Organisers of the Royal National Mod have unveiled the line-up for the 2021 Royal National Mod as it returns to Inverness.
Preparations are under way for the eight-day competition at Eden Court next month.
The event, which runs from October 8, will mark the return of the popular Gaelic festival, after a two-year break.
Organisers were forced to pull the plug on the 2020 event due to constraints on social distancing, before revealing a reduction in the number of competitions upon its return.
The Mod was last held in Inverness in 2014, generating £3.5million for the local economy.
The 2021 culture showcase will feature a mixture of both in-person and online competitions with capacity reduced due to the pandemic.
‘It will be a magical moment’
James Graham, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach,, spoke of how they have overcome challenges to facilitate the return of the popular event.
He said: “We are delighted that we can once again showcase the best that Gaelic culture has to offer at this year’s Royal National Mòd.
“The last year has certainly not been without its challenges but to be able to bring certain elements of the Mòd back with a hybrid approach is a huge boost for the event and its community of competitors, performers and fans.”
He added: “It will be a magical moment to hear live performance ring out in Eden Court once more and we look forward to welcoming people from Inverness and across Scotland to enjoy Gaelic song and music with one another.
“The online element of this year’s programme will also allow us to reach audiences around the world and we’re looking forward to celebrating the unique language, culture and spirit of the Gaels with thousands globally.”
Celebrating Gaelic culture
Founded in 1891, the Royal National Mod traditionally features more than 200 competitions.
However due to constraints imposed by the pandemic, organisers revealed the 2021 festival will be more in the nature of a cultural showcase celebration.
Organisers have today revealed that major competitions, including the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal final, taking place on October 13, and the Traditional Gold Medal final featuring two days later will be part of the proposed in-person proceedings, together with key junior contests.
However, in light of the difficulties and constraints choirs have faced in practicing together, organisers have replaced the traditional choir contests with a celebration of Gaelic choral singing.
Return of live performances
The events grand opening live concert, taking place traditionally on the Friday, will go ahead as normal featuring music from new outfit Staran, the famous Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band and the legendary Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart.
Dubbed “the new sound of a traditional Scotland”, Duncan Chisholm will lead an all-star line-up on the first official day of proceedings.
Taking to the stage with Mairearad Green, James Duncan Mackenzie and the Ar Cànan’s Ar Cèol House Band, alongside some of the Highland’s most incredible up and coming young musical talents, they celebrate the vibrant and thriving musical heritage of the Highlands.
Fiddler Lauren MacColl will also showcase a newly commissioned work inspired by coastal happenings and stories from around the Moray Firth, exploring real events connected to water, coastline, community and loss.
Organisers have stressed that planned physical events will cater for restricted audience numbers; however, if restrictions are eased, they will endeavour to increase these capacities wherever possible.
Mod creates ‘real buzz’ for Inverness
Deputy Provost Bet McAllister said she was thrilled to see festivities return to Inverness.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to the Mòd returning to Inverness, it was last here in 2014 and created a real buzz in the city.
“Hosting this high-profile event in Inverness was of huge significance financially to the business community in the city.
“However, we understand that the 2021 Mòd will be different due to the pandemic and current restrictions but the blended approach will attract viewers from other areas and countries.
“I wish to take this opportunity to welcome the participants to the city and wish them every success.”
Councillor Calum Munro added: “We are absolutely delighted that the Mòd is taking place in the Capital of the Highlands and the surrounding area.
“I look forward to viewing events online and also to attending the events during the nine-day extravaganza which celebrates our rich language and culture and will be showcased globally.”