International Bagpipe Day 2014

I was driving home round the M42 when I had the idea. I'd just got myself elected as Publicity Officer for the Bagpipe Society and I was thinking about ways to promote both the Society and this rather wonderful ancient instrument of ours. Then I had it. We needed an International Bagpipe Day.

The question was, how do you initiate such an event? Is there some central authority that regulates Potato Week and International Women's Day and all the rest, to whom you must go, cap in hand, to plead your case?

Apparently not. No, all you need is an idea and sufficient people to run with it. Magic really. And that's how March 10th became International Bagpipe Day.

Here I was lucky to find Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, an enthusiastic ethnomusicology PhD student studying the bagpipes of Mallorca (and with a contact list as long as your arm) who organised the First International Bagpipe Conference at SOAS in London in 2012. SOAS put its might behind publicity for the event and before you knew it there were bagpipes on Breakfast TV and on Radio 4's Today programme. IBD went viral and global.

Well, in a week's time, on Saturday March 8th, there's to be a Second International Bagpipe Conference, again at SOAS, and again organised by Cassandre. I was lucky enough to be on the panel selecting papers for the event and I can assure you the line-up is pretty tasty, with presentations on pipes from Belarus, Greece, the heavy metal bagpipes of Germany...the list goes on. I'm particularly excited that Eric Montbel will be giving a paper as he was a major influence on my playing when I was starting out. There's a special concert on the friday night, and a bal on the Saturday featuring young French hotshot, Julien Cartonnet. 

Tickets are still available, but you must book in advance. If you can't make it, not to worry, as there will be bagpipe-related events happening all over the place. And if there isn't one near you, why not start something?

It's amazing what can grow from simple beginnings.


  1. I love the idea of an International Bagpipe Day. But have go hung up on your comments about the humble potato and felt compelled to share this link



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