Thousands of musicians from across the globe are expected to take part in the 75th World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow this weekend.
The event at Glasgow Green will run for two days with around 40,000 spectators expected on Saturday.
The event is considered to be the most important event in the calendar for performers all vying to be crowned world champion.
It comes following a week of the Piping Live! musical celebration which is marking two decades.
The showcase march this week, from Mansefield Park in Partick to the concourse of the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, showcased around 130 musicians and is held in aid of charity partner, Versus Arthritis.
The event, and week-long festival, showcases the talents of all pipers and aims to be as inclusive as possible.
Katie Robertson, 16, known online as The Wheeled Piper is taking part for the first time. She said: “When I found out I needed life-threatening, and saving, spinal fusion surgery for severe scoliosis, I became determined to progress on the pipes. It was my piping that saved me, both physically as my lungs were stronger, and mentally because it was the best medicine.
“I suffer from arthritis and have since I was four, so this year’s charitable cause is one that’s close to my heart. I was told I would never play the pipes but I’ve been able to prove those doubters wrong and have had the chance to play with some of my biggest inspirations over the last two years.”
She added: “Most importantly, I feel connected in a community that accepts me for my love of music – that’s why participating in the Big Band is such an amazing opportunity. It’s a way for me to support a charity that helps people like me. It’s changing perceptions on what anyone can do too, focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t. I can’t walk, but piping’s more impressive anyway!”
Finlay MacDonald, artistic director for Piping Live!, said on the march this week: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to the line up and made this year’s festival possible. Whether you have bought a ticket, donated, are performing, working or volunteering at Piping Live! 2023, we couldn’t do it without you.
“You can really feel the buzz of anticipation in the air for this year’s event. We would encourage anyone interested to get down and experience all that the world’s biggest piping festival has to offer.”
Glasgow Life chair, Bailie Annette Christie, said: “Bagpipes are an iconic symbol of our nation’s heritage and culture, so there’s something very special about hearing the streets and venues of our city resound with the music of the pipes. And whether that’s traditional strathspeys and reels, modern medleys or a fusion of styles, there’s no better place or time to experience the thrill of live piping than right here in Glasgow, right now.
“During Piping Live! we also have the World Pipe Band Championships to look forward to on August 18 and 19. This year’s much-anticipated ‘battle of the bands’ will see 15 countries represented by 190 competing bands, so it promises to be a spectacular highlight.
“All of these outstanding piping events taking place really demonstrate why Glasgow deserves its UNESCO City of Music designation, and is such a world-class destination for cultural events.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “I am delighted that EventScotland has been on this journey with Piping Live! for the past 20 years, and supporting again through our international funding programme in 2023.
“It has been wonderful to see the event grow and diversify over the past two decades, showcasing the global impact of our national instrument whilst reinforcing Scotland’s place as a world-leading events destination.”
Also sold out is the festival’s Closing Concert, rounding off the 20th edition with performances by some festival favourites.
Tickets and more information on where and when each performance is happening are available at www.pipinglive.co.uk.
Piping Live! is a charity, donations to support its world-class programming into the future can be made here.