Calling all budding musicians and dancers…

Young dancers from a previous festival showing off their medals.

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This year the Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival celebrates its 35th anniversary and it hopes to beat its recent participation numbers of 1,100 entries in the 125 competitions.

Organisers are looking for budding Highland dancers, fiddlers, pipers, pianists, accordion and clarsach players, not forgetting those proficient in woodwind and brass, to come along and show their talents.

Each year the festival showcases performers from all over Scotland, from neighbouring towns such as Campbeltown to as far afield as Edinburgh, Dingwall and Skye, and this year it has its first entry from Germany.

The festival brings many venues alive in the town with live music and outdoor performers in the heart of the town, promoting a long tradition in music and dance but also introduces innovation through its group dancing competitions and novelty from the individual. Argyll is rich in musical and dance heritage and the festival provides a great outlet for this.

Organised by volunteers, the festival attracts more than 3,000 visitors to the town which is a welcome boost to the local economy through hotels, restaurants and travel.

Over the years the economic impact has been acknowledged, and the festival would not be possible without the support of many local businesses. This support over the years has enabled young people to have the opportunity to compete to the highest level and offers them the opportunity to go on to make solid careers from their musical abilities and passion.

Chairwoman of the festival, Breege Smyth said: ‘The festival has retained a unique family feel that is the hallmark of true Highland hospitality, despite the competitive nature of the programme. Each year I am delighted that our funders and the businesses of Oban share our passion and are generous in support – particularly as we have been going to 35 years!’

This year’s Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s events directorate, through its national events programme.

Entries close Monday March 19, 2018. For more information on eligibility and how to enter, visit

  • EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland.

For more information about VisitScotland see or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see