The 34th High­lands and Is­lands Mu­sic and Dance Fes­ti­val

The Oban Times - - Feature -

P repa­ra­tions for the 34th High­lands and Is­lands Mu­sic and Dance Fes­ti­val are well un­der way. The com­pe­ti­tion el­e­ment of the fes­ti­val runs like a well- oiled ma­chine with al­most 100 vol­un­teers in­volved in the or­gan­is­ing, stew­ard­ing, and chap­er­on­ing of the con­tes­tants, ad­ju­di­ca­tors and vis­i­tors. The lo­gis­ti­cal ex­er­cise is not for the faint-hearted. Breege Smyth, who chairs the fes­ti­val, is full of praise for the com­mit­tee. Ra­dio 2 Young Folk Award and H&I M&D Fes­ti­val pip­ing win­ners Brighde Chaim­beul and Chris Lee. This year the pro­gramme for the fringe events is the largest to date with what the or­gan­is­ers hope has some­thing to en­ter­tain ev­ery­one. The fes­ti­val – from next Thurs­day April 27, un­til Mon­day May 1 – will kick off with live pip­ing at McCaig’s Tower on the Thurs­day even­ing at 7pm. Rose­mary McColl is hop­ing the weather will be favourable and ex­pects this per­for­mance to be a pop­u­lar with lo­cals and tourists alike.

Fes­ti­val ma­nia will take over the town on Satur­day with out­door per­for­mances tak­ing place in Sta­tion Square and Stafford Street be­tween noon and 4pm.

Paddy Shaw and his Swing Band will start the party go­ing in the com­mu­nity mar­quee in Stafford Street at noon. The Adele Askew Dancers will also take to the stage and per­form some well-re­hearsed steps. Or­gan­is­ers Laura Macdon­ald and Martin Charlton are look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing hordes of peo­ple to en­joy the va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment on of­fer.

Sta­tion Square will pro­vide an ex­cel­lent space for the Oban FM stage. Well known pre­sen­ter Camp­bell Cameron will in­tro­duce a fine ar­ray of per­form­ers from tra­di­tional to folk. Some sur­prise guests who are on tour in the area are ex­pected to per­form in the after­noon en route to their next gig. Crowd par­tic­i­pa­tion will be re­quested for a unique Strip the Wil­low and Dash­ing White Sergeant. In­struc­tors will be on hand to chore­o­graph this spec­ta­cle.

Many pubs, ho­tels and restau­rants are host­ing live mu­sic events over the week­end. A spe­cial guest to the fes­ti­val is Sarah Fanet, singer/song­writer from Kin­lochleven. Sarah will per­form at the Choco­late shop from 2pm. A full pro­gramme of events is avail­able at BID4OBAN, Visit Scot­land and out­lets.

A first for the fes­ti­val is the ceilidh on Satur­day night, April 29, 8pm at Skip­in­nish Ceilidh House. Ar­gyll-based band Ceilidh’s Homet will per­form a great se­lec­tion of mu­sic to dance to from tra­di­tional to coun­try. The or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing that this dance will ap­peal to lo­cals who want to sup­port the fes­ti­val but can­not make it into town dur­ing the day. Tourists and vis­i­tors will be en­cour­aged to come along to this fundraiser for the fes­ti­val. Tick­ets are £7, and will be on sale at all venues over the week­end or email:info@ oban­fes­ti­val.org.

The suc­cess of this fes­ti­val re­lies on so many peo­ple and, with more than 3,000 vis­i­tors ar­riv­ing for the four- day com­pe­ti­tion events, it is im­por­tant that the en­ter­tain­ment caters for all. The fes­ti­val com­mit­tee is work­ing hard to en­cour­age the lo­cal com­mu­nity to get in­volved.

‘We urge ev­ery­one to come into Oban and join in the fun. This is the first fes­ti­val of the sea­son, and we want to let the world know that Oban is ready to wel­come them with song, dance, mu­sic and laugh­ter,’ said Breege Smyth, chair­per­son.

Se­nior Pip­ing 27A Piobaireachd Grade B 1st Euan De­war from Oban (Pipe Ma­jor of Oban Pipe Band).

Left: Ju­nior Pip­ing 22 Novice March U14s 1st Laura Robert­son from Fort Wil­liam 3rd Erin Byars from Dun­beg 2nd Robert Allen from Glas­gow Mid­dle: Ju­nior Pip­ing 21A Chanter U12s 1st Thomas Wil­son 2nd= Tamzyn Cas­sidy 2nd= Ruaraidh Dren­nan Right: Ju­nior Drum­ming Rachel Thom from Liv­ingston 1st in both 402 Horn­pipe & Jig and 403 Part March 4 Part Strath­spey 4 part Reel

Ju­nior Pip­ing prize-win­ners.

Ju­nior Drum­ming 400 Stick & Pad U14s 1st Oliver Twyn­ham from Camp­bel­town 2nd Phoebe Mel­drum from Tay­port.

Ju­nior Drum­ming 404 Tenor MSR 1st Eilidh Wynd from Dun­blane 2nd= Megan Evans from Oban.

Ju­nior Drum­ming 401 March 1st Matthew MacDon­ald from Oban 2nd Grant Strain from Air­drie 3rd Zoe Cook from Oban.

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