‘Big­gest ever’ High­lands and Is­lands fes­ti­val en­joys launch

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

THE 34th High­lands and Is­lands Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic and Dance launched in the CalMac ferry ter­mi­nal in Oban on Mon­day, promis­ing more than 100 com­pe­ti­tions from April 28 to May 1.

Or­gan­is­ers say on the web­site that, ‘2017 is go­ing to be our big­gest year yet with new venues, over 1,100 par­tic­i­pants, 125 com­pe­ti­tion classes in 11 dis­ci­plines and new fringe events to be an­nounced.’

Or­gan­is­ers hope to at­tract more than 3,000 vis­i­tors to boost the lo­cal econ­omy over the May bank hol­i­day, with an es­ti­mated eco­nomic im­pact of £ 3 mil­lion.

This year more dancers than ever are ex­pected and the chore­og­ra­phy is ex­pected to fo­cus on themes of His­tory and Her­itage, and ‘Scot­land – A spirit of its own’. Danc­ing is not the only event on the bill, with pi­ano, clarsach, wood­wind, brass, fid­dle, ac­cor­dion and pip­ing at­tract­ing some of the best mu­si­cians around, from as far as the US, Ire­land and the cen­tral belt.

The fes­ti­val opens at Oban’s Cor­ran Halls which hosts the Scot­tish Chore­og­ra­phy Chal­lenge as well as the ac­tion songs, choirs, en­sem­ble, recorder and sing­ing on Fri­day April 28, the same day as St John’s Cathe­dral sees the ac­cor­dion and fid­dle mas­ters.

The next day fea­tures the fam­ily dance ‘Fes­ti­val Fling’ in the Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Hall, and High­land danc­ing for the Scot­tish area fi­nals and pre-premier age groups at At­lantis Leisure, which con­tin­ues on Sun­day April 30 for the premier age groups.

The vol­un­teer com­mit­tee are keen to grow the feis and work­shops, bring­ing in new blood to learn from some of the best, through work­shops and also let­ting peo­ple see and try some­thing new. The fes­ti­val pro­gramme will also en­ter­tain vis­i­tors with a ceilidh in Skip­in­nish, and live stages in Stafford Street and Sta­tion Square over the four days.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Kathryn Wilkie, an ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer for ex­pres­sive arts at Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, said: ‘Some­thing must be right to reach 34 years. What has been suc­cess­ful? Why do peo­ple come to Oban to dance, to play, to sing, to com­pete, to take part?

‘ Well, this fes­ti­val has some­thing for all. The more es­tab­lished dance, the fling, the sean tri­ub­has, and then there’s the cre­ativ­ity – the Scot­tish Chore­og­ra­phy Chal­lenge. An eclec­tic choice in mu­sic – clas­si­cal, show, trad, the ever pop­u­lar ac­tion song, choirs, duets – it goes on.

‘Ac­cor­dions, pipes, fid­dles, pi­anos, clarsachs, trum­pets, recorders, drum pads, the list is very long and many vo­cal mixes too. And for all ages – you don’t have to be young to take part. Mu­sic and dance are good for the soul, at any age.

‘The fes­ti­val is im­por­tant: it is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of our com- mu­nity, as are the peo­ple who work hard all year to en­sure it hap­pens. Let’s con­tinue to work hard, dance hard and play hard to en­able all the com­mu­nity, old and young, per­form­ers and au­di­ence, to reap the ben­e­fits.’

Mu­si­cians en­ter­tained pas­sen­gers wait­ing at Oban’s CalMac ferry ter­mi­nal on Mon­day, at the launch.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.