Piping Live!: Glasgow turnout “fantastic” for annual music …


Piping Live! marked its 20th edition of the annual festival with eight days of live performances, free concerts, book signings, recitals, competitions and educational workshops. Almost 60% of events on the programme were free for the public to attend. 

The piping festival staged 127 different performances featuring more than 900 musicians and participants. 

Organisers said the turnout was “fantastic” and praised Glasgow as being a great city for piping.

The event was rounded off with a closing concert at Glasgow’s National Piping Centre, which included an energetic and passionate set from instrumentalists Ross Aislie and Ali Hutton, who have been involved in the festival since its beginning days. 

The show was a double-header, with Jarlath Henderson on the Uilleann pipes, an Irish form of the instrument, and celebrated guitarist Innes Watson.

Read more: Ten Glasgow bars that host trad music sessions

More highlights of the eight-day spectacle included music from last year’s Young Musician of the Year finalist Malin Makes Music, Scottish and Irish trad outfit inB, and the innovative, avant garde Ceol Nua concert, amongst many others. 

At the Championships, Bruce Gandy won the Overall Prize at Masters Solo Piping Competition: Piobaireachd, while Alistair Henderson took the Masters Solo Piping Competition: March, Strathspey and Reel. The International Quartet Competition was won by People’s Ford Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia. 


Finlay MacDonald, Artistic Director for Piping Live!, said: “As we reflect on the success of the 20th edition of Piping Live!, all of us at The National Piping Centre have been overwhelmed by attendees’ enthusiasm, passion and love for the national instrument of Scotland.

“We’ve been able to nurture and respect piping’s traditional roots, while pushing the boundaries and championing experimental and contemporary music within the global scene. The festival’s ability to draw such a diverse crowd year on year is a testament to the enduring appeal of piping, its rich musical heritage and the huge amount of talent we have within the genre. 

“We are so grateful to every individual who played a role in making this milestone event such a resounding success. From the talented performers who graced stages and streets across Glasgow, to the dedicated organisers and volunteers who worked behind the scenes, this celebration would not have been possible without your collective effort. To welcome 30,000 attendees was fantastic.”

Glasgow Life Chair and City Convenor for Culture, Sport & International Relations, Bailie Annette Christie, said: “The 20th anniversary of Piping Live! delivered a vibrant and inclusive programme that delighted audiences from near and far. From parades and performances to practise sessions, Piping Live! shone the spotlight on how versatile the pipes are. This special anniversary of the festival filled our streets and venues with inspirational sounds that built up a wonderful atmosphere in the city for The 2023 World Pipe Band Championships.

“The spectacular event, which was first held here 75 years ago, highlighted just how expansive and far-reaching is the interest in and appeal of piping.  This year’s ‘Worlds’ attracted 190 competing bands from 15 countries and an audience on Glasgow Green of around 35,000. Both the major contest and Piping Live! demonstrated why Glasgow is internationally renowned for piping and why piping is so important to the city.” 


Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “I am delighted that EventScotland could support Piping Live! in delivering their 20th edition. The festivities were certainly a fitting celebration of this milestone event with a huge number of attendees and musicians enjoying the sound of the pipes across the city. Uniquely Scottish events like this can only strengthen the country’s position as a world-leading events destination and Glasgow once again provided the perfect stage for this fantastic showcase of music, culture and tradition.” 

Piping Live! will return to Glasgow from 10-18 August next year, with the World Pipe Band Championships to take place from 16-17 August 2024. 

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