minister welcomes homecoming blas festival

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Blas 2014, the tenth anniversary festival from 5 to 13 September, will have a significant international element in this Year of Homecoming.

Blas was created 10 years ago as a result of The Highland Council’s desire to create a festival that would match the vitality of Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours and the Council has continued its support.

International visitors to Blas 2014 will include the renowned Cape Breton fiddler, Howie MacDonald with piano player Marilyn Mackinnon. Howie is one of Cape Breton’s best-known musicians having been a member of The Rankin Family.

Cherish the Ladies will also be appearing, about whom the Boston Goble have said: “it is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn’t enjoy what they do.”

They have toured all over North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand performing in the finest concert halls and at international festivals. This will be their third visit to Blas having proved to be one of the most popular bands to appear at the festival.

As part of Highland Homecoming, this year’s Blas Festival will welcome some of the world’s strongest athletes who will be attending the Scottish Masters championship at the Northern Meeting Park. A special ‘Welcome Home’ show – Do bheatha dhan dùthaich – takes place at Eden Court on Thursday 11 September with a magnificent line-up of musicians with top bands Mànran and Macanta as well as piping father and son Angus MacColl Sr and Jr setting the tunes for the Cheryl Heggie Dancers.

Also maintaining their international links with Blas 2014 are the wandering minstrels of Cuairt nam Bàrd with Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Comhdhàil Nàisiunta na Gaeilge bringing together poets and musicians to celebrate the shared Gàidhlig/Gaeilge culture of Scotland and Ireland.

The majority of Blas events this year offer an added bonus with the presence of locally produced food and drink at most venues giving audiences a taste, not only of Highland culture, but Highland food and drink. A number of venues will have an enhanced food and drink offering, Feuch Blas (Try a Taste).

Highland Homecoming has received financial assistance from EventScotland and the Scotland’s Food and Drink Initiative. The collaboration with Blas has been welcomed by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing. He said: “Homecoming Scotland 2014 is the opportunity for Scotland’s communities to celebrate all that is great about our country and to place the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons.

“I am delighted that the 10th Blas Festival has been included within the Highland Homecoming programme which is taking place during September and October. The use of locally produced food at many of the events will help to build momentum towards the Year of Scotland’s Food & Drink in 2015, which will inspire the people of Scotland and visitors alike to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural larder and further develop Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food & Drink.”

Details of the food and drink events, and the rest of the Blas programme, are available locally and through the festival website.

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