Published: 13 Sep 2017
Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) will return to Lochaber next month (Friday 13 October – Saturday 21 October) for what’s set to be a record-breaking year for the festival, with participant numbers expected to exceed 3,600 - the highest in a decade.
The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Fort William for the first time in ten years and, this year, will welcome representatives from towns and cities that the Mòd hasn’t seen in generations.
Last year’s event generated £2.5m for host location, the Western Isles, and organisers are confident they’ll see a similar impact in Lochaber, renowned for its warm and welcoming community.
Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival will kick off on Friday 13th October with a torchlight procession, which will see hundreds of people weave through the streets of Fort William in breathtaking scenes.
The procession will conclude at the Nevis Centre where a blistering opening ceremony will take place - with very special performances by former Gold Medalist Robert Robertson, Ross Wilson and Gaelic folk group, including a former Mòd gold medalist, Na h-Òganaich officially kicking off this year’s festival.
The Mòd is the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland. It sees thousands of competitors from Scotland and across the world, including a delegation of American competitors this year, take part in or watch over 200 competitions in highland dancing, sport, literature and drama, as well as Gaelic music and song.
Alongside the main competitions, The Mòd Fringe returns with a bustling programme filled with traditional music, book launches, concerts and art forms of every description, throughout the festival week. The Fringe festival programme, which also launched today, can be found here , on our social media pages, in The Oban Times and in various pubs, hotels and other venues local to Lochaber.
John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said; “We’re excited to be returning to Fort William for the first time in ten years and to do so with a record number of participants is just terrific. We’ve had a very busy year in the run up to the festival, from running our hugely popular Mòd Roadshow which encourages children to take part, to our Mòd Academy bringing dedicated Gaelic tutors to 14 schools throughout Scotland – so it’s great to see the number of entries reflect this. We’re thrilled to have local celebrities Robert Robertson, Ross Wilson and Na h-Òganaich as part of this year’s opening ceremony, kicking off what is going to be an incredible Royal National Mòd 2017.”
Highland Councillor, Alister Mackinnon, Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee said: “We are delighted that the Royal National Mòd is returning to Lochaber, an area in Highland where Gaelic and its associated culture remains part of the community. We are also pleased to be supporting The Royal National Mòd as the event has a great deal to offer the Gaelic community. It will be a pleasure to welcome all the visitors to the Highlands, including those from overseas, who should enjoy the convivial atmosphere, the great range of singing and musical competitions, the many informal ceilidhs, lectures and the various events on offer as part of the exciting fringe programme. The Mòd puts Gaelic on local, national and international platforms, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the best of our language, culture, in the areas where we live, learn, and work.
“I believe that the Mòd will have a positive impact in the area and official studies show that it contributes hugely to the economy of the area where it is hosted. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mòd Loch Abar Local Committee for their hard work, especially in relation to fund raising, and I wish Mòd Loch Abar every success. With only one month to go, keep practicing, and good luck to all the Highland competitors.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Scotland’s unique Gaelic heritage is a wonderful part of our national identity. We are delighted to be supporting the Royal National Mod to celebrate this, especially during Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Once again the organisers have a jam-packed programme of music, highland dancing, drama plus much more, for the Gaelic-speaking community from both Scotland and further afield to enjoy.
“Scotland truly is the perfect stage for cultural events and we look forward to the return of this internationally renowned festival one month from now.”
Brian Fulton, CalMac’s Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement said: “The Royal National Mod is a highpoint in the CalMac calendar and we are greatly looking forward to coming to Fort William, for what is always an enjoyable and memorable event.”
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