Piping Live! gets underway

Piping Live! gets underway in Glasgow
Piping Live! gets underway in Glasgow

Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival (8-14 August) kicked off by capturing the most important moment of the year in the piping calendar – the first performance at this year’s festival.

Members of the Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band put themselves in the frame, making their Piping Live! debut and opening the festival with a special performance at the Royal Concert Hall steps. Their appearance marks the start of Piping Live!, a weeklong celebration of the pipes and their importance in providing the soundtrack for so many of life’s big moments.

Piping Live! will see over 200 events take place throughout Glasgow and over 50,000 people are expected to flock to the city to enjoy a piping hot festival line up. This year, acts including RURA, Anxo Lorenzo, Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton top the bill, with the incredible Red Hot Chilli Pipers headlining the festival. The programme will also see performances by the very best international acts from countries such as Slovakia, Spain, France and Ireland, and numerous events including the fiercely contested Master Solo, Quartet and Pipe Idol competitions.

George Square will act as the festival’s city centre hub with daily performances from some of the world’s best pipe bands and family fun throughout the week, as well as the return of the popular Pipers’ Market - filled with delicious food and craft stalls.

Festival Director, Roddy MacLeod, said: “This year’s festival is all about celebrating the pipes being at the heart of moments that matter in life and we’re thrilled to welcome the Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band to our most exciting moment of the year – the beginning of Piping Live!. From marching onto the battlefield, to wedding ceremonies and funerals; bringing in the New Year, to celebrating Scottish heritage the world over – bagpipes are always at the heart of huge moments.

“This week, we welcome thousands of people from across the globe to Glasgow to enjoy world-class musical acts, Scotland’s best food and drink and brilliant family events. There’s something for everyone, so come along and make some lasting memories with us.”

Murray Drylie, piper in Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band, said: “We’re so happy to be making our Piping Live! debut, but to be the first pipers to play a note is a true honour. We’ve always been fans of the festival and, each year, we’re blown away by the array of talent who travel from across the world to Glasgow. It’s such an amazing week and to finally be part of it is one of our most exciting moments as a band.”

Joe Aitken, Head of Major Events at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Glasgow’s global profile as a diverse, vibrant and world-class major events city has never been greater. We’re now world-renowned as a destination which delivers show-stopping events that pack a real punch for audiences and the same can be said for Piping Live! and the World Pipe Band Championships. As one of the most colourful festivals on our annual major events calendar, Piping Live! offers visitors the opportunity to experience a truly spectacular week of traditional Scottish music and culture, and provides a real boost to the city’s tourism economy.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Piping Live!, supported through EventScotland’s International Programme, is a terrific celebration of Scottish culture and heritage and will once again demonstrate the love that people from all over the world have in our national instrument. With thousands expected to take part in the week-long programme, Glasgow’s George Square will be a hub of activity and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit the city from August 8-14 to check it out for themselves.”

Now in its 13th year, Piping Live! is known around the world for its diverse programme of entertainment. This year is no exception with highlights including The Masters Solo Competition (Monday 8th, National Piping Centre), the qualifier for the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championships which takes place later in the year and The International Quartet Competition (Tuesday 9th, Royal Concert Hall), one of the week’s must-see events with eight top pipe bands from across the globe sending their best four pipers to see who will be crowned champions. Wednesday (10th) will see The Lowland and Borders Pipers Society showcase the diversity of piping music at The National Piping Centre.

Thursday (11th) has a double dose of top piping action with the final of Pipe Idol and the Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge which carries on the Lord Todd tradition where four pipers will battle it out to be crowned the winner, playing around 20 minutes of their favourite music but including a number of set pieces in the selection (both at Royal Concert Hall). Drygate will host an exciting evening of traditional music with Jigs, Muneiras and Other Magical Melodies on Friday (12th) with Anxo Lorenzo Trio and Scottish firebrands RURA launching their second album ‘Despite the Dark’. Festival headliners The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are ready to bagrock the O2 ABC at the After World’s Shindig on Saturday (13th). The final day of the festival will see The Gordon Duncan Memorial Competition with sets from David Shedden, Robert Watt and Herve Le Floc’h with the weekend rounded off by Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton and Friends as they launch their new album ‘Symbiosis’ at the National Piping Centre.

The World Pipe Band Championships return to Glasgow Green on 12 and 13 August and will welcome 235 bands who will fight it out for the ultimate title of World Champions. Bands are coming from as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA, South African and Zimbabwe as well as from across Europe to compete.

Glasgow has continuously hosted The Worlds for 30 years and has been associated with the event for nearly 70. Tickets and further information is available via www.theworlds.co.uk.