William Kennedy Piping Festival

The 29th William Kennedy Piping Festival takes place in Armagh on 16-19 November 2023. 

You can book for all events online – links are on the Programme page. Please note that there are no physical tickets – when you book, your name goes onto a list at your event(s). Some events have limited capacity and will be taken off sale when individual sales plus Festival Pass and Academy sales reach the limit. For other events, it will be possible to pay on the door.  

The WKPF is an international festival of mainly bagpipe-based traditional music. Organised as a one-off event by Armagh Pipers Club in 1994, as part of a cross-community “Armagh Together” series of events, the Festival was such a success that it was reprised in 1995, and then became a regular annual fixture. A total of 26 festivals took place up to 2019, drawing into Armagh a vast array of internationally renowned musicians, and aficionados from all over the world. It is one of the longest-running festivals of its kind in the world of piping.

The Festival had to take a break in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but returned in 2021 – on a smaller scale than in previous years, to ensure public safety. The 2022 edition was considerably larger, with some 41 musicians taking part, and the 2023 Festival has the same number. There will be five public concerts, the Mark Donnelly Piping Academy, various workshops, a lecture, a film screening and a concert for schools.  

For a list of the 2023 Festival artists, see here.

William Kennedy, after whom the Festival is named, was a blind craftsman from Tandragee, near Armagh, who lived from 1768 to 1834. He made several important innovations in the design of uilleann pipes. His biography forms a chapter of The William Kennedy Lectures, a collection of 19 essays based on lectures presented during the first 25 Festivals. The book can be ordered from our online shop.