William Kennedy Piping Festival

The William Kennedy Piping Festival 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 as 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 is “on pause” for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but if circumstances permit, it will return in 2021.

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.