City Piper Festivals


In the years 1400-1600, many cities left a group of paid musicians, who musically represented the city at important receipts and events. That could be in the 'own' city, but at the larger events it could also take place elsewhere.. The municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch also had such a group of musicians: the Stadpipers of 's-Hertogenbosch. In the historical archives, the Stadpipers are present until about 1629, then no longer. 1629 was a historic year, when Stadtholder Frederik Hendrik conquered the city of 's-Hertogenbosch, and came under the rule of the northern Netherlands. Presumably, the new board has made short work with the old, including all cultural facilities. Presumably that is not the only reason for the disappearance of city musicians paid by the municipality, you saw the phenomenon slowly disappear elsewhere.

800 years of 's-Hertogenbosch

In 1984, the municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch existed exactly 800 years. That had to be celebrated appropriately and one of the ideas was to revive the City Pipers for that occasion. Initially only meant for the festivities, but it was too fun for that. With renewed attention to historical clothing, but especially historical musical instruments and music from the period 1400-1600, the group started to work with new impetus — the group still exists.

Are we alone ?


The question arose: are we now the only (re-established) city pipe group, or are there more? And wouldn't it be nice to share ideas and music with each other? A survey yielded a surprising result: on the mainland of Western Europe, the Stadpipelpers of 's-Hertogenbosch are, as far as we know, the only group operating in the tradition of Stadpijpers.. Only in England there are still several groups active. Contact was made and that resulted in an idea: why no city pipes #festivals , which is organized every two years in one of the City Piper cities? So said, so done.

Group photo participants 8th festival, King's Lynn

The festivals

A special guild was created: The International Guild of Town Pipers (The International Guild of Town Pipers) which was actively involved in this idea.

  • The first festival took place in 2004 in 's-Hertogenbosch.
  • 2006: The second festival: York, England
  • 2008: The third festival: Leeds, England
  • 2010: Another festival in 's-Hertogenbosch
  • 2012: Festival in Colchester, England
  • 2014: Festival in Gloucester, England
  • 2016: Festival in 's-Hertogenbosch, coinciding with the Jeroen Bosch year
  • 2018: Festival in King's Lynn, England
  • 2020... The festival would take place in Worchester, England. Unfortunately, because of Corona, this had to be postponed until 2021
  • 2021: Corona again throws (still) soot into the food. The festival will be postponed again, and is now scheduled:
  • 2022: May 2022. Festival of Town Pipers (Festival of Town Pipers) in Worchester, England.


I myself have been a musician since February 2011 at the Stadpipers of 's-Hertogenbosch. Initially I played on the Nicolo (a tenor-shalmei. A shalmei is the medieval precursor of the oboe, also a double-reed instrument). Nowadays I play on the shalmei (soprano instrument) and sometimes on the tenor-dulcian (a dulcian is the precursor of the present bassoon).


I still like it and I am very sorry that we have been able to rehearse far too little by Corona over the past year. Hopefully we will soon be able to put all that behind us and get back to work with enthusiasm. We still have room for several musicians, so if you are interested, or know anyone, please contact us! Today, the group is open, unlike the groups from a distant past, to both men and women.

(c) 2021 Hans van Gemert