Kiwi police band launch Piping Live! festival

THE New Zealand Police Pipe Band has kicked off an international piping festival in Scotland after travelling more than 11,000 miles to take part.

The New Zealand Police Pipe Band, from left to right: piper Emmett Conway, Graeme Bilsand, Ian Robertson, Grace Foster, Keyyn Johnstone, Angus Crowe and bass drummer Dale Stephens. Picture: PA

More than 200 events will take place across Glasgow over the next seven days as part of Piping Live!.

The festival, now in its 12th year, will bring 50,000 spectators from countries such as France, Spain, the USA, Australia and Malaysia to the city.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Members of the New Zealand Police Pipe Band will perform at various points over the next four days before competing in Grade 1 of the World Pipe Band Championships, which takes place at Glasgow Green from August 14-15.

Pipe major Emmett Conway said: “The long journey is more than worth it to play at Piping Live! - it’s the biggest and best festival of its kind in the world and Glasgow is such a warm and friendly city.”

Highlights of this year’s festival include the masters solo competition, international piping duets and the 40 years of piping from the Tannahill Weavers concert which will round off the week on Sunday.

Roddy MacLeod, director of Piping Live!, said: “Pipers and musicians travel from across the world to take part in Piping Live! and we are thrilled to welcome the New Zealand Police Pipe Band from over 11,000 miles away.

“The pipes are perceived as distinctly Scottish, although piping and traditional music are popular in all corners of the globe. Many other countries have their own distinctive types of bagpipes used to perform traditional music for cultural events and visitors of the festival can enjoy this first hand. Come join in the fun - you’ll hear and enjoy something new.”

Last year, officials said the festival was worth more than £2 million to the Scottish economy.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “Piping Live! is a terrific celebration of Scottish culture and heritage and demonstrates Scotland’s status as the perfect stage for events of international significance.

“With performers and spectators travelling to Glasgow from all over the world, it is set to be an outstanding event not to be missed.”