Slideshow - First-ever Foyle Piping Festival

The wonderful spectacle of the first-ever Foyle Tattoo, with pipe bands lining the Walls; the unique performance of two of the world's top pipe bands in the marvellous setting of the Guildhall on Saturday evening; virtuoso performances on pipes and drum at Magee on Friday evening - just some of the highlights of the first-ever Foyle Piping Festival.

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The weekend was a triumph for the organisers, the University of Ulster and the Irish Traditional Music Society at the Magee campus. And it brought piping fans from across the country into the city, as well as entertaining lots of locals.

The Guildhall was packed on Saturday evening for the grand piping concert, and they came from far and near to see six-times world champions the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Lisburn and their great rivals from Dublin, the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band. And the sight of both bands finishing the concert by playing on stage together - a first - will live long in the memories of those who saw it.

Dr Liz Doherty, a lecturer in traditional music at Magee, said she was delighted with how the first piping festival went.

"Obviously you're taking a step into the unknown when you organise a major festival like this for the first time, but it exceeded our expectations, with great performances, good crowds around for the weekend and lots of positive feedback," she said.

The first big concert at Magee on Friday night was big on quality on both the highland pipes and the uilleann pipes. There was a virtuoso performance on highland pipes from Andrew Carlisle from Ballygowan, a PhD student in the music department at Magee, and a show-stopping solo on the snare drum by Ahoghill man Steven McWhirter, who took the world title on the instrument in 2006.

The concert also featured a very strong performance by the Colmcille Pipe Band from Galliagh, who showed just why they took the world title in the 4a category last year.

The uilleann pipes were represented by leading player Gay McKeon, chief executive of the Pipers' Club in Dublin, and five young pipers from the Armagh Pipers' Club.

The crowds were out for the Foyle Tattoo on Saturday afternoon, when piping fans and shoppers alike were entertained by a whole series of bands from the North West.

A lot of attention was focused on the big concert in the Guildhall on Saturday evening - and it certainly lived up to the hype. The Field Marshal Montgomery, for many years in the 'Big Four' of world pipe bands, put on a stunning display. They certainly had to be on their mettle, as the St Laurence O'Toole showed just why they are also knocking on the door of a world title - fifth last year, second in Europe, and 2008 Irish, Scottish and British champions.

Both bands just about fitted on state for the finale, and that was quite a spectacle for the crowd packed into the Guildhall for a great night's entertainment.

It was a busy weekend for Andrew Carlisle, who followed up his solo performance at Magee with appearances with both the Field Marshall Montgomery and with a recently-formed band called Bernagh, who played a short but strong set at the Guildhall and illustrated their fusion of music from different parts of Europe. Andrew was also a central figure in organising the weekend.

The Piping Festival showed a willingness to stretch the definition on Thursday night, when the trad group Four Men and a Dog played a storm gig before a big crowd in Sandinos. There were also late night get-togethers in the Monico bar, and a series of workshops, masterclasses and seminars on the Saturday and talks and a schools programme on the Friday.

All in all, an ambitious festival - but it turned out piping hot!