Fèis Eilean na Hearadh has risen from the ashes after its instruments were destroyed
in a fire.
Accordians, guitars, keyboards and chanters were stored in part of a net making factory
on Scalpay which was engulfed by flames at the end of April. Shinty sticks and Harris
Tweed crafts items were also damaged.
The children’s music tuition festival - which is celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary
this year - looked doomed as it seemed there was no way to salvage the event.
But a funding appeal to buy new instruments took off spectacularly and the event
has risen from the ashes this week.
Over £5000 was pledged through an internet crowd funding appeal while small community
groups raised more cash by organising ceilidhs, Highland dancing displays, and other
fundraising events. Others donated surplus instruments.
Now over one hundred children are attending the fèis this week.
One of the organisers, Alison MacRae, said the response was “incredible” with a “crazy
amount” of money donated from across the world allowing the event to go-ahead.
Donald Ian MacLennan of the fèis group said the blaze was a serious setback.
Everyone was shocked at the fire but luckily no-one was hurt, he said.
He added: “That was the last thing we needed really. But everybody has come together
to help make the fèis a possibility and reality this year.”
A special cèilidh to mark the quarter of a century milestone was being held in Tarbert
Community Centre last night while the finale children’s concert is staged today.