Glasgow tunes up for Scotland’s biggest week of bagpipes this August

Piping Live! festival and the World Pipe Band Championships get set for summer of sound.

Glasgow is set to host Scotland’s biggest week of bagpipes this summer, with the return of Piping Live! from Saturday 10th – Sunday 18th August, and The World Pipe Band Championships on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th August. The world’s biggest piping festival, Piping Live! attracts over 30,000 attendees to Glasgow each year, with an eclectic programme of events for pipers and music lovers alike to be held at venues across the city. Run by the National Piping Centre and now in its 21st year, the festival will have lively concerts, captivating recitals, hard-fought competitions, engaging workshops and energetic sessions involving 700 musicians on the musical menu across its nine days, including a swathe of free and ticketed events.

The World Pipe Band Championships – a major event which Glasgow first hosted in 1948 and the city has staged every year since 1986 – attracts thousands of pipers and drummers from all over the world to compete in the ultimate ‘battle of the bands’. Organised on behalf of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association by Glasgow Life – the charity which delivers culture and sport in Glasgow. Social media sensation Ally Crowley-Duncan, known online as Piper Ally with a combined following of over 4 million for her innovative piping content, will be flying in to take part in Piping Live!. Originally from New York, Ally will be performing and hosting a Q&A as part of the Street Cafe, taking part in the Piping Live! Big Band, and acting as a secret judge in competitions across the week.

The sound of the pipes to the streets of Glasgow

Celebrated piper, composer and teacher John Mulhearn pictured at the lanuch of Piping Live 2024 outside The Pipe Factory in Glasgow’s Eastend.

Ally the Piper, said: “Being part of Piping Live! is like standing on the grandest stage of bagpipe mastery. It’s where the world’s finest gather to showcase their talents and where every note carries the weight of centuries of tradition. To be invited back to this world-renowned festival is an amazing moment for me in my musical journey and I can’t wait to share the experiences I have with all of my followers. Even though my career in bagpiping largely exists outside of the traditional, I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to stay connected to the community, and immerse myself once again in the atmosphere of Piping Live! and I am really looking forward to being back in the beautiful country of Scotland and reconnecting with old friends, having first taken part with the Scotia Glenville Pipe Band (now the Capital District Youth Pipe Band) in 2012.”

The spectacular sonic week includes the iconic Piping Live! Big Band welcoming pipers and drummers of all ages and abilities to join the festival’s mass participation event, filling the city centre streets with music as they march from Mansfield Park in Partick to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Also taking place are free, open-air performances by pipe bands from across the globe taking place each day. Including sets from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Pipes and Drums, the City of Angels Pipe Band from LA, and Old Scotch Pipes and Drums from Australia, these performances offer a fantastic chance to experience world-class piping in the bustling heart of the city centre. In Glasgow’s West End, the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will host a recital by an amazing international artist each day of the festival at 2pm, showcasing bagpiping traditions from around the world in the breathtaking Centre Hall.

Finlay MacDonald, Artistic Director for Piping Live!, said: “We are proud and excited to be able to bring the 21st edition of Piping Live! to the city of Glasgow. We are thankful to our supporters, performers, participants and funders who have continued to support this event through some challenging times for the creative industries. As the popularity of piping and traditional music continues to grow and thrive, we have created a diverse, inclusive and engaging programme, showcasing the breadth and depth of the piping traditions whilst celebrating world, indigenous and modern traditional music. There are opportunities for pipers of all levels and ages, whether in competitions, at our Big Band event, or for those who fancy a go, our come and Try Sessions. You don’t have to be a piper to enjoy and take part in Piping Live!, Piping is for everyone and we look forward to bringing the sound of the pipes to the streets of Glasgow.”

The very best pipe bands on the planet

L-R Young piper Emma Hill, Croft No. Five drummer, Paul Jennings, renowned bagpiper and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2023 finalist Ailis Sutherland, and celebrated piper, composer and teacher John Mulhearn.

The week will come to a fitting crescendo with The World Pipe Band Championships at the iconic Glasgow Green with bands competing from across Scotland and the world in all grades. This year’s ‘Worlds’ promises another fiercely-fought competition involving the very best pipe bands on the planet. Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Chief Executive, Colin Mulhern, said: “Last year’s spectacular World Pipe Band Championships, which attracted a fantastic attendance from bands from almost every corner of the globe as well as spectators from near and far, demonstrated just how much this iconic event means to the international piping community, and how much interest there is in the music of Scotland’s national instrument. This year’s ‘Worlds’ promises another superb showcase of piping and drumming, and – judging from the number and very strong contingent of bands already signed up – we can look forward to an incredible, hard-fought contest.”

Glasgow Life Chair and Glasgow City Council Convenor for Culture, Sport and International Relations, Bailie Annette Christie, said: “As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow has a great international reputation as a fantastic destination for lovers of all types of music, and there’s certainly nowhere better to enjoy world-class piping.  With the city hosting both the world’s biggest piping festival and the pinnacle of the global piping competitive calendar, Glasgow is looking forward to resounding with our national instrument’s very best talent in August. Celebrating Scotland’s culture and music and providing fantastic entertainment, Piping Live! and the Worlds are firmly established highlights of the city’s summer events programme. Attracting thousands of pipers and spectators, boosting Glasgow’s visitor economy and further enhancing its international profile, these much-loved events are extremely important to our city.”

Piping Live! 2024 takes place from Saturday 10th – Sunday 18th August. For more information and tickets see:  The World Pipe Band Championships take place on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th August. For more information and tickets see:

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