March 28, 2020

Finlay MacDonald appointed Artistic Director of Piping Live! festival

Finlay MacDonald

Virtuoso piper and long-time teacher and leader at the National Piping Centre has been appointed Artistic Director of the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping. He follows in the footsteps of his former boss, Roddy MacLeod, who left the post in January.

MacDonald’s appointment comes at a time when Piping Live!’s 2020 status is unknown due to uncertainty with how long the COVID-19 crisis lasts.

The festival is run under the auspices of the National Piping Centre, which has had to suspend its search for the Director of Piping position, which also became vacant with MacLeod’s resignation. Roddy MacLeod had held both roles since their respective inceptions, and he had played a central part in establishing both the Piping Centre and Piping Live! over the last two decades.

“We are still concluding interviews and some have taken place, but because of the current circumstances, the process is taking longer than expected,” said National Piping Centre Administration Director Alberto Laidlaw.

Regarding Piping Live!, Laidlaw added, “We are assessing the situation on a daily basis and taking advice from the relevant government bodies. We are hoping that we can run Piping Live!, but public safety is the main concern and we will make a decision based on that as soon as possible.”

The weeklong festival is currently still scheduled from August 9th to 16th, with more than 200 performances at a multitude of venues around the National Piping Centre and Glasgow’s City Centre. The festival leverages the influx of pipers, drummers and enthusiasts in Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championships.

The 2020 World’s are still scheduled for August 14-15 at Glasgow Green. The pipe band world is on edge hoping for the event still to take place, but also expecting an announcement from Glasgow Life and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, which put on the event together. The RSPBA has already cancelled its first three major 2020 championships, and at least one Grade 1 band, Manawatu Scottish of New Zealand, has cancelled its plans to attend.

Like other “non-essential” Scottish businesses, the National Piping Centre has had to close its premises, but continues to teach via its extensive online instruction capabilities.

Finlay MacDonald has played a central role with the National Piping Centre, particularly with the institution’s Bachelor of Music (Piping) degree program with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, also in Glasgow. While not generally a participant in solo or band competitions, he has established himself as a performer and recording artist, as well as a consultant for many pipers and Celtic folk groups for their own concerts and recordings.

An earlier version of this article listed MacDonald as “Director” of Piping Live! He is in fact Artistic Director, with the overall Director still to be appointed. 



Roddy MacLeod resigns as head of National Piping Centre
January 10, 2020


Piping Live! 2020 on solid ground, despite loss of MacLeod
January 13, 2020


New Zealand’s Manawatu Scottish cancels 2020 World’s trip
March 24, 2020





Forgotten Password?