Music and the arts combine for online festival

Glenfinnan duo Iain MacFarlane and Ingrid Henderson.

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One of Scotland’s top arts organisations will host an online festival later this month and is inviting people from around the world to join them for a long weekend of music and song from Scotland’s best folk musicians.

Project Smok.

The Virtual Fèis Rois Weekend will see an incredible line-up of some of Scotland’s finest folk musicians take to the online stage after the Dingwall-based arts organisation had to cancel its usual spring residential music events in Ullapool for the second year running due to Covid.

Following an incredibly successful online weekend of music and song last year, organisers have arranged an extra day for the 2021 event and even bigger line-up of musical entertainment, including two concerts to be shown on BBC Alba.

Marianne Mangan.

Running for four days, from April 30 – May 3, Fèis Rois, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, will host a variety of free workshops, concerts, lectures and sessions with musicians including Grammy nominated Irish fiddler, Liz Carroll, neo-trad trio Project Smok, Black Isle fiddler Lauren MacColl, Glenfinnan duo Iain MacFarlane and Ingrid Henderson, Kinnaris Quintet fiddler Laura Wilkie and Gaelic vocal harmony group, Sian.

Sian.

Featuring many former Fèis Rois participants in the line-up, all workshops and the main tutor concert will take place on Facebook Live whilst the Friday and Saturday night concerts will be broadcast on BBC Alba. The new addition of the Lunchtime Lectures and Sessions at Six, including a session with BBC Radio Scotland presenter Gary Innes and accordion legend, John Carmichael, will take place on Zoom and will require registration via the website in advance.

With concerts on the first three nights, including a performance of Lauren MacColl’s Fèis Rois commission, The Seer, from the Strathpeffer Pavilion, as well as workshops such as fiddle with Iain MacFarlane and Laura Wilkie, Gaelic Song with Rachel Walker, whistle with Breabach’s Conal McDonagh and harmony singing with Corrina Hewat.

The Sunday night (May 2) will see the return of the online Fèis Rois Tutor Concert, a two-hour concert featuring Liz Carroll and Jenn Butterworth, piper Gary West, accordion players Ian Lowthian and John Carmichael, harp and guitar duo, Rachel Hair and Ron Jappy, multi-instrumentalist and Black Isle Correspondent, Anna Massie, Scots singer Emily Smith, multi-instrumentalist Jamie McClennan, and many more.

Fiona Dalgetty, Fèis Rois chief executive, commented: ‘The Virtual Fèis Weekend will be one of our final purely online events, although we will likely take some of the learning from the past year into the future and have some blended online and in person events going forward.

‘Like many people across the country, we are now looking forward to a gradual return to delivering in person classes, concerts and events across the Highlands. We would like to thank everyone who has continued to support Fèis Rois over the last year, participating in all our online events, and we hope that people across the world will join us for our Virtual Weekend.’

A suggested minimum donation of £5 for each workshop or concert viewed can be made on the Fèis Rois Just Giving page, www.justgiving.com/feisrois, however, there is no obligation to make a donation.

For a timetable of workshops and concerts and to register for the lectures and sessions, visit www.feisrois.org. All workshops and one of the concerts will take place on the Fèis Rois Facebook page.