Melbourne Highland Games & Celtic Festival       23 March 2025

Williamstown Highland Celtic Gathering            26 October 2024

Pipe Bands

Victorian Pipe Band Championships

Pipe Bands Australia – Victoria Branch

We are honoured to be hosting the Victorian Pipe Band Championships for 2024

Any non-competing pipe bands who would like to perform at the Games should contact our Bands Coordinator at

About the Bagpipes

Bagpipes have existed in many countries. The basic instrument is the same, a bag with a chanter and one or more drones. Some of these were mouth blown while others used a bellows attachment to supply the air. The bag provided a sustained tone while the musician took a breath and allowed several tones to be played at once.

The origin of the pipes in Scotland is uncertain, some believe that they came from Ireland. Another theory is that they developed independently.

In the Lowlands, pipers occupied well-defined positions as town pipers, performers for weddings, feasts, and fairs. Lowland pipers played songs and dance music, as was expected by their audience. In the Highlands pipers were strongly influenced by the Celtic legends and the wild nature of the Highlands. The Highland piper occupied a high and honoured position within the Clan system. To be a piper was sufficient and, if he could play well, nothing else would be asked of him.

As a musical instrument of war, the Great Pipes of the Highlands were without equal, according to historians. The shrill and penetrating notes worked well in the roar and din of battle and pipes could be heard at distances up to ten miles. Because of the importance of the bagpipes to any Highland army, they were classified as an instrument of war by the Loyalist government during the Highland uprising in the 1700s. After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745, kilts and bagpipes were outlawed.