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Spotlight On… Fèisean nan Gàidheal

Fèisean nan Gàidheal was established in 1991 as the independent umbrella association of the Fèis movement. It is a membership organisation that offers a range of services to its members including grant-aid, training, insurance, and instrument loans.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal is one of Creative Scotland’s regularly funded organisations and supports 47 tuition-based Fèisean that offer tuition in the Gaelic arts with a particular emphasis on traditional music and Gaelic song as well as drama, dance, and other cultural experiences. Around 6,000 young people take part annually and out of these participants, the Cèilidh Trail initiative has grown with young musicians and Gaelic singers experiencing life as a touring musician and collectively playing to over 10,000 people annually.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal also runs the Fèisgoil service to deliver work in schools, including music tuition through the Youth Music Initiative and teaching Gaelic language to support GLE and 1+2 languages, using Gaelic song as an essential tool for language acquisition. 

Over the past two decades, Fèisean nan Gàidheal has also been responsible for delivering the Blas Festival, in partnership with The Highland Council, promoting Gaelic song and traditional music through the 9 day Highland-wide event.

Some of Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s work is summarised below.


See also: Participatory, primary, secondary, lifelong learning, songwriting, composition, Instrumental specialism, vocal, ensemble, musicianship, creative learning


Fèis (plural Fèisean) is the Gaelic word for a festival or feast, but over the past forty years the word has become synonymous with the Fèis movement; a group of Gaelic arts tuition festivals, mainly for young people, which now take place throughout Scotland. 

A Fèis is an opportunity for individuals to come together to develop skills in the Gaelic arts – song, dance, drama, and traditional music on a wide range of instruments. Most Fèisean are an annual, week-long festival, but increasingly Fèisean offer a full programme of year-round follow-on classes to ensure sustained provision. Today there are 47 Fèisean, each one community-led and tailored to local needs.  

The skills taught at Fèisean are a highly-valued aspect of the informal education of young people, and the Fèisean are seen by many as one of the most successful arts initiatives in Scotland. 

Supporting resources available include a downloadable support pack as well as Information on safeguarding: 

Musical instruments

See also: Music instrument libraries, Scottish traditional, instrumental specialism

Supported by Creative Scotland National Lottery Funding, Fèisean nan Gàidheal operates a Musical Instrument Bank that ensures Fèisean have access to instruments, free of charge, when they require them for teaching purposes.

At other times, instruments are available for hire at the following rates:

  • Clarsach – £20
  • Fiddle 1/4 or 1/2 – £5
  • Fiddle 3/4 or 4/4 – £8
  • Accordion – £8
  • Keyboard – £8
  • Guitar – £8

Gaelic resources 

See also: Online, participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning.  

Each Fèis is encouraged to give its participants the opportunity to learn and use Gaelic in a fun and enjoyable way. Through games and activities, Fèis participants unfamiliar with the Gaelic language and intermediate learners are taught a range of useful Gaelic words and phrases. Fluent Gaelic speakers are also catered for with games and activities, which aim to build their confidence in the language and encourage conversational Gaelic with their peers. 

There are additional language learning resources available through FnG’s Fèisgoil service.


See also: Online, participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning.  


Fuaran is a Gaelic song resource. Since the project was launched in 2014, more than 70 young people aged 16-25 have taken part in training and song workshops, led by a host of leading Gaelic song and research experts. Some of them have gone on to conduct more in-depth research including interviews with people in several communities, as well as scouring the online archives and physical collections which exist of Gaelic tradition. 

This website features new recordings of some of the songs the participants have collected. This will be a useful resource for Gaelic singers and teachers and those with a general interest in Gaelic song. 


See also: Online, participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning.


Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Fèisgoil delivers language, music, arts and cultural services to schools, local authorities, public bodies and community groups across Scotland.

Examples of services Fèisgoil offers include:

  • Gaelic sessions in primary schools where Gaelic is taught as an additional language (L1+2)
  • Music and song classes in schools (eg YMI, Seinn, Mòd Academy)
  • Gaelic taster days and mini-fèisean in schools
  • Gaelic drama tours and workshops
  • Inter-generational language sessions to enrich pupils’ Gaelic
  • Activities delivered through Gaelic at Fèisean and community events.
  • Unique projects tying place to traditional and contemporary culture, usually with specific reference to language and song.
  • Gaelic Awareness Training sessions to local authorities and other public bodies looking to fulfil the obligations of their Gaelic Language Plan.

