ONE of the flagship events in Scotland’s cultural calendar is to be expanded this year due to its growing popularity with traditional music fans.
The World Pipe Band Championships will take place over two days for the first time, while the celebrated Piping Live! festival will mark its tenth anniversary with a range of new venues in Glasgow.
The championships, known internationally as The Worlds, will be now held over a weekend in August in the city after organisers said they had “listened to feedback” from piping aficionados.
Tourism officials hope that by expanding the historic event, which first took place in 1930, the city will benefit economically thanks to an added influx of musicians and spectators.
The championships will take place on 17 and 18 August at Glasgow Green. As well as the main competition, which will see Belfast’s Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band attempt to retain their world champion title for the third year running, crowds will be able to enjoy events such as Highland dancing and Highland Games.
Ian Embelton, from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said the extra day of competition would make for an even more enjoyable experience.
He said: “With over 200 bands coming from 11 countries to compete, we have listened to feedback and we are delighted to extend The Worlds to two days. Music fans will have more time to see bands compete alongside other activities on offer.”
The Worlds will coincide with the tenth annual Piping Live! which will celebrate the anniversary with a week-long programme of concerts, performances, and workshops between 11 and 18 August.
St Enoch Square will act as the new hub for Piping Live! With a new performance tent featuring and daily performances by some of the best folk musicians and pipers from across the globe.
Concert highlights include the Pipes and Strings concert featuring globetrotting acts from Canada, Scotland and Galicia on 14 August and award-winning Brave singer, Julie Fowlis, who will headline the Gaelic Music Concert on15 August.
Both concerts will be at another new location for the festival, The New Atheneum at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Roddy MacLeod, director of the festival, said: “Over the last ten years we have brought the best pipers and traditional musicians from all over the globe to perform at the festival. It just gets more exciting each year.”
Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships are the real highlights of Glasgow’s cultural calendar over the summer, drawing thousands of visitors from across the UK and overseas and providing a significant boost to the local economy.”
Paul Bush, chief operating officer for EventScotland added: “Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships position Glasgow at the centre of the global piping community.”
Tickets for Piping Live! and The Worlds will be available from 1 May.