SPOTLIGHT ON Blas Festival 2011
Inspired by events like Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours Festival, the Blas Festival was set-up by The Highland Council in 2006 in order to bring a major festival of Celtic celebrations to the Highlands & Islands. Gaelic arts organisation Fèisean nan Gàidheal were tasked with developing and delivering the celebrations and from the outset their key aim was to feature the best in home-grown talent alongside internationally renowned traditional musicians.
Traditional and acoustic music, as well as Gaelic language and song, are the mainstay of the festival programme and this year it features nearly 100 events across the Highlands in venues that range from community halls, to Inverness Airport and even on top of a mountain in the Cairngorms!
“Blas has developed an excellent reputation over recent years for innovative events and high quality performances, and this year’s programme underlines this. This is a full and ambitious programme with top Scottish performers which will help strengthen the Gaelic language and enrich the cultural life of Scotland.” - Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Gaelic
As you would expect, the 2011 programme is awash with top Scottish talent and features the likes of Karen Matheson, Karine Polwart, Iain Morrison & Daibhidh Martin, Kathleen MacInnes and the fast rising Mánran - who most recently made an explosive impact at the Cambridge Folk festival, supported by Creative Scotland.
This year’s festival forms a key part of the Year of Scotland’s Islands initiative and two musical works have been specially commissioned to promote this. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye will host Hallaig – a piece of music written by Inverness born composer Stuart MacRae and commissioned by Urras Shomhairle to commemorate 100 years since the birth of Raasay-born poet Sorley Maclean - and Gaelic singing star Julie Fowlis will perform the specially commissioned Heisgeir in village halls across the Highlands.
There will also be two landmark birthday celebrations for the Fèis Movement, with Fèis Rois celebrating 25 years at the Strathpeffer Pavilion on the 11 September and Fèis Spè marking their 21st anniversary in the Ptarmigan Resaurant on top of the Cairngorms on the 9 September. Carrying on the theme of unique locations, the restaurant in Inverness Airport will play host to another special one-off event on the 12 September, including performances from The Outside Track and Maggie Macdonald.
A full festival programme is available on the Blas website along with links to purchase tickets for all the events. Tickets can also be purchased through a dedicated hotline on 0844 248 5096.
In 2011 Creative Scotland invested £50,000 in the Blas Festival to help them develop their programme and to go towards the commissioning of new work.
Share This Article