Highlands and Islands festival expands to cater for record entry

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The 34th Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival will take place in venues all over Oban from April 27 to May 1 and this year the festival is stretching itself over five days to make time for every competitor.
This year sees changes to the committee, with Breege Smyth taking over as chairperson of the festival from Prof Donald MacLean.
Breege is anxious to build on the good work Donald has done over the past five years to promote and grow the festival.
The festival attracts more than 3,000 visitors to Oban with over 1,100 participants taking part in 125 competitions with an economic impact worth £3 million to the area. This year the festival has been extended to accommodate the record number of dancers from all over Scotland wishing to take part.
Themes for the Scottish Choreography Challenge range from ‘Scotland – A Spirit of It’s own’ to ‘History and Heritage’.
The Corran Halls and Atlantis Leisure Centre will be awash with colour as the dancers take to the stage. Members of the public are very welcome to come along and enjoy the spectacle.
Along with dance, performers compete in piano, clarsach, woodwind and brass, fiddle, piping and drum, fiddle and accordion, and vocal. The festival committee is grateful to local businesses that sponsor and support the competitions.
A new addition to the festival programme is a ceilidh at Skipinnish on the Saturday night.
Ceol an Aire will entertain festival-goers with some well-known foot-tapping tunes. Tickets for this event will go on sale shortly.
Stafford Street and Station Square will host live stages with performers in dance and music.
Breege is encouraging everyone to visit the town and savour the atmosphere over the holiday weekend.
Cafes, pubs and hotels are all joining in the festival spirit by hosting live music events over the five days.
If you would like more information about how you can get involved in hosting a festival event, sponsoring one of the competitions or wish to perform as part of the festival, then please contact info@festivaloban.org.