Oban to host celebration of dancing and music

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Budding musicians and dancers are invited to take part in the annual Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival in Oban, to be held in May.

But time is short – entries close on Monday March 19.

This year the festival celebrates its 35th anniversary and organisers hope to beat recent participation numbers of 1,100 entries across 125 competitions.

Festival chairperson Breege Smyth said: ‘We are looking for budding Highland dancers, fiddlers, pipers, pianists, accordion and clarsach players, and not forgetting those proficient in woodwind and brass to come along and show their talents.

The festival, to be held from May 4 to May 6, brings live music to various Oban venues as well as outdoor performers in the heart of the town. The festival promotes a long tradition in music and dance but also introduces innovation through our group dancing competitions and novelty from the individual. Argyll is rich in musical and dance heritage and the festival provides a great outlet for this.

Organised by volunteers, the committee has been proud to attract over 3,000 visitors to the town, a welcome boost to the local economy through hotels, restaurants and travel.

The festival would not be possible without the support of many local businesses, which has enabled young people to compete to the highest level and have the opportunity to go on to make solid careers from their musical abilities and passion.

Breege continued: ‘The festival has retained a unique family feel that is the hallmark of true Highland hospitality, despite the competitive nature of the programme.

‘Each year I am delighted that our funders and the businesses of Oban share our passion and are generous in support – particularly as we have been going to 35 years.’

This year’s Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival is supported by EventScotland.

Find out more at the festival website at www.obanfestival.org.