A massive celebration of the culture of traditional music and Gaelic in the Highlands of Scotland.
Blas Festival goes online for 11 days of Gaelic music and culture Highland festival launches impressive online programme of Gaelic song and music
Gaelic music will still be celebrated throughout the Highlands and Islands this November as the Blas Festival will go ahead online, with an impressive line-up of some of Scotlandâs best loved traditional musicians and singers.
The Blas Festival, which usually celebrates Gaelic culture and the thriving Scottish traditional music scene over 8 or 9 days of events in venues across the Highlands and Islands, will take place online over 11 days this month, via a variety of livestreamed and pre-recorded concerts, cÃ¨ilidhs, workshops and other events. It is hoped that with this yearâs festival being online, people from around the world will be able to enjoy, and support, some of the Highlandâs best musical talent from the comfort of their own home.
Blas, which means âtasteâ or âsampleâ and is organised by FÃ¨isean nan GÃ idheal in partnership with The Highland Council, will take place from 20-30 November, opening with a brand new musical arrangement and culminating in a St Andrewâs Night concert including performances of newly composed Gaelic songs inspired by Scotlandâs Coasts and Waters and a festival finale from Hebridean band, Beinn Lee.
Whilst adhering to the restrictions due to Covid-19, the varied programme, which will consist of both ticketed and free events, will feature performances from various Highland venues, providing much needed work for musicians and creative practitioners, as well as offering musical entertainment to help lift peopleâs spirits at this time.
Opening the festival on 20th November will be a brand new, unique performance, arranged by multi-instrumentalist and producer, Mike Vass, featuring young people from FÃ¨isean across Scotland.
As part of a partnership with SEALL Festival of Small Halls, Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye will host an evening on the 27th November with musicians including Hamish Napier, Su-a Lee, Lauren McColl with Gaelic singer and member of Sian, Eilidh Cormack taking the role of Bean an taighe for the evening. Other performances on the Isle of Skye, in partnership with SEALL, will take place from Braes Hall (26th November) and Sligachan Hotel (28th November) with other popular traditional musicians including BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Gary Innes and singer and harpist, Rachel Newton.
Sian will be joined by Trail West, who celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, with a livestream concert from Eden Court in Inverness on the 29th November.
Other highlights of this yearâs Blas include harpist Ingrid Hendersonâs commission for Nature Scotland to celebrate the 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters featuring Ingrid alongside Anna Massie, Conal McDonagh and Megan Henderson with film, animations and images by Somhairle MacDonald, streaming live from Mallaig Hall; a birthday celebration for Gaelic singer Christine Primrose who will mark the occasion with friends including Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart, singer and box player Murdo âWaspâ MacDonald and Highland piper and former Battlefield Band member, Duncan MacGillivray.
As well as the main concerts and cÃ¨ilidhs each evening, there will be daytime song sessions, music workshops, talks on various aspects of Gaelic culture, drama performances and film. Three online cÃ¨ilidhs will take place with, among others, BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Josie Duncan and Hamish Macleod as well as Ingrid Henderson and Iain MacFarlane.
All events taking place during Blas will strictly adhere to current government guidelines. The full programme of events can be found at www.blas.scot along with details of how to purchase tickets.