Hard copies of the programme can be purchased for £1 in The Coop and Buth a’ Bhaile.
THE DEADLINE FOR BOOKING FORMS HAS NOW PASSED.
Late bookings can be made, please telephone 07810364597 to arrange late booking.
MAIN FEIS BOOKING FORM DOWNLOAD – [CLICK HERE]
FEIS BHEAG BOOKING FORM DOWNLOAD – [CLICK HERE]
UNDER 5’S SESSIONS BOOKING FORM DOWNLOAD – [CLICK HERE]
Fèis Thiriodh, one of the first exciting events to appear on the Tiree summer calendar will be held from 3rd – 7th July. This year will be the 27th annual Fèis to be held on Tiree, having been introduced in 1990.
The week-long event celebrates Tiree’s culture and heritage, offering Gaelic conversation classes, a variety of musical instrument classes, dancing, singing and sports along with Fèis Bheag and Fèis Bheag, Bheag for the younger generations.
As like previous years, we have a host of very talented tutors and we are looking forward to welcoming back familiar faces to the island. Leading the ever-popular accordion is Tiree local Eilidh MacFadyen, who has been entertaining us on the box for several years, having gone through Fèis Thiriodh as a student herself. Joining Eilidh are her Dùn Mòr band mates, Mairi Innes who will be teaching guitar and Micheal Steele on whistle. Returning for the second year in a row we have Alastair Currie from Islay who will be conducting the singing classes, Iona Cairns will return to tutor highland dancing which has become very popular over the last few years and Craig Espie from Skerryvore will again be leading the fiddle group.
Tiree locals and Fèis stalwarts, Doctor John Holiday will be tutoring the flute and Iain MacKinnon will lead the Gaelic conversation class. We also have some new faces for Fèis Thiriodh 2017 (although they aren’t all unfamiliar with Tiree)! We are looking forward to welcoming back Seonaidh Charity who taught Gaelic in Tiree from 2011 to 2012, Seonaidh will be leading the newly introduced sports class. Joining Seonaidh for his first Fèis Thiriodh experience is this year’s keyboard tutor, Jonathan Gillespie who is a fine player and singer, playing in and supporting several bands including Crooked Reel, Skipinnish and Trail West. Duncan MacDonald will be taking part in Fèis Thiriodh for the first time, leading the drumming tuition. Duncan is from Benbecula and has played in several bands over the years including Dùn Mòr. The final main Fèis tutor to be introduced is Wee Ewen Henderson who has taught at previous Tiree Fèis’. Ewen is a multi-talented musician, playing pipes, accordion and fiddle, this year he will be leading the piping tuition.
The main Fèis workshops are open to all over 9 year olds, who will be required to pick three classes that they will rotate round throughout the week. Each pupil will also attend the ‘Fèis Song’ class, where we collectively learn a traditional song that will act as our ‘anthem’ for the week. In honour of the late Bernard Smith, we have chosen ‘Lag nan Cruachan’ and ‘Lassie’ as this year’s songs, which will be dedicated to him and his memory. Bernie was a Fèis committee member and avid supporter of the event, music, culture and heritage of Tiree. Both chosen songs were regular singing choices for him, and we’re sure that many of you will have treasured memories of him, while joining us to sing the songs throughout the week.
As per previous years we will also be offering opportunities for all under 9 year olds. Fèis Bheag is available for anyone 5 – 8 years old and will be a mixture of drama, crafts, sports and an introduction to musical instruments. This session runs alongside the main Fèis and will be led in Gaelic but open to all abilities. Not to leave anyone out, we also have Fèis Bheag Bheag which is open to 0 – 5 year olds and will run for 30 minutes each morning, offering a host of rhymes and songs, again taught through Gaelic. These classes will be led by Iona Brown, Mhairi MacKinnon, Linda MacLeod and Donna MacLean.
A host of evening events has also been organised with specific details coming soon. However, you can look forward to the star-studded Tutors Ceilidh, the ever-popular Muse Cruise to Barra, a children’s dance and the final Fèis Dance on the Friday evening.
