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Cologin Blog

Highlands and Islands Music & Dance Festival

One week to go before Oban comes alive to the sound of Highland pipes and the rustle of dancers adjusting their swords as they prepare to compete in the annual Highland and Islands Music & Dance Festival which takes place at venues around town from Friday 4th May.

The festival began in 1984, when its aims were to encourage young talent to ‘participate in and develop the traditional arts of music and dance of the highlands and islands of Scotland‘. Since then the event has developed to include new special events and competitions and the festival now offers over 1100 participants 125 competition classes in eleven disciplines including: piping; accordion; fiddle; clarsach; piano, recorder; woodwind & brass; singing, highland dancing and choreography.

In addition to the many competition classes, the festival hosts a number of special events annually, including:

  • The Highlands and Islands Fiddle and Accordion Masters featuring prize-winning fiddle and accordion players from the main competition championships throughout Scotland.
  • The Scottish Area Finals, the culmination of the whole year’s competition circuit, featuring seventeen teams, and the only highland dancing team event to be held in the world!
  • The Scottish Choreography Challenge featuring two days of entertainment of the highest standard. Teams of dancers compete for prestigious prizes using innovative dance routines incorporating traditional highland dancing steps, sound and lighting effects and dazzling costumes.
  • The Festival Fling, when competitors, family and friends dance into the wee small hours to a traditional Scottish dance band in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls with the Ceilidh’s Homet band!
    Outdoor Showcase in Station Square on Saturday 5th May – Live Musicians and Music!

We have many competitors staying at Cologin – some of the dance schools have been bringing their pupils here for years to compete in the Area finals of the team events and we’ve had the pleasure of seeing these girls (and boys) grow and mature as dancers and some now compete in the choreography competitions as adults.

We have also had many of the choirs stay at at Cologin – they’re hard to miss, especially those who like a wee practice session in the pub! If you can, do try to get along to see some of the events.

Full details of where and when can be found online.