Hard copies of the programme can be purchased for £1 in The Coop.
The Fèis Thiriodh committee are pleased to report that dates have been set and preparations are going well for this year’s event. The weeklong event of workshops, ceilidhs, talks and much more will be taking place from Sunday 5th to Friday 10th of July and we are excited to welcome back Tiree favourites ‘Trail West’ as our main tutors for the special 25th Anniversary event. Joining Trail West regulars; Ian, Alain and Andrew will be a host of other talented tutors who are all well-known to Tiree, including; Jamie MacDonald, Artair Donald, Iona Brown, John Angus MacKinnon, Eilidh MacFadyen, Eleanor Sinclair, John Holliday, Tara Rankin, Scott Wood, Linda MacLeod.
The 5 day tutoring event offers children aged 9 and over and adults, the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of different workshops including; accordion, guitar, pipes, drums, fiddle, flute/whistle, highland dancing, Gaelic conversation and film making. For the under 8 year olds, Fèis Bheag will run throughout the week along with Fèis Bheag Bheag running on four days for the under 5s.
As well as the day time workshops and activities we will also be running various evening and fringe events, which have proven to be very popular over the years. To celebrate our 25th Anniversary we are organising a ‘Ceilidh Ceann-bliadhna’ – Anniversary Concert – for the Monday evening. This will showcase a host of extremely talented and now famous past tutors and students returning to Fèis Thiriodh to entertain us with music, singing and dancing, which we hope will put everyone in the mood for a weeklong celebration of events. Other events will include; the popular children’s dance, a talk by Ian Smith on the history of whisky on Tiree and of course, the closing dance on the Friday evening, which will be led by Trail West. After taking a year off last year we have also decided to bring back the very popular ‘Muse Cruise’ on the Thursday afternoon. This will see Fèis Thiriodh being transported on a six hour floating session with the tutors on the MV Clansman for a round trip to Barra and back. Come along to sing, play or just listen.
We only have to look at the numerous successful bands and musicians that hail from Tiree to realise that Fèis Thiriodh has had a very influential and successful 25 years, providing music and culture workshops and events to locals and visitors alike. We hope that you are all looking forward to Fèis 2015 and will join us to celebrate and ensure the 25th Annual Fèis is as popular and successful as previous Fèisean.
The Tiree ‘season’ got off to a great start with a successful Fèis that continued the growth of the last few years.
Blessed (or possibly cursed) with terrific weather, attendances at the classes grew while audiences at some of the evening events were disappointingly down. 2013 marked the 23rd Fèis with a return to the school after a number of years based in An Talla. The extra tutors from the two bands – Trail West and The Scott Wood Trio – meant that the festival simply ran out of rooms at the community hall. Numbers in the classes rose for the third year running, although there were only two Wanting to study the fiddle.
A particular success was the new expanded Fèis Bheag which ran for the full day and included for the first time non-Gaelic speaking children. Another winner was the Gaelic conversation class which was large and enthusiastic. However, the lecture on the Middleton kelp factory and the tutors’ concert were only thinly attended, possibly partly due to the glorious sunshine.
76 people boarded the ferry to Barra for the ‘Muse Cruise’ and were rewarded with a really great day of music and happiness. At Castlebay dancers and musicians from Fèis Thiriodh went ashore and did an Orcadian Strip the Willow down the pier with children from Fèis Bharraigh. And as the boat left the quay, the Barra dancing class lined up and did a Highland dance to a Tiree piper playing from the departing boat. As the dancers made a deep final bow, the Vessel’s master – a Barra man – blew the ship’s horn in salute. There was hardly a dry eye on board!
The final dance, with the two bands Combining, was generally reckoned to have been the best on the island for years. The shape of the Tiree ‘season’ is changing, with the rise and rise of TMF. All the summer events are having to get used to the new world, and Fèis Thiriodh is no exception. But we are looking forward to 2014 with a few new plans up our sleeve!
Dr Iohn Holliday, Chair.