A north-east town has put itself on the map by becoming the proud owner of a world record.
After going through months of stringent evidence protocols, the Stonehaven Folk Festival has now been officially declared a Guinness world record holder for the world’s largest ceilidh band.
The record-breaking event took place in the assembly hall of Mackie Academy in Stonehaven in July.
Since then, forms have had to be filled and video footage analysed, and evidence collected from stewards, counters, dancers, photographers, and even Aberdeenshire’s Lord Provost, to ensure the event would pass muster with officials.
Nerves were taut as the attempt date approached, with volunteer Liz Johnstone so determined to recruit that no musician was safe.
“I would accost people anywhere,” she said.
“I was standing in a queue in Glasgow and spotted a woman carrying a violin case, so I asked her if she could play.
“It turned out she was a member of the National Fiddle Orchestra.”
Meanwhile Scottish culture and tradition tutor Sandy Tweddle, who was musical director on the day, was teaching all his pupils the tunes for the ceilidh dance sets.
Musicians came from all over Scotland, mostly from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire but also England and even as far afield as the USA and Germany.
There was the usual last minute panic, as T-shirts had been ordered both to identify the musicians and, cunningly, had music printed on the back to help the rows of players.
But they didn’t arrive until literally minutes before the non-stop procession of tin whistles, guitars, bodhrans, banjos and fiddles appeared at the Mackie Academy school hall.
Jubilation at a faultless performance by the 288-strong band was followed by frustration over the following months – new records aren’t declared official without stringent vetting of the evidence provided.
Stonehaven Folk Festival secretary Meg Findlay said: “You can imagine how I felt when they came back to us in December asking for a list of names and instruments of all the participants.”
So it is with a sense of triumph that the committee of the Stonehaven Folk Festival now declare themselves officially world-beating – and they have the certificate to prove it.
Guinness World Records was contacted for comment.