BLAS, the festival of Highland music and culture, will have a significant international element in this Year of Homecoming.
Blas was created 10 years ago as a result of Highland Council’s desire to create a festival that would match the vitality of Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours and international visitors to Blas 2014 will include Cape Breton fiddler Howie MacDonald, a former member of The Rankin Family.
Irish-American band Cherish the Ladies will make their third visit to Blas, having proved to be one of the most popular bands to appear at the festival and, as part of Highland Homecoming, this year’s Blas Festival will welcome some of the world’s strongest athletes.
They will be attending the Scottish Masters championship at the Northern Meeting Park in addition to a special "Welcome Home" show — Do bheatha dhan dùthaich — at Eden Court on Thursday 11th September. Also taking part will be the bands Mànran and Macanta as well as piping father and son Angus MacColl Sr and Jr.
Also maintaining their international links with Blas 2014 are the musicians and poets of Cuairt nam Bàrd with Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Comhdhàil Nàisiunta na Gaeilge celebrating 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 and the collaboration has been welcomed by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing.
"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," he said.
"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 and drink."