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VIRTUALLY THERE:Skye fest cracks on with the craic

Canadians are being invited to enjoy a wee bit of Highlands hospitality – albeit digitally – at an authentic and hyper-local community festival taking place later this week on Scotland’s most iconic island – Skye.

The SEALL Festival of Small Halls is opening its online doors for the first time on the Isle of Skye with three evenings of Scottish hospitality, humour, music, and dance.

The annual festival, which coincides with St. Andrews Day (Nov. 30), honouring the patron saint of Scotland, is usually not streamed live and is typically attended by mostly Scottish locals. While visitors have always been welcome, the late November date combined with the remote location of the concerts, means the festival is little known to Canadians.

No longer, say organizers, as this year will mark the event’s first foray into the international sphere – and particularly Canada, which has a large population with Scottish roots.

“It is both exciting and humbling to be able to help bring a little of Scottish craic, culture and heritage to people in Canada. We believe that Scotland has some of the best artists in the world, and we can’t wait for the international community to have the opportunity to enjoy them,” says SEALL creative director, Marie Lewis.

“Culture, music, and hospitality have always been able to transcend borders. The performing arts can be a welcome salve to a lot of the ailments we are all facing at the moment. It helps us connect to an international community and brings us together at a time when many of us don’t have access to art, live music, and new experiences,” she adds.

The festival, which brings big music to small halls, is dedicated to celebrating community, culture, and traditional Scottish music and conviviality, as well as championing performing arts in rural areas.

Set to take place this week – Nov. 26-28 – during the evenings (late afternoon EST), the festival will feature nine top traditional musicians from across Scotland converging to bring three unique, toe-tapping, and truly authentic nights of Highlands and Islands’ hospitality.

The first, kicking off at 8 p.m. GMT on Thursday (Nov. 26), will take place at the storied 1840s’ Brae Hall.

Friday (Nov. 27) will showcase live music from stunning Dunvegan Castle – ancestral seat of the MacLeod clan and the only Highland fortress to be continuously occupied by the same family for over 800 years.

And the festival culminates Saturday night (Nov. 28) starting at 10 p.m. (GMT) with a raucous Scottish cèilidh (traditional Highland gathering and celebration), in this case celebrating St. Andrew’s Day, with dancing, heart-thumping drums, soul stirring strings, a whisky or three, and a global community coming together.

Nine musicians and a BBC Radio Scotland host will be on hand to ensure Canadian viewers will be entertained, embraced, and, not least offered “a giant window into a delightful, musical sanctuary in the far corner of Scotland’s wintery, but cozy, West coast,” according to Smalls Halls musician Hamish Napier.

Canadians can buy tickets in advance and stream any of the three concerts live, which will be captured by a professional film crew at each venue, ensuring that everyone watching feels a part of the proceedings.

Proceeds from tickets, which cost £8 ($14) for a single event or £20 ($34) for access to all three events, go back into the local arts community.

For the full program or to buy tickets, click HERE.

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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