THE world's biggest piping festival is under way in Glasgow, attracting about 50,000 spectators to the city.

Piping Live!, which launched yesterday, will welcome visitors from 26 countries including France, Spain, the US, Australia, and Macedonia. The event runs until August 17.

This is the first year Piping Live! is being held at its new city home in Candleriggs in the Merchant City. It was previously held in George Square and, last year, in St Enoch Square.

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Five-year-old Grace Carruthers, from Kilmarnock, opened the festival by playing with Andrew Douglas, Pipe Sergeant of the Stuart Highlanders, who have travelled from Boston to play the festival.

Grace's mother Lesley-Anne said: "Grace lights up whenever she hears the pipes so it was great to be able to bring her along today to meet some of the world's best pipers in person. I'll be taking her into town every day this week to enjoy the events on offer across the city. She's been piping mad ever since our wedding and she's already trying to convince me to buy her a set of bagpipes, so we will need to look at getting her some lessons at the National Piping Centre."

Roddy MacLeod, director of Piping Live!, said: "We are delighted to have Candleriggs for 2014, it is a great space in a central location. It's important for us to bring performances into the city centre as it gives Glaswegians and visitors a taste of the festival.

"Not only does it give them a chance to see the best Highland bagpipe bands from around the world, but also piping disciplines which can take them by surprise and sound very different from the expected.

"There will also be some great other folk and traditional music performances and the food market will be a really great addition."