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

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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 – 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’.

Social media sensation Ally Crowley-Duncan, known online as Piper Ally with a combined following of over four 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 Café, taking part in the Piping Live! Big Band, and acting as a secret judge in competitions across the week.

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The sonic week will get formally underway on Monday August 12 with the 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. 

Buchanan Street will be awash with the sound of pipes from Monday, August 12 to Thursday, August 15, with free, open air performances by pipe bands from across the globe taking place each day. 

In Glasgow’s West End, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will host a recital by an international artist each day of the festival at 2pm, showcasing bagpiping traditions from around the world in the Centre Hall.

The week will come to a crescendo with The World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green on Friday 16 and Saturday, August 17. 

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.

The Herald: Thousands of pipers and drummers will descend on Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championships Thousands of pipers and drummers will descend on Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championships

“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.”

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.  

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“We are therefore proud to continue our support of these outstanding piping extravaganzas, and look forward to welcoming audiences from near and far to enjoy the incredible experience the two events offer.” 

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Piping events in Scotland offer the perfect fusion of both traditional and contemporary culture, evoking a deep sense of pride for both locals and enthusiasts worldwide. They play an important role in our communities, enabling us all to connect, enjoy and share memorable experiences.”  

“Both Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships offer incredible displays of talent, skill and expression, drawing pipers and audiences from far and wide.   Glasgow’s renowned warm welcome and vibrant venues provide the perfect stage for two of the city’s most cherished summer events, and further strengthen Scotland’s position as a world-leading events destination.”

Piping Live! 2024 takes place from Saturday, August 10, to Sunday, August 18. Tickets and more information is available at www.pipinglive.co.uk

The World Pipe Band Championships take place on Friday, August 16, and Saturday, August 17. General tickets for The World Pipe Band Championships 2024 go on sale at 10am today, 14 May, and are available from www.theworlds.co.uk

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