We do hope that everyone is looking forward to Fèis Thiriodh 2017 and we look forward to welcoming you along to workshops and evening events. We are extremely grateful for the level support that the Fèis has received over the years, which adds to the success of the week. If you are interested in coming along then make sure you submit your booking form as soon as possible.
As the last notes of the final strip-the-willow echoed out over the Crossapol shore, exhausted Fèis Thiriodh committee members looked back over a packed and successful festival that celebrates the island’s music and culture.
2015 was the 25th year of the Fèis and the anniversary was celebrated in some style. The week started with a lovely joint service at Heylipol Church, where singers Linda MacLeod from Uist and Iona Brown were aided by some little people on paper musical instruments. Monday saw the 25th Anniversary Concert and 220 people packed the hall to hear some of the island’s most famous musical stars. Angus MacPhail from Skipinnish, Daniel and Martin Gillespie of Skerryvore and Campbell Brown from Gunna Sound had taken the time to come over and support the Fèis. They were joined by this year’s tutors and other past tutors, including Arthur Cormack from Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Donald Black, who waved one hand with great enthusiasm to arouse the audience while playing the mouth organ with the other. Founder member Flora MacPhail, whose newly written theme song for the Fèis became an instant hit, was particularly thanked, along with Joyce MacInnes and John Holliday for their tireless work promoting music on the island.
The next evening Ian Smith presented the results of his year’s research into the island’s past prolific whisky production, before unveiling a plan to look into setting up a micro-distillery on Tiree in the future. The children’s dance was sold out with 200 jigging and reeling to Eilidh MacFadyen’s band. The first ‘game’ took so long because of the number of competitors that it became the last game too! The ‘Muse Cruise’ to Barra attracted 108 music lovers. The six-hour session and sing-along was only interrupted by a strip-the-willow on Castlebay pier, complete with a number of canoeists still in their wetsuits and lifejackets! The dancers and pipers of Fèis Bharraigh gave the ferry a send-off to remember with a Highland dance perilously close to the pier edge followed by a blast from the ship’s horn and a lone Tiree piper on the ship’s aft deck. Trail West rounded off the week with a dance described by Ian Smith as “brilliant”.
Numbers at the classes were up again with 61 at the main Fèis, 33 at Fèis Bheag and 40 at Fèis Bheag Bheag for the under-5s. This was back to the levels last seen during the golden days of the Fèis in the 1990s. The Tiree Fèis has had its low points over the past 25 years. When the Hall closed its doors for a year the Fèis also closed and a party of children went up to the Uist Fèis instead. When the school closed for maintenance for several years classes were held in An Talla and in nearby caravans. Numbers attending went down so much that some committee members felt the Fèis had had its day.
Tutors this year were Andrew Findlater (drums), Alain Campbell (guitar), Ian Smith & Gordon Connell (accordion), Scott Wood (pipes), Jamie MacDonald (fiddle), Linda MacLeod (singing), Doc Holliday (flute and whistle), Eleanor Sinclair (dancing), Iain MacKinnon (Gaelic conversation), John Angus MacKinnon (film making), Artair Donald (drama), with Iona Brown, Tara Rankin and Eilidh MacFadyen (Fèis Bheag).
The committee, under the leadership of chair Eilidh Campbell and vice-chair Sheila MacKinnon declared themselves delighted with how the festival had gone, before going off for a well-earned sleep. Committee member Dr John Holliday told An Tirisdeach, “This has been the best-ever Fèis Thiriodh. It has roared back to life for its 25th anniversary, and the enthusiasm for Gaelic and the island’s culture is very encouraging. It was remarkable how youthful and vibrant the tutors were this year, how many of them are fluent and proud Gaelic speakers, and how many have come through the ranks of the Fèis itself. Tiree, truly Scotland’s musical island, is lucky to have them, and I hope they will see and enjoy the 50th anniversary of Fèis Thiriodh as much as we have enjoyed the 25th.”