Harmony Aboard Britannia

Introducing Steven Dewar, the resident piper for The Royal Yacht Britannia and Fingal’s exclusive events. Beyond his role aboard these iconic ships, Steven's musical journey has taken him to extraordinary venues, playing worldwide. Steven relishes sharing his passion internationally, serving as a musical ambassador for Scotland. From performing at Royal events to the Champions League final and the Great Wall of China, his experiences are truly diverse. With his expertise and passion, Steven offers guests an unforgettable experience, adding a touch of Scottish tradition to any event.

What do you most enjoy about working on board Britannia and Fingal?

I love the professionalism of the team. I’ve been in the industry a long time and I like things to run well. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I love the grandeur and precise planning of it all. We have to remember when corporate guests are coming to Britannia, they are usually coming for the first time. I love seeing guests really enjoying the experience, in seeing and living an important part of Royal history. I like being at the end of the red carpet and seeing the guests posing for photos with the ship and really absorbing the moment.

(Photo credit: Ruth Armstrong)

Have you ever piped for the Royal Family? 

I have played for the Royal Family a few times. For a while I was the resident piper at the British Embassy in Athens, and welcomed The Princess Royal a couple of times to the Embassy. I have played for The Prince of Wales up in St Andrews as part of the Alfred Dunhill Cup. The only one time I played for Queen Elizabeth II was as part of a massed band at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. It felt amazing to march past Queen Elizabeth II playing, but being the true professional, it was eyes front, I didn’t look over at her. I was lucky enough to play for Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall’s pre–Wedding Celebration on Britannia when a lot of the family were present. This was an amazing experience. My favourite part was Prince Harry’s arrival, he was running slightly late and ran up the Royal Brow to a big cheer from the rest of the family inside.

Besides Britannia and Fingal, have you performed anywhere special or unusual?

I love the variety of venues I play in. I like the fact it can be absolutely anywhere. I’m a sports fan, I played in the Champions League final at Hampden, that was very special to me. I’ve played at the Olympic Games for Team GB. I’ve been on stage playing with The Darkness to close T in the Park music festival, that was really cool. As a Scotsman, playing at Edinburgh Castle for the first time was a great feeling. As was playing at the Great Wall of China. I also do lots of concerts, I’m the musical director of the Scottish Music Parade, we’ve performed in lots of stunning venues. 

What can you offer guests for their event on Britannia and Fingal?

Whilst I’m very proud to be the piper on Britannia and Fingal, I also own Alba Entertainments, which is a corporate entertainment business. We have various types of bands and solo artists from background music through drinks and cocktails, through to your party band for evening. We often supply Britannia with the grande finale of a Pipe Band Beat Retreat to finish off the night in style.

Have you received any unusual song or music requests during your career?

It happens quite regularly. The pipes have a select range of notes but some songs transpose well. A particular moment I enjoyed, I was asked to transcribe Iris by Goo Goo Dolls, for a marriage proposal at Edinburgh Castle. I welcomed the lady to the castle, and played the tune as her husband-to-be fell to his knee. I once transposed a famous Taiwanese piece on to bagpipes and performed it for 6,000 people in Taichung in Taiwan, that was pretty special. I try to get tunes that relate to people as much as possible. I once played for some astronauts up in Dundee, so they got Star Wars!

The candlelit State Dining Room set for dinner with floral displays.

(Photo credit: Marc Millar) 

What are the most popular tunes or pieces of music for events at Britannia and Fingal?

For corporate events, I tend to play a lot of traditional, happy, upbeat tunes for guests arriving. What I call the Scottish songbook, tunes that people will recognise: Scotland the Brave, Highland Laddie, Highland Cathedral, and Flower of Scotland. For weddings I play a fine selection, but also enjoy when the couples have input, it makes it more personal.

Why should an event have a piper playing?

It's a must for gala dinners, for a memorable dinner in Scotland. The bagpipes and the kilt are two of the main symbols of Scotland so a piper is a great first impression, clad out in full Highland gear. It's a great picture postcard opportunity too, posing with the piper. 

Contact The Royal Yacht Britannia's Events team to arrange your event of a lifetime. Email: events@tryb.co.uk or call +44 (0)131 555 8800