Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of bagpipes in Strasbourg this weekend; as Saturday’s parade of nine Celtic pipe and drum bands from across Europe will mark the culmination of the 2008 EuroCelt festival in Strasbourg, during which much squealing, honking and drumming will have taken place (and that’s just at the bar in the Palais des fêtes!).
I was fortunate enough to stumble across the last Euro-Celt parade in 2006, and it was (to say the least) an education. There was I, under the impression that the Scots had a near monopoly on bagpipe music, watching slack jawed as kilt-sporting bands from Germany, Switzerland and France marched by.
At one moment, I thought I had spotted a ‘true’ Scottish band, as there was much waving of the flag of St Andrew and the Scottish Arms up front, only to discover that they were actually from – Heidelberg. Apparently the Glasgow Police Force band were there somewhere – but I don’t recall seeing them. Perhaps they went missing during a tour of the Cronenbourg brewery that day – who knows?
This year will be little different with precisely no Scottish, Irish nor Welsh representation at the festival (the only nations that actually describe themselves as ‘Celtic’). How to explain? Well perhaps they don’t consider themselves European?