William Kennedy Piping Festival of Armagh

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Country and Region United KingdomNorthern Ireland
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Armagh, County Armagh, Northern Ireland UK
Festival Contact Information

William Kennedy Piping Festival
Armagh Pipers Club
14 Victoria Street
Armagh, County Armagh
BT61 9DT Northern Ireland UK
Phone: (44) 28-37511248, or (44) 28-37511249
Fax: (44) 2-37511248
Email: info@wkpf.org

Festival Description

The Armagh Pipers Club's William Kennedy Piping Festival takes place each November at various venues across Armagh City. The program features return visits from some of our favorite artists from throughout the years as well as host of new faces from the vibrant and diverse world of piping. What began as a small gathering of keen aficionados in the Drumsill House Hotel in 1994 has blossomed into one of the biggest and most important events of its kind in the world. Over the past 15 years the festival has not only presented the best of piping from Ireland and Scotland but has also welcomed guests from every corner of Europe – from the Iberian peninsula to the Mediterranean countries, from the Balkans to Central and Eastern Europe and from further north in Scandinavia to the different regions of England and Wales. The festival has also ventured further afield playing host to the exoticism of Algerian and Iranian music, as well as welcoming pipers from Canada, U.S.A. and Australia. Over the years the festival has played host to performances from such luminaries as The Chieftains, Altan, Davy Spillane, Paddy Keenan, Gordon Duncan, Capercaillie, Fred Morrison, Carlos Nuñez, Kathryn Tickell, and The Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band.

Festival Dates November 14 - 17, 2013
Festival Links


Festival Story:

Festival celebrates the life and work of William Kennedy, the 18th century piper, pipe maker and inventor who was born in 1768. This Festival, originally was conceived to bring together pipers from different countries and traditions, and was the first of its kind anywhere in Northern Europe. To date the event has brought pipers from Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Belarus, Canada, USA, England, Scotland, and Wales as well as the cream of Irish pipers to Armagh.


Festival Events:

Programming 2013:
  • About
    • The 20th William Kennedy Piping Festival will close with the now traditional Sunday afternoon uilleann pipes concert at the Studio Theatre. This concert again promises to be memorable with some of the best uilleann pipers in the world coming to play. None of them really needs much introduction to piping fans with the likes of Mikie Smyth, Mick O’Brien, Conor Lavelle, Cillian Vallely, John McSherry and Loic Blejean taking the stage from 2.30pm onwards. The winner last year of the prestigious Mark Donnelly bursary Fintan Mulholland will be joining the line-up as well and the 2013 awards will be presented.
  • Free events
    • While the three headline concerts at the Marketplace dominate the programme there are numerous free events throughout the 4 days of the festival providing almost non-stop music from Thursday through to Sunday night. Children from local schools can look forward to 3 concerts featuring international pipe music from England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Hungary, as well as a performance by the legendary Armagh Rhymers - generously supported by INTO (Irish National Teachers’ Organisation). In addition to this, over 300 children from Irish medium schools will participate in Lá na Meánscoileanna and Lá na nGaelscoileanna - a day of traditional arts activities in Irish and Scottish Gàidhlig featuring festival guests. This will be delivered in partnership with Gael Linn and supported by Colmcille and Foras na Gaeilge.
  • The Academy
    • The William Kennedy Academy of Piping returns for a second year, doubling its participant numbers since last year, welcoming students from Poland, USA, The Netherlands, France, Spain, England, Scotland and from all over Ireland to Armagh. The Academy will run parallel to the public festival starting on Friday evening and continuing through the weekend with master-classes, workshops, lectures and sessions. The Charlemont Arms is the Academy hub for the weekend and will be the host of a number of sessions - Thursday 8pm, Saturday 5pm, Saturday night from 10pm and the ever popular Singing Session led by Jarlath & Alana Henderson, Fintan Vallely, Maeve MacKinnon and Gráinne Holland on Sunday at 12.30pm - all welcome!
  • Sessions
    • Red Neds, The Hole in the Wall Bar, De Averell House, Embers, The Victoria Bar and Footlights Bar & Bistro will host other sessions during the festival - world class music in a warm, friendly environment with the famous Armagh hospitality!


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