Ceolas under threat

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THE FATE of the popular South Uist ‘Ceolas’ music festival stands uncertain as the event struggles to cope with massive funding cuts.

It has been reported that organisers are facing a budget shortfall of around £32,000 with a reduction in funding from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar from £12,000 to £9,000 and a cut in Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s support from £17,000 to just £7,000.

This is combined with the complete withdrawal for funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise who are axing Ceolas’ entire allocation of £20,000.

The week-long 2011 festival has just finished, to huge success, having attracted artistes such as the internationally famous pipers Seudan and Andrea Boyd, Gaelic singers Kathleen MacInnes and Rona Lightfoot among many others, as well as TV star Michelle McManus.

And it proved a highly rewarding learning experience for both students and tutors, within the formal classes and beyond at the many ‘house ceilidhs’ held throughout the week.

Although centred on classes in Daliburgh School, Ceolas holds events throughout South Uist, with a strong emphasis on Gaelic and local music culture.

Admitting that they are now in a ‘serious situation’ with regards to staging the 2012 event, organisers remain hopeful that other funding can be sourced and may look at changing aspects in order to make savings.