The Fèis movement came about when a group of parents and other individuals on the Isle of Barra became concerned that local traditions were dying out and that island children were not being taught traditional music in the context of formal education. To address this issue, the first Fèis Bharraigh was held on the island in 1981.
Inspired by the success of this first Fèis, many other communities throughout Scotland established similar events, each one community-led and tailored to local needs. Volunteers still form the core of most local Fèisean.
The skills taught at Fèisean are a highly valued aspect of the informal education of young people, as demonstrated by the level of volunteer commitment and parental support in local areas. Most importantly, the Fèis experience is valued by the young participants themselves. At national level, the Fèisean are seen by many as one of the most successful arts initiatives in Scotland.
Once the accordions Christine's acquired via her Twitter appeal have arrived safely on Islay, we hope to bring you photographs of the island children playing them. It is so inspiring to be involved, albeit in such a very small way, in encouraging young people to explore and develop traditional music-making skills.