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As the Royal National Mòd enters its final day of competitions in Lochaber, it has been announced that Paisley and Perth will play host to the Mòd in 2021 and 2022.
It’s the first time that the Mòd’s organising body, An Comunn Gàidhealach has announced plans for more than a single year, due to the exceptional standard of applications by both local committees, supported by local authorities.
With Paisley on the final shortlist to be named UK City of Culture 2021, the decision has been made to delay the announcement of host city for 2021 until the bid outcome is known – expected to be announced later this year.
If Paisley is crowned UK City of Culture, the Royal National Mòd will be among the programme of events in the town for that year, which last hosted the event in 2013. In 2022, the Mòd will then travel to Perth for the 10th time, and the first time in 18 years. However, if Paisley is not named UK City of Culture, the decision for the 2021 host venue will be based on a point scoring system. The place which does not host in 2021, will host the following year.
In the final day of competitions this year, the area choirs will compete in the highly anticipated Lovat and Tullibardine Trophy and Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy at the Nevis Centre.
Last night also saw the Traditional Final competitions, with local Gaelic school head teacher John Joe MacNeill winning the gold in the men’s category, and Hannah Knight of Càrlabhagh won gold in the ladies’ category.
The fringe nears its end today with what has now become a traditional highlight of each Royal National Mòd – Morag MacDonald broadcasting her show A’ Mire ri Mòir live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. Audiences are invited to join, enjoying music and discussion. In the evening, festival goers will have the opportunity to dance the last night away at the Mòd closing ceilidh, taking place in the Nevis Centre, showcasing sensational performances from trad super-groups Tide Lines and Trail West – an event not to be missed.
The Massed Choir will assemble in Fort William’s town centre tomorrow morning for a final sing-a-long, with the Mòd flag being handed over to 2018 hosts, Dunoon, before Mòd-goers make their way home after a spectacular week celebrating all things Gaelic.
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: ‘The applications to host Mòd 2021 was exceptionally high, and we were particularly impressed by the two bids from Paisley and Perth.
‘With each bid offering unique features, we felt it only fair to recognise their strength by offering them both the opportunity to host the Royal National Mòd – one in 2021 and the other in 2022. We feel that the chance to host our Royal National Mòd in the City of Culture would be too good an opportunity to forego, and we wish our friends in Paisley luck ahead of the final decision. Equally, we look forward to returning to the lovely city of Perth, in the not too distant future.
‘As we reach the conclusion of this year’s Mòd here in Lochaber, we can’t thank the local people enough for their warm hospitality. The level of competition across all age groups has blown us away. and I’m sure we’ll be seeing many familiar faces in Dunoon next year.’
Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, Councillor Ian Campbell commented: ‘I’m delighted to learn that Perth and Paisley can both expect to host the Mòd in the next five years. It will be the ideal opportunity to showcase our area’s Gaelic heritage and culture. High profile events also increase the national and international exposure of Perth and Kinross, which in turn generates more visitor numbers to the area.
‘The staging of the Mòd brings a real “buzz” to the host city with visitors travelling from all over Scotland and beyond to take part in this premier festival of Gaelic culture. Our recent experience of hosting major events in the area proves that Perth and Kinross would give a warm welcome to the Mòd.’
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: ‘We are delighted the Mòd is coming back to Paisley and we look forward to working with our friends at An Comunn to deliver another successful event.
‘Paisley’s central location, outstanding transport links and proven record as a major event host will make Gaelic culture accessible to new audiences – our last Mòd in 2013 saw 8,000 people attend over nine days and a great atmosphere.
‘The legacy of that was to strengthen Renfrewshire’s commitment to Gaelic language development – we have since invested in arts programming, and our annual Fèis Phàislig music event has reached around 700 schoolchildren so far.
‘Should Paisley be named as UK City of Culture in 2021 that year’s Mòd will form part of an international-class cultural programme – but even if we are waiting another year we will be ready to welcome Gaels from across the world, and delighted to do so.’