Culture Secretary honoured as Chieftain of the World Pipe Band Championships

Pipes and drums still thriving across the generations

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop will celebrate Scotland’s musical heritage when she serves as Chieftain at the World Pipe Band Championships.

The two-day event, held on Glasgow Green, will showcase the number of young people taking up the pipes and drums, with up to 30% of the 8,000 competitors under the age of 25.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Pipe band music sits at the very heart of Scotland’s culture and communities, celebrated the length and breadth of the country, and I’m heartened to see so many young people continuing this vibrant tradition.

“I have the greatest respect for all the tutors and volunteers who dedicate their time throughout the year to nurturing young talent.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the work of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and to extend a warm welcome to all the international bands for the commitment they make to travel across the world to attend one of the star events in Scotland’s cultural calendar.”

Ms Hyslop was invited to be Chieftain of the World Pipe Band Championships in recognition of her passionate support of pipe band music and its development around the world.

John Hughes, chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), said:

“We have been proud to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to many pipe band competitions and know she appreciates the skill, dedication and endeavour required to join a pipe band and the benefits members get from coming to Glasgow to compete in what is a uniquely Scottish event admired the world over.”

Ms Hyslop met with four young musicians taking part in the World Championships: Anna Dickson, 15, and 14-year-old Euan Mullarky from West Lothian Schools Pipe Band; and Kirsten Goodall, 11, and 13-year-old Kieran Allan-Brown from Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band, Prestonpans, East Lothian.

The benefits of playing in pipe bands include increased confidence, teamwork, creativity and concentration.

Since the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board was established in 2010 to recognise learning in this area, nearly 2,000 pipers and drummers have achieved qualifications. The vast majority were young people, some aged as young as 10.


Picture caption: Piper Kirsten Goodall and drummer Kieran Allan-Brown in red and blue kilts. Piper Euan Mullarky and drummer Anna Dickson in green kilts. With Fiona Hyslop and John Hughes. Pictures by Greg Macvean.



The World Pipe Band Championships – known as “The Worlds” - brings together the exceptional talent of pipers and drummers from across the globe, all converging on Glasgow Green for a thrilling two-day contest on August 16 and 17.

Last year audiences of more than 30,000 celebrated the talent of bands from 13 nations.

This year will see 35 bands made up almost entirely of young people under the age of 18 compete at the World Championships – almost 20% of the total number of bands attending. A large percentage of adult bands also have young people playing in their ranks. This equates to more than 1,000 young people playing pipes and drums, some of whom are playing at the highest level in Grade 1 bands.

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) is the recognised centre of excellence for the promotion and development of pipe band music internationally. There are currently nearly 13,000 individual members of the Association in 531 bands. Around 20% of the membership are young men and women under the age of 18.

The RSPBA is a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) approved centre and offers a clear pathway for pipers and drummers to achieve SQA Qualifications in Piping and Snare Drumming.  The RSPBA has students from Germany, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and Eire, as well as across the whole of the UK.

Back to top