The Pict’s Biography: 2012
The story so far...
These days the band are never far from the limelight. In 1997/98 they headlined the Hogmanay bash at George Square, Glasgow in front of 40,000 people. In July 2006 they played at Scotland's biggest music festival: ‘T in the Park’ for the tenth year. They were invited twice to play at the famous Interceltique Festival in Lorient, Brittany, to great acclaim from the French press and enthusiastic appreciation from the audiences, this led to a considerable amount of interest in the band throughout Europe. Amongst countless festivals, concerts and ceilidhs they played at the James Bond Ball in Aberdeen (Britain’s biggest ever student event) for two years running, headlined the Celtic stage of the Stirling Millennium Hogmanay celebrations, took part in the Gael 2000 concert in Coventry with comedian, Roy Walker, and returned to France to headline ‘Celtifolies’ the first ever Celtic festival in Lyon. The band have had a number of sell out concerts in Glasgow’s Cottier Theatre and played at the wedding of Dougie Payne (Travis) and Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting). They also sold out a concert at Oran Mor in Glasgow which was recorded and filmed. The live tracks from this concert will appear on a future album. In August 2004 The Picts were asked back for the third time to do the closing night of the Tennent’s West Highland Week Yachting Festival in Oban and at Hogmanay 2004 they played the last gig at Cottier’s Theatre in Glasgow as it shut down for a three year refurbishment.
Among their many radio interviews and appearances The Picts have been on BBC Radio Scotland’s program ‘The Lemontree’ bringing their music to a wider audience and took part in BBC Radio nan Gaidheal’s live broadcast ‘Tiompan’ for BBC music live. They also played live on breakfast TV and appeared on a live Millennium Hogmanay show for LTV. In October 2000 they were filmed for a Gaelic music program ‘@ Ire’ for the BBC.
In 2006 the band began the year by playing at the 02 Burns supper, and the TV celebrity-packed tenth anniversary year of the Comedy Unit in Glasgow. A trip to the Celtic Festival of Wales near Cardiff, followed this and a magical trip to headline the Festival des Hautes Terres at St Flour in the south of France. On their return to Scotland they played at 'T in The Park' for the 10th time.
Among other festivals and concerts the Picts played at the "Drams in the field" festival, which was held in beautiful Glen Elg, and they took part in the "Thunder in the Glen" Rally for the second consecutive year in August 2007. On St Andrews Day 2007 The Picts returned to play in George Square, Glasgow, almost ten years after they had headlined the Hogmanay bash there. The Event was "Shindig in the Square" Glasgow's celebration of Scotland's Winterfest Festival, which featured an appearance from the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. In 2008 the band played at the Microsoft Burns Supper in Edinburgh, and at the closing night of the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, before it was shut for long term refurbishment. They also appeared at the Highland Hospice in Inverness for St Andrews day.
Earlier in 2006 some of The Picts (Grant McConnell, Jeremy Stirling and Douglas M Hunter) formed a more acoustic folk orientated version of The Picts called the "Court of Equity" which was based on the works of Robert Burns. The Court of Equity played twice at the International Robert Burns Conference in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and recently played at Wellwood House, Irvine at an event held in honour of G. Ross Roy, who is widely regarded as the world's foremost authority on Robert Burns. The homecoming year seen the band play at the Highland Hospice Burns supper, which also featured Donnie Monro (Ex Runrig front-man) and other celebrities.
The Picts began the Homecoming year of 2009 playing at Aberdeen's "Burns Extravaganza" for the Homecoming celebrations and in May 2009 took part in East Lothian's Homecoming Celebrations. More recently the band have played at festivals such as The Haddington Festival, in East Lothian, The Lamlash Gala Week on the Island of Arran and The Tartan Day Celebrations in Aberdeen.
With ‘The Court of Equity’ the guys have played several sell out concerts throughout Scotland including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They have also played at openings of exhibitions and gigs at various Burns Clubs, most recently in Kilbirnie, Dundonald, Grants Braes, and Skelmorlie.
Apart from concerts and festivals, The Picts are a hard working band, and as such, much of the year's schedule is taken up by playing at various functions- these take the band far and wide the length and breadth of Scotland and as far afield as the south of England and on the continent.
2011 was a busy year for both The Picts and the Court of Equity; Both bands took part in the Haddington Festival in May and June and The Picts played the closing night of The Arran Folk Festival on the 11th of June. As well as various concerts throughout the year they also had a busy schedule of functions to attend. It was a great summer of gigs for the guys playing at the Morham Festival, the Arran Folk Festival, T-in-the-Park, the Tartan Day Parade in Aberdeen, the Battle of Harlaw Memorial Celebrations, the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow and the Sail and Oar Festival in Millport. They ended the year by playing at Hogmanay in the exclusive Inverlochy Castle, in Fort William.
2012 has already seen the band playing a sell out concert at the Brunton Theatre at Musselburgh, as well as the Microsoft Burns Supper at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield for the Scottish Rugby Union.
Once again, the band has an exciting and busy year ahead with concerts, festivals and recordings ahead.
At present the band have two CDs available. The first is their highly acclaimed album, ‘The Island’ and the second is their latest and equally acclaimed album, ‘Moving Sands’ released in July 2002. Both albums are available from most major outlets and are enjoying extensive radio air play, brilliant reviews and helping to increase the bands ever growing following at home and abroad. Both albums have been used by BBC Scotland for Gaelic television programmes and 45,600 copies of ‘The Island’s‘ opening track ‘The Peak’ were put on a new French compilation CD. Recently the band have been the subject of great interest in Argentina and as a result all the songs from the albums have been translated into Spanish! Plans for a third album are indeed in the 'pipeline'. Some of The Picts also played on the Album "Ghosts”, Picts frontman Douglas McQueen Hunter's debut album.
The Picts are:
Douglas - Vocals, guitars, mandolins, 5 string banjo and things that need plucked.
Jeremy- Keyboards, pianos and things that need plonked.
David- Pipes, whistles, mouth-organ and things you blow.
Neil - Drums, percussion, guitars, bass, vocals and things that need hit
Grant- Accordions, guitars, bass, vocals and anything else he can get his hands on.
Tracy - Technical advisor, lighting & sound, driver, stage manager and anything that requires sorting.