Festival makes welcomed return

Young Alfie Robertson from Oban, who was competing for the first time, was delighted to be placed third in the novice march, under-14. Photographs: Kevin McGlynn

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Dancers and musicians descended on Oban to welcome back the Highlands & Islands Music & Dance Festival.

New memories were made at the three-day event that returned to the town after Covid put a stop to live competitions.

Photographer Kevin McGlynn was out and about for The Oban Times capturing all the highlights and smiles with his camera.

Organisers congratulated everyone who took part in all the competitions at The Corran Halls, Atlantis Leisure Centre and The Rockfield Centre.

Thanks were made to all who gave support, including The British Association of Teachers of Dance (BATD) and Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA)  for their continued sponsorship for the Scottish National Challenge. Highland Hustle also sponsored this year’s event.

Festival chairperson Breege Smyth said: ‘It was a great success. We had a lot of participants who had not been to Oban before and attracted a lot of new competitors in the dancing classes. It was special having live pipers accompany the dancers, this was the first time it’s been allowed since Covid. There was definitely an appreciation of all the committee’s hard work to bring the festival back to the live stage, every year before it’s been taken for granted that the festival would just happen. Parents were especially grateful we were back. It was a lovely atmosphere over the whole weekend. Businesses in the town were busy too.’

Online comments giving organisers their own well-deserved round of applause included this from Jackie Funnell: ‘A fabulous weekend. Well done to the whole team for excellent organisation and making this happen again. Looking forward to 2023.’

Fiona MacNeil posted: ‘Thank you for making this happen, everyone had a great weekend!’ and Alan Cameron said on HIMDF’s Facebook page: ‘Great event and looking forward to next year.’