) tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the gate; for ages 6-17, it's$5; admission is free for children age 5 and under, and active military personnel. Group packages are also available. Plus, you won't have to worry about parking—there's ample free onsite parking.

For more information, check out the festival's website at, or find them on Facebook. Got a question or comment? Feel free to drop an email at And hey, if you're interested in volunteering (and scoring a free pass to the event), reach out to

Get ready for a rollicking day of bagpipes, drums, and Celtic camaraderie. See you there, folks!

Photo courtesy of Saline Celtic Festival

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