Pipehacker Travelogue: George Square and the National PIping Centre, Glasgow
Sometimes the pressure of just performing in front of a knowledgeable audience packs a bigger punch in the gut than the pressure of the pipe band competition circle. The Piping Live! festival has been inviting pipe bands to perform free concerts in George Square since its inception. Many of the overseas bands in town for the Worlds take up the invite and it is a good way to “strut your stuff” so to speak, leading up to the big day on Glasgow green. The Piping Live! set up keeps getting bigger and better and, when the weather cooperates like it did today, is a good draw for tourists and locals alike.
After three competitions over two (extremely wet) days at North Berwick and Bridge of Allan, it was a welcome release to perform in the sunshine in front of the appreciative crowd that gathers annually for the free shows at the Square for Piping Live. No time pressures or adrenaline jitters to mar what ended up being a fun and very impressive showing by Oran Mor.
The National Piping Centre is the social hub of the Piping Live! festival the week leading up to the Worlds. Oran Mor took the steps in front of their street cafÃ© later in the afternoon to have a short practice/exhibition. The crowd around the Piping Centre is a step up from the George Square collection as it is made up of mostly pipers and drummers with the odd group of traditional musicians thrown in. It was great bumping into American piping friends who are all over for their own performances as well as gearing up for the Green on Saturday. The band sounded great and had a good run through of the competitive repertoire, and hopefully raised a few eyebrows in the process.