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Blas Festival 2018 to showcase young musicians

29th May 2018

Photograph of Blas Festival 2018 to showcase young musicians

Blas Festival to showcase young musicians and their choice of bands for Year of Young People 2018.

The Highland Capital will ring to the sound of hundreds of young people performing traditional music and song as the finale to this year's Blas Festival in a special event to mark Scotland's Year of Young People 2018.

The Blas Festival is providing a platform to showcase the amazing talents of young people and provide them with various opportunities to express themselves through culture. This will culminate in a largescale showcase of young talent - Òran Mòr - in Inverness on Saturday 15 September when over 500 young musicians and singers are expected to perform alongside Skipinnish and Trail West, among others.

The Northern Meeting Park will be transformed into a concert venue for the day and organisers are confident at least 3,000 people will gather for this unique celebration of youth music-making.

Blas is also offering a new commission for a young musician, sponsored by Thorntons Investments, which will guarantee performances of a new piece at Blas, as well as the opportunity to record the work after the festival to bring the music to a wider audience.

There will be a Ceòl nam Fèis showcase concert involving around 150 young people from local Fèisean on the eve of the finale Òran Mòr event. Fèisean nan Gàidheal has organised Ceòl nam Fèis concerts before, but not since the 2014 Year of Homecoming when a large audience at Eden Court enjoyed a variety of groups and individuals learning music through the Fèis movement.

Arthur Cormack of Fèisean nan Gàidheal, which organises the Blas Festival in partnership with The Highland Council, explained: "Blas has always involved young people as performers at events, mainly from Fèisean we support but also from the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music based at Plockton High School, as well as the Highland Council regional music groups such as Snas and Còisir G."

"This year their involvement will be even more widespread as young people take on a key role in creating, organising and running events, offering them a range of experiences in the process. The young people with whom we are working have, so far, chosen two great Highland and Island bands, Skipinnish and Trail West, to play at Òran Mòr with more acts to be announced shortly."

Skipinnish are riding an ever-growing wave of popularity having sold out Eden Court for two nights earlier this year and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh more recently. A week after their appearance at Òran Mòr, the band will go on to play at Glasgow's Barrowlands.

With all band members hailing from the Hebridean Isles of Tiree and South Uist, the music and culture that they were raised in remains a pure and refreshing trademark in the sound of Trail West. The band is hugely popular with people of all ages with their combination of island cèilidh music and song.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "We are delighted to be supporting the Blas Festival through dedicated Year of Young People funding. Now in its 14th year, the festival, which is a wonderful celebration of Highland and Gaelic culture shines a spotlight on Scotland’s traditions and indeed the region itself for both visitors and locals to enjoy."

“Events such as the Blas Festival further reinforce Scotland’s capability in staging major events of this calibre, whilst enabling us to focus on the younger generation by providing a range of opportunities and exciting activity during this special year.”

Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of Corporate Resources and Chair of the Gaelic Strategy and Implementation Group, said: “The Highland Council is delighted to be supporting this signature event to celebrate the Year of Young People in the Highland area. The young people of the Highlands are our future as we rely on them to be the traditional bearers of our language and culture.”

Arthur Cormack concluded: “We are grateful to The Highland Council for continuing to fund the Blas Festival which has enabled us to offer this platform to work in partnership with EventScotland, adding a valuable and meaningful Gaelic language dimension to the Year of Young People and attracting a larger scale event to the Highlands. We are also grateful to all our regular funders and partners and look forward to a great celebration of the involvement of young people in traditional music at this year’s festival.”

Tickets for Òran Mòr will be on sale in June when the rest of the 2018 Blas Festival programme is launched.

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