From Piping Live! to the Worlds: bagpipes’ biggest week begins in Glasgow

Whether you love or loathe Scotland’s national instrument, there’s little doubt that the bagpipes help define the country’s image around the globe.

That can be seen by its inclusion in this month’s Disney-Pixar blockbuster Brave, in which the skirl stands as a proud symbol of our musical heritage.

However, in addition to its more traditional image, events such as Piping Live! and the World Pipe Band Championships have helped reshape the pipes as something with a renewed modern relevance.

Starting today and now in its ninth year, Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival stretches until August 12 and acts as a great showcase for the instrument’s widespread use in the music scene.

Each weekday sees some of the world’s best pipe bands playing in George Square, with the likes of Niteworks pushing the instrument into the dance sphere, and The After Worlds Shindig featuring the Lorne MacDougall Band and Vatersay Boys guaranteed to create a knees-up. (Find the full programme on the Piping Live! website.)

Piping Live! Piping Live’s festival director Roddy MacLeod explained: “We’ve put together a fantastic programme this year that will once again show what an energetic, eclectic and exhilarating instrument the bagpipes are.

“Whether you are a fan of traditional music, a newcomer to the genre, you want to pick up the pipes yourself, or you are looking for something to do with the children during the summer holidays; Piping Live! has something for everyone.”

This celebration takes place around the World Pipe Band Championships, which takes place on Saturday at its Glasgow Green home, expected to attract more than 40,000 visitors and play host to hundreds of pipe bands from countries including Canada, Australia and the US.

Ian Embelton of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association explained: “London may have the Olympics this year, but The Worlds has long been known as the Olympics of the pipe band world.

“Each year, bands from over 11 countries come to Glasgow to compete for the coveted title of World Champions, the piping equivalent of Gold.  The Worlds will be an unmissable weekend for the whole family – we have Highland Dancing, Highland Games, a massive kid’s zone and delicious local food and drink on offer.”

This year STV will be at both Piping Live! and the Worlds to bring coverage of the bagpipe bonanza – if we don’t see you there, make sure to check out our highlights online!

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