The 9th International Festival of Town Pipers 16th-17th May 2020

Date(s) - 16th May 2020 - 17th May 2020

Over the weekend the streets of Worcester will come alive to the sound of shawms, sackbuts, bagpipes and other early instruments, as the Guild of Town Pipers comes to town.

This biennial event which is organised by the guild brings together groups of musicians from across Europe who specialise in recreating the civic bands of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. These are known In England as Waites, in the Netherlands and Germany as Stadspijpers and in Italy as Piffari. These colourfully costumed musicians were employed by towns to provide music for public and civic events, celebrations and processions. Often they would perform out of doors and their instruments were chosen to be loud enough to carry in the streets and town squares in the days before amplification.

The festival will see around 12 bands giving free performances outside the Guildhall, at Greyfriars, Tudor House museum, the Commandery and other locations. The event will culminate on Sunday with a mass performance in Elgar Square where over 60 players will assemble to play together “The Great Noyse”, an event unique to the guild and not to be missed.

For further background information about the history of the Waits, as well as information on modern performers of this music and support material for those wanting to give it a go, please have a look around the rest of The Waits Website, a resource provided by The International Guild of Town Pipers.

Sue Pope

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Worcester Guildhall