Tiree rid­ing crest of wave with awards

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A SMALL is­land mu­sic fes­ti­val al­most wrecked by storms this sum­mer has blown away the op­po­si­tion to win a ma­jor tourism award.

Dur­ing this year’s Tiree Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, more than 1,000 peo­ple had to be evac­u­ated from the site be­cause of strong winds.

A huge re­sponse from the com­mu­nity and lo­cal busi­nesses helped find shel­ter for fes­ti­val-go­ers in schools, the is­land air­port and peo­ple’s homes so the event was able to con­tinue.

The fes­ti­val, which at­tracted a sell- out 1,700 au­di­ence – more than three times the is­land pop­u­la­tion – has been voted Best Cul­tural Event or Fes­ti­val at the pres­ti­gious an­nual High­lands and Is­lands Tourism Awards (HITA).

And in a dou­ble suc­cess for the is­land, the Tiree Wave Clas­sic wind­surf­ing event also won HITA’s new Best Sport­ing Event cat­e­gory,

The awards were pre­sented on Fri­day night by tourism min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing MSP at a cer­e­mony in the Dru­mossie Ho­tel, In­ver­ness.

In all, 15 tourism busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als were crowned win­ners at the event, which was hosted by celebrity chef Tony Singh.

The HITA judges said of the fes­ti­val: ‘The tiny, seem­ingly in­ac­ces­si­ble isle of Tiree has over­come lo­cal con­straints to build its an­nual mu­sic fes­ti­val into an in­cred­i­ble, cul­tural event which brings eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity, high­lights tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary mu­sic and makes imag­i­na­tive use of spon­sor­ship. It is a wor­thy win­ner that has en­hanced the over­all vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘This year the fes­ti­val faced un­prece­dented weather con­di­tions which could have forced it to be aban­doned. How­ever, a truly re­mark­able ef­fort by the or­gan­is­ers and the is­land com­mu­nity en­sured it not just re­cov­ered but flour­ished in the fol­low­ing days.’

Tiree Wave Clas­sic is the long­est run­ning pro­fes­sional wind­surf­ing event in the world. Founded in 1986, it show­cases the UK’s best wind­surf­ing tal­ent, rang­ing from ju­niors to World Cup pro­fes­sional wind­surfers.

AWARD WIN­NERS: Tiree Mu­sic Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers pick up the much cov­eted event of the year award.

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