December 31, 2017

The 17th annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours

Piping/Drumming Event of the Year

Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping

Every year it gets better, if not bigger, and the 2017 edition of Piping Live! brought in record highs for attendance and financial input into the Glasgow economy. With more than 200 separate performances throughout the week-long festival in August, many of which are free, Piping Live! keeps pipers and drummers there for the World Championships entertained and educated in between practices. It’s difficult to imagine what the week was like before Piping Live! but, for those around will remember dreary and tense days where the “entertainment” was yet another series of pints at the local pub.

Panellists’ comments:

  • “Massive event that does more to promote the art than anything else.”
  • “This festival continues to be the annual pilgrimage for pipers and drummers from around the globe. Each year goes from strength to strength, with new partnerships and events creating a fresh program annually while focusing and investing in crowd favourite events.”
  • “All others fall short in attendance, participation, scope, variety, $$$$ for the City of Glasgow and international reputation.”
  • “A week in August that has everything a piper or drummer would want.”
  • “Hard to imagine any event unseating Piping Live! in the future. The World Pipe Band Championships week would be dead without it.”

Also nominated (alphabetical order):

Captain John A. MacLellan Memorial Dinner Recital (write-in) – one panellist voted for this elegant event as a write-in nominee. Held at the five-star Waldorf-Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh, the recital-competition stages several of the world’s greatest piobaireachd players to perform compositions by or closely associated with the late MacLellan, a giant of piping. “The unique format and relaxing ambience makes this a special evening. Outstanding playing from all the recitalists,” the panellist wrote.

Glenfiddich Invitational Solo Piping Championship – yet another excellent Glenfiddich, the pinnacle of solo piping. We tend to take this contest for granted after nearly 50 years, but its execution is hard graft and heavy lifting for the organizers. Live streaming it to the world is a continued perk for pipers and drummers.

“Live Back In Ireland” – the second re-enactment of the famous 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band 1987 concert in Ballymena was staged in February at the Belfast Waterfront Concert Hall. It was a fitting tribute to the original event, which serendipitously became an unexpected recording milestone for piping and drumming.

“Rise”- Shotts & Dykehead Pre-World’s Concert – the return to greatness by Shotts & Dykehead was a reality as the band delivered a sensation performance over two hours at a sold-out Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. “Rise” was the ultimate pipe band statement that this is a young band ready again for a long and successful future.

2017 World Pipe Band Championships – coming in second with 29% of the vote, the World’s again delivered an astonishing two-day competition with more than 200 bands participating. “If it was ‘Piping Event of the Year’ then Piping Live! no question, but I think on balance the World’s is the focus for most of the pipers/drummers arriving in Glasgow that week, and despite the crappy, two-day Grade 1 nonsense, it continues to be a major focus for pipe bands in all grades,” said a panellist who voted for the competition.


Congratulations to all winners and nominees, and best wishes to all of our readers, subscribers and advertisers for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2018!

Previous pipes|drums New Year’s Honours:

And, as ever, stay tuned.





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