You can read more about Fèisgoil here and see a short video about the Blasad Gàidhlig classes in schools below. You can find some of the teaching resources that are used as part of the Fèisgoil service on each project’s page.

Youth Music Initiative

See also: Curriculum, participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning, instrumental specialism.


Fèisean nan Gàidheal continues to enjoy a successful Youth Music Initiative (YMI) partnership with High Life Highland, delivering 8 weeks per year of an introduction to traditional music in all 173 primary schools in the area. Identification of target classes allows for progression and development, particularly as the Initiative has been running for twenty years. Pupils and schools now see YMI (traditional) as an established part of the curriculum.

In order not to duplicate or interfere with any existing music provision in schools, the scheme focuses on three main areas; tin whistle, song (particularly Gaelic) and group music, although a more flexible approach has developed allowing YMI (traditional) to meet the needs of individual schools/pupils.

Mòd Academy

See also: Participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning, instrumental specialism, voice.

Since Mòd Academy began, Fèisgoil, in partnership with An Comunn Gàidhealach and the local authority where the Royal National Mòd will be taking place that year, have been delivering the service, sending a team of tutors in to support local schools where teachers and pupils wish to learn a Gaelic song and/or poem in order to take part in the Mòd.

Seinn (Gaelic Song Tuition)

See also: Participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning, instrumental specialism, voice.


Working in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), Fèisean nan Gàidheal lead Gaelic song sessions in all 6 of their Uist and Barra schools.
Tutors embrace the opportunity to deliver songs with local connections and re-engage island children with songs from their own communities wherever possible. You can find the songs taught in 2022-23 here.

Unique Projects

Mini-Fèis – a team of Gaelic speaking tutors visit secondary age children to showcase opportunities and fun through Gaelic. Music always plays an important role with workshops offered in various disciplines depending on the specific skill set of each tutor team.

Treòir Voar Virr – a two year programme, running 2021-2023, funded directly by The Scottish Government as a covid recovery project to connect island based primary schools with creative artists living locally. From this we have a detailed traditional song resource, the majority in Gaelic but with some also in Orcadian Scots as well as Shetlæn Dialect.

Oide– traditional music and Gaelic song teaching sessions available at different levels through FèisTV

Further music resources from FnG – early years through to young adults:

  • Gaelic songs contained within a variety of FnG resources can be accessed here.
  • During covid19 lockdown, Fèisean nan Gàidheal responded to the pandemic with a variety of new online resources, some of which are still available below.


See also: Online, participatory, primary, secondary, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning.


#cleachdiaigantaigh is Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s online resource for online, distance and home based learning. Below is a list of all of the activities and events you can take part in and use, along with their suggested age groups. Click on the links to view the content and sign up for our #cleachdiaigantaigh events.

Early Years Ages 3-8

A new early years song resource from the Fèisgoil cupboard.

Primary School Pupils


Live song game sessions from the Blasad Gàidhlig resource.

Fèis Air Loidhne

Free music classes through the medium of Gaelic. *Classes are currently full but keep an eye out for more opportunities coming soon.

Teenagers and Young People

Cafe Bheairteis

An opportunity to speak to young Gaelic speakers around the world.

Fèis nan Deugairean Air Loidhne

More opportunities for teenagers coming soon.


Tac an Teine Air Loidhne

An Online Gaelic Medium singing session.


New learning resource, Oide, is online now!

Saoghal na Cloinne Bige

See also: Online, Participatory, early years, musicianship, creative learning, Scottish traditional. Lifelong learning, voice.


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is delighted to welcome the launch of Saoghal na Cloinne Bige. The twenty-six songs, which are targeted at the early years stage, were commissioned by the Comhairle and produced by Fèisean nan Gàidheal.  Many of the songs have been specially written for the resource and take you through many of the daily tasks in the life of a child; from waking in the morning, a trip to the shops, a visit to granny’s and, eventual, bed time.
The songs can be downloaded for free via Apple, Amazon, Spotify and are also available on YouTube. The download link can be found here .

How to get involved

If you want to get involved with Fèisean nan Gàidheal, you can find out more at any of the following:


Fèisean nan Gàidheal
Meall House
Portree, Isle of Skye
IV51 9BZ


Fèisean nan Gàidheal
2 Ardross Terrace

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