World Pipe Band Championships

Isle of Skye Pipe Band.

This weekend, Glasgow plays host to the World Pipe Band Championships, the annual celebration of piping.

The Worlds, as they are affectionately known, bring together 200 of the best pipe bands, with 8,000 musicians from 14 countries at Glasgow Green (nearest Subway station: St. Enoch).

Some 50,000 spectators are due to attend – extending Glasgow’s incredible summer of spectacle beyond the Commonwealth Games.

There are titles up for grabs across several grades from juvenile to Grade 1 – genuinely the Champion’s League of piping. And the standard of performance is always incredibly high, from the qualifiers on Friday (August 15) through to the main event on the Saturday (August 16).

Last year, the Grade 1 champions were, for the third year in a row, the Field Marshall Montgomery band from Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Can they win the title for an unprecedented fourth time in succession?

There is no upper limit on the number of pipers in a band and while kilts aren’t compulsory, you can expect every band to turn up looking their most colourful best.

Youtube: Field Marshall Montgomery:

The Competition
Each band performs an “MSR” – a March, a Strathspey and a Reel – followed by a Medley of their own choosing.

They perform while arranged in a circle – and their performance is scored by four judges. The event closes with a March Past, a salute to the World’s Chieftain – which involves all the competing bands. And look out too for the Drum Major competition, where the baton twirling drum majors are judged in a solo competition.

In a summer that has been dominated by Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games, the Worlds is another first class event that calls the city home.

On the Saturday the event also plays host to the Albannach Food and Drink Festival, at which the country’s leading foragers, chefs, butchers, fromagiers and drinks experts will serve up their delicacies.

Beyond the Worlds there will be plenty of opportunity to catch some quality piping with the Piping Live festival taking place around the city.

With venues ranging from the National Piping Centre on Hope Street, to Candleriggs and to the Art School – all within a short walk of a Subway station – there’s no excuse for anyone not to hear the skirl of the pipes this week.