THE world's biggest piping festival, which has brought nearly £20million to Glasgow, swung into action from its new Merchant City base.

Tens of thousands of people from across the globe are expected to attend Piping Live! this week as more than 200 events get under way.

For the first time, the annual Glasgow Inter-national Piping Festival is being held in Candleriggs, as George Square and St Enoch Square are unavailable.

Schoolgirl Grace Carru-thers, from Kilmarnock, opened the festival by playing with Andrew Douglas, Pipe Sergeant of the Stuart Highlanders.

He had travelled from Boston to play at the festival.

Grace, 5, first heard the pipes at her parent's Lesley-Anne and Steven's wedding, where she took to the dance floor for Auld Lang Syne.

Grace's mum Lesley-Anne added: "Grace lights up when 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."

Securing the area in Wilson Street means the festival will continue to host daily free performances by some of the world's best pipers and pipe bands.

Roddy MacLeod, director of the popular event, 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 different from the expected.

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

Now in its 11th year, around 222,700 people have attended events so far.