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Virtual Online 2020 Blas Festival - Report To Highland Council

16th February 2021

Photograph of Virtual Online 2020 Blas Festival - Report To Highland Council

The report will be discussed by the Gaelic Committee of Highland Council on 21st February 2021.

Extract from the paper................

Background - Blas Festival


The Blas Festival was established 16 years ago, inspired by a visit of Elected Members and Officials to the Celtic Colors Festival in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The event is modelled on this event.

The Blas Festival is delivered through a Service Agreement arrangement between The Highland Council and Fèisean nan Gàidheal. Fèisean nan Gàidheal agreed to run the festival on behalf of the Highland Council in 2004.

The following 5 aims were agreed as follows:

• Celebrate and strengthen traditional Highland music and promote Gaelic;

• Involve communities as proactive participants, and grow new audiences;

• Involve young people from the Highlands;

• Build an international event and have visiting artists, but not exclusively, from Nova Scotia;

• Present an innovative and engaging programme.


Blas Festival - Structure


Blas Festival Ltd is a company wholly owned by Fèisean nan Gàidheal. The Blas Festival Programming Committee is operational. Their remit is to discuss and agree upon commissions and plan the Blas Festival Programme.


Blas Festival 2020


The Blas Festival assists the Highland Council to deliver outcomes in the Council Gaelic Language Plan 3 within the following Strategic Commitments:

2.1 Provide opportunities to encourage and increase the use of Gaelic in the community;

4.1 Engage with partners to national strategic initiatives and policy formation for Gaelic in the arts, culture and heritage sectors;

4.2 Increase the profile and usage of Gaelic within Council funded organisations and events across the Highlands;

4.3 Develop opportunities for people to engage with Gaelic through the arts and creative industries; and

6.1 Create and support initiatives which strengthens the use and profile of Gaelic with general economic development and cultural tourism in the Highlands.


The 2020 Blas Festival was the 16th festival to take place and was held between November 20th - 30th (inclusive). Like many other events across the country, the festival had to adapt due the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this did provide an opportunity for Fèisean nan Gàidheal, (the Festival organisers) to develop and create an online virtual Blas Festival. This was delivered over 10 days, maximising the opportunities available due to adapted digital technologies.

Read the full report in English HERE

Read the full report in Gaelic HERE