The members of Johnstone Pipe Band wear the Blue Mackay tartan, and their motto, “Manu Forti” worn on their hat badges translates as “With a strong hand”. The pipers and drummers come from Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and throughout the West of Scotland.
The Pipe Band was founded by Ex-Provost of Johnstone Burgh, James McKay, in 1942, and has been going strong ever since, wearing the Blue McKay tartan in recognition of its founder.
The Johnstone Pipe Band has always regularly competed, the earliest recorded competition being the Grade One World Championships in Glasgow in 1948. Since then, it has enjoyed success in the other grades, notably becoming Champion of Champions in Grade Four in 1980.
In 1994 Pipe Major Keith Bowes was appointed, regrading followed and the band started to achieve considerable success and recognition in the Pipe Band world.
In 1998, after a string of prizes at local and major competitions, the band enjoyed one of its most successful years, winning around 30 trophies. This led to promotion from Grade 4A to Grade 3B. The band won prizes in its first three contests at this grade including 3rd place in the European Championships at Ayr. The band went from strength to strength and in the year 2000, in only its second season at this grade, picked up prizes at most of the local competitions along with 2nd place at the British Championships, 2nd at the Scottish (1st in Drumming) and the highlight of the season, 1st place at the Cowal Championships! The successes of the season 2000 earned the band its second promotion in only two seasons, to Grade 3A. At this time it was realised that the only way to solve recruitment and commitment problems was to start a youth programme. In 2004 the band regraded to 4A to help with the development of the first of the youths. This programme bore fruit in 2006 with the launch of Johnstone Novice Juvenile Pipe Band.
In 2007 the Adult band was promoted from 4A to 3A. Despite being promoted two grades the band won the Scottish Championships, 2nd at the Europeans , 5th at the British & 4th at the Cowal Championships. The finished joint top of the Champion of Champions table, missing out on the COC through a 'Worlds' preference. In November 2007 the band was promoted to Grade 2. The thumbnails on this page illustrate the progression of the band from its early days to the present.
Johnstone Pipe Band is recognised as a Scottish Charity