It was named the Best Traditional Event at the 2011 Scottish Event Awards, the Best Large Event Award at the 2010 Scottish Event Awards, and the Event of the Year Award at the 2008 Scots Trad Music Awards. From August 6-12, the Glasgow International Piping Festival – better known as Piping Live! – will showcase the very best of piping music worldwide and celebrate Scotland’s national instrument in both contemporary and traditional contexts.
Founded by The National Piping Centre in 2004, Piping Live! created a programme of events to coincide with the World Pipe Band Championships. Now entering its 9th year, Piping Live! is scheduled to attract 30,000 spectators to 150 events (100 free to attend) with 700 artists from 18 nations performing at 15 venues across 7 days.
The comprehensive Piping Live! programme embraces a diversity of audiences ranging from the young to the elderly, traditional and contemporary music aficionados, local Glaswegians to global cultural tourists. Piping Live! is a distinctive musical celebration with international acclaim that has grown to become a cultural highlight in Glasgow’s annual event diary.
Events will be held in Glasgow’s celebrated music venues such as The Old Fruitmarket and The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. George Square is a hub of activity with an art and photographic exhibition, craft clachan, pipe band performances, traditional folk sessions, whisky tasting and a refreshment marquee. The National Piping Centre hosts a daily street café, Come and Try the Bagpipe sessions, Lunchtime Recitals featuring the World’s top solo piping competitors, the highly competitive Pipe Idol featuring the World’s top young pipers, Museum and Library tours, and the late night Festival Club.
Daily Piping Live! Street Café: the hub for events at the National Piping Centre, features an outdoor marquee set up on the street outside the Centre. Free live entertainment is scheduled daily, ranging from solo artists to traditional Celtic bands, book and CD launches, and more.
Family Day: Held on the Tuesday of Piping Live! at the National Piping Centre, Family Day offers an opportunity to introduce children to piping and drumming in a relaxed and entertaining environment. It features come and try sessions, face painting, entertainers and more.
Music of the Nations: 5 lecture-recitals in George Square offer an opportunity for visitors to explore the musical connections between Scotland and other Celtic nations around the world. Each recital focuses on an individual nation: Scottish, Irish, Galician, Breton, and Italian. Musical and cultural identity will be explored by some of Scotland’s leading singers and musicians.
Live in the Square!: A week-long performers stage in the George Square bar marquee and exhibition space. Visitors can sample niche beverages from Scotland’s distinctive brewers and distillers whilst enjoying music from some of Scotland’s best traditional musicians.
Piping Live Art & Photographic Exhibition: Running throughout the week at George Square, the annual exhibition showcases upwards of sixty unique pieces of art work inspired by piping, traditional musicians and the world’s best performers.
Opening Night Monday: Held in the Strathclyde Suite of the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall, this concert features a fusion of piping traditions of the ancient and contemporary.
Quartet Tuesday: A sell out concert held in the Strathclyde Suite, it features pipers from 8 of the best pipe bands worldwide and draws one of the biggest pipe band audiences of the festival.
West Coast Wednesday: Held in the National Piping Centre Auditorium, this sell-out event is a musical marriage of the Piping and Gaelic traditions of the West Coast of Scotland.
Pipes and Strings Thursday: Fusing the family of pipe instruments with strings and woodwind, this event creates a haunting blend of traditional and orchestral composition.
Arches on Friday: An evening not for the faint-hearted – featuring piping in contemporary music arrangements presented by artists who present avant garde Scottish music!
Saturday Night Shindig: After a day at the World Pipe Band Championships, Piping Live! invites revellers to celebrate with some of the biggest names in traditional music at the Old Fruitmarket in the heart of Merchant City.
2011 Festival Highlights
-Audience: of 28,197
-Events: 692 performers at 150 events including 100 free events
-Economic impact: a net expenditure of £2.1 million to Glasgow, and £2.3 million to Scotland
-46% of attendees were visitors to Scotland
-Visitors came from 35 nations and 76% of attendees want to return in 2012
-National and International media coverage generated 141 pieces of coverage across print, online, radio and television broadcast platforms, including coverage from ITV Daybreak UK, BBC Breakfast News and NBC America for their ‘Road to the Olympics’ coverage this summer.