The 8th International Festival of Town Pipers
King’s Lynn (UK), 18th-20th May 2018

Information for Participants

The 8th Biennial Festival of the International Guild of Town Pipers will take place in King’s Lynn on 18th-20th May 2018. If you’ve not been to King’s Lynn before then you’re in for a pleasant surprise – the town has a rich cultural history and many of its medieval buildings survive. In the 14th century King’s Lynn was considered one of England’s most important ports, in part due to its membership of the Hanseatic League – a trading partnership which spanned Europe from the Baltic to the Netherlands. King’s Lynn is now a member of the Modern Hanseatic League and our festival will be held in partnership with Lynn’s annual Hansa weekend, which usually includes a Medieval Traders Market, modern music performances and fireworks over the river.

The draft timetable for our event begins with a welcome reception on the evening of Friday 18th May, which we hope to hold at the Town Hall. Saturday’s daytime schedule will see bands performing 20-30 minute sets at key venues around the town center, including St Nicholas’ Chapel (renowned for its fine acoustics), with a social dinner with time for music and dance in the evening. On Sunday we hope to return to St Nicholas’ Chapel for the “Great Noyse”, where each band can perform one processional and one stationary piece before the massed bands perform together. We then plan a folk-club style afternoon session at a cafe for the Sunday afternoon.

One new feature that we would like to consider is a scratch band of individual attendees. This might involve arriving early, either on the Thursday evening or daytime on the Friday for a rehearsal of music which will be organised and sent out in advance. The scratch band could then perform at the festival alongside the member bands. Please let us know asap if you think you might be interested in this option.

Photographs courtesy of Jayne Gutteridge.

Update 24 January 2018

The festival will start at 6.30pm on Friday 18th, with a viewing of the town Regalia Rooms, known as “Tales of Lynn”, at the Town Hall. Local historian and ex-mayor Dr Paul Richards will be on hand to talk about the exhibits, which include the Lynn Waites’ 16th century chains and badges, the famous “King John” cup, and the King Henry VIII sword and the four silver maces which are carried before the mayor in processions.

At 7.30pm, the Mayor of King’s Lynn will host a buffet in the “Tales of Lynn”.

We will be based for the weekend in the Shakespeare Barn, behind the King’s Lynn Arts Centre, a medieval guildhall where Shakespeare himself is said to have acted. Tea and coffee, and secure storage, will be available there. This will also be where we rehearse for the “Great Noise”, our concert on Sunday mentioned below.

On Saturday 19th, the bands will play around the historic town of King’s Lynn. In the evening we will have a meal in the Ratskeller, a restaurant in the medieval Hansiatic house. There will be the opportunity to play to each other after the meal.

On Sunday 20th, we will take part in the Hansa procession in the morning, and then hold our own concert in the beautiful St Nicholas Chapel. This large and spacious building has the most glorious acoustic. Music for our “massed band” performances will be published in advance on this Website, and as usual, each band will also have an opportunity to present a piece of their choice. Afterwards, we will meet at the Ratskeller for informal playing, where food and drink will be available to purchase, leaving bands to disperse at times to suit themselves.