PipingLive! festival kicks off its 16th event in Glasgow

The 16th year of Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival kicked off today with a piping hot performance.

It came from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Novice Juvenile Pipe Band, featuring 11 year-old tenor drummer Emily Gormley, the youngest member of the band.

The band launched this year’s event with a rousing performance at the steps of Buchanan Galleries before joining the Piping Live! Big Band – this year led by Lord Provost Eva Bolander of Glasgow City Council, and Chieftain of Piping Live! 2019 festival.

Lord Provost Bolander performed Highland Cathedral in front of the City Chambers in George Square, after parading through Glasgow’s City Centre to celebrate the launch of this year’s festival.

Comprised of 130 pipers from all over the world including Canada and New Zealand, the Piping Live! Big Band marched from Blythswood Square along West George Street to George Square. Upon arrival in George Square, the Big Band saluted Lord Provost Bolander before she picked up her own pipes and joined in. This year’s parade is aid of the Heart of Scotland Appeal from Heart Research UK.

Piping Live! officially launched on Saturday 10th August, and headliners including Dougie MacLean, Tryst, Dàimh and Lúnasa, among others, are still to perform this week. Now in its 16th year, Piping Live! is the biggest festival of its kind, attracting over 45,000 music fans, families and tourists from all around the globe to watch more than 5,000 pipers perform at 150 events across the city.

This year’s programme features performances by the very best international acts from countries including New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada and Scotland, and sees the return of the fiercely-contested Masters Solo, International Quartet and Pipe Idol competitions. In addition, there will be daily performances, family fun and the hugely popular Street Café will return to The National Piping Centre for the festival.

Michael Clark, Pipe Major of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Novice Juvenile Pipe Band, said: ‘We are thrilled to be playing at Piping Live! this year, our third year in a row. The band work hard all year round, so it’s a real honour to get this year’s festival off to a start.’

Roddy MacLeod, Festival Director of Piping Live! said: ‘We are delighted to welcome so many pipers and musicians from all over the world to this year’s Piping Live!. We’d like to thank Scottish Fire and Rescue Novice Juvenile Pipe Band for kicking off our biggest festival to date in style.

‘We also thank Lord Provost Eva Bolander for not only being our Piping Live! 2019 Chieftain, but for performing alongside our Big Band, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles for this festival.

‘This week we welcome tens of thousands of people from across the globe to Glasgow to enjoy the very best piping and trad music in the world, as well as some fantastic family events. We really do have something for everyone and can’t wait to welcome you all.’

The Lord Provost said: ‘I’m looking forward to Piping Live! and the Worlds. They’re marvellous celebrations of bagpipe music and bring people, from around the world, together. I’m delighted to be able to join in and have been practising furiously after a long break. It’s great fun and a wonderful sight to behold pipers sporting tartan from every corner of the globe.’

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: ‘As this year’s Chieftain, what better way to kick off Piping Live! 2019 than to have Glasgow’s very own Lord Provost join the event’s Big Band for a stunning performance of Highland Cathedral. Events play a key role in our visitor economy and EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of Piping Live!, which attracts visitors and performers from all over the world to enjoy its week long programme of performances and competitions.’

Piping Live! is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, Glasgow Life, and Specsavers.