ANYONE going to the Dalai Lama's charity ceilidh on a Highland farm this Saturday can hop aboard a bus from Inverness organised by a local band.
At Bogbain Farm on the outskirts of Inverness, The Whisky River Band are launching their new album with a gig in the barn next door to the Dalai Lama supporters' event.
And the band - which is charging £3 to get fans out to the gig - has invited anyone heading to the Dalai Lama's ceilidh to use the bus too.
Maybe it will be good karma for the band - as they could do with a little help from the Dalai Lama should he appear at the charity event next-door organised by his supporters.
Whisky River Band frontman Kris Douglas said: "I’ve no idea if he’ll be there, but we’re hoping so."
He joked: "It would be great if he would bless our van’s gearbox – it blew up on our way back from a gig in Liverpool!"
But despite the van problems, The Whisky River Band are guaranteed to be in party mood as they take to the stage to unveil their eagerly-anticipated album The Taming Of Me.
Kris hinted earlier this week that there might also be a reprise of the smart suits the band wore for their recent goNorth set in the city.
He said: "We might well be suited and booted up again for the gig!"
Kris also revealed that the name of the album had come from an acoustic song he had written – but you won’t find it on the album!
He said: "We were going to put it on there but we never got round to recording it.
"So now we’re planning going back into the studio at the end of the year to record it for an acoustic EP to put out then!"
Kris explained that The Whisky River Band had a clear idea of what they wanted their album to sound like before they went into the studio.
"We wanted raw and edgy so that it sounds how we play live.
"Our first EP was really well-produced, but the only thing we felt afterwards was that it didn’t capture how we sound live.
"We started recording it in January at John Strachan’s studio at Cannich and it seems to have worked perfectly for us.
"Over the course of a month of weekends, we got most of it done and then invited our guests in."
Local musicians Paul Elliott, Megan Blyth and Jake Bolt all appear on the album – and will be along to perform before and with the band on the night.
And thinking of everything, the band is also running buses out to Bogbain and back into Inverness after the gig.
Kris said: "We thought it would be a good way of giving something back to all the people who have supported us along the way!
"The bus will go from the back of the railway station at 7pm – good time for the gig’s 8pm start – and costs £3. There will also be a bus back from Bogbain around 11.30pm. The tickets are on sale from the Yum Cafe at the bus station.
Grateful to the band for allowing ceilidh-goers to book places on the bus too, are the Tibetan Buddhist group – Kagyu Samye Dzong Highlands.
The group – a branch of the world-famous Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery in the Borders – has organised the ceilidh at Bogbain to celebrate what they feel is an extraordinary day for the Highlands, the Dalai Lama’s visit.
They wanted Inverness Festival Band and Fiddle Forte to headline their event.
"They are our best example of young talent locally," said the group’s Helen MacRae.
"His Holiness Dalai Lama’s trip to Britain is all about sending a message of peace and compassion to our younger generation.
"He says the future of our planet is in their hands. So it’s fitting that we focus this celebration for him around our own young talent.
Irene Fraser of Fiddle Forte said: "The group is very excited about being invited to play in honour of the Dalai Lama. It is an opportunity like this that will remain in their memories for all time."
Amy Henderson of Inverness Festival Band said: "We are absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity! It has been a good year for Inverness and this will be a fabulous experience for the team."
The Buddhist group is grateful to Amy, Irene and the youngsters who are giving their services free for the charity fundraising event.
And Helen added: "We are also delighted that The Whisky River Band will be playing the venue that night – it makes it doubly exciting. The band have been really supportive – even to the extent of allowing ceilidh-goers to book the buses they have organised for their CD-launch gig."
But she did have some bad news for the van-stricken band – and anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the Dalai Lama ceilidhing.
"His Holiness goes to bed very early so, sadly, is unlikely to be able to see the ceilidh.
"But hopefully one or two of the organisers will turn up to be entertained by some of the finest musicians the Highlands has to offer."
Tickets for the Celebration Ceilidh cost £9 – all going to charity – and are available to book from firstname.lastname@example.org
The ceilidh starts at 8.30pm.