Piping Live! boosts Scots economy by nearly £20m

ONE of the flagship events in Scotland’s musical calendar has contributed nearly £20 million to the economy over the past decade, a study has shown.
Piping Live!, Glasgow's international piping festival, begins tomorrow. Picture: PAPiping Live!, Glasgow's international piping festival, begins tomorrow. Picture: PA
Piping Live!, Glasgow's international piping festival, begins tomorrow. Picture: PA

Piping Live!, which begins tomorrow with a series of events to celebrate its tenth year, has long been regarded as a highlight for traditional musicians from the world over.

Now an analysis of the annual economic impact reports of the event over the years has found that Glasgow has enjoyed the greatest benefit throughout the festival’s life span.

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The city has gained an economic boost of £9,150,000 over the decade, according to the study, while Scotland has benefited from a further £8,800,000 over the period. Some 222,700 people have attended events during the decade, with about 44,500 (20 per cent) of those visitors coming from overseas.

Roddy MacLeod, director and founder of Piping Live!, said the event had revealed a huge international appetite for piping, as well as redefining perceptions of the bagpipes.

He said: “It seems that piping has never been more popular in Scotland and globally. I am constantly surprised by the extent of the market and to know that people are playing pipes in the most unexpected of places.

“Piping Live! has become a hugely significant event for world piping because for the past ten years it has brought 
pipers from all of the world’s varying piping traditions to Glasgow, allowing for great musical interaction and cross-fertilisation of musical ideas and skills.”

“At the festival, we have Hungarian bagpipes, Majorcan bagpipes, French bagpipes, Spanish bagpipes and so on, which all have their own unique characteristics. The performers bring their own unique charm and style, too, which makes it a spectacular week-long festival.”

The study found that the festival has created 237 jobs for Glasgow in the decade, and a further 282 in Scotland as a whole.

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This year, Glasgow’s St Enoch Square will act as the festival’s new hub, with a tent featuring daily performances by some of the world’s best folk musicians and pipers.

Highlights will include the Pipes and Strings concert – featuring globetrotting acts from Canada, Scotland and Galicia on Wednesday – and award-winning Brave singer, Julie Fowlis, who will headline the Gaelic Music Concert on Thursday.

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Both concerts will be at another new location for the festival, the New Atheneum at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

This year also marks the first time that the World Pipe Band Championships will take place over two days. The contest, known internationally as the Worlds, will be extended over next weekend after organisers said they had “listened to feedback” from piping aficionados.

Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships will take place from tomorrow until 18 August. Visit www.peoplemakeglasgow.com/piping for information and tickets.