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We attended a concert on the Ceilidh Trail three years ago so Googles Fèis Rois on the internet to find out about this year’s Trail in time for our holiday. I work in a school in England and we need to celebrate what young people do – long may the Ceilidh Trail continue!
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Cèilidh ar Chuairt

The 2016 Ceilidh Trail takes place from 11th July – 13th August. The project provides summer employment for 15 outstanding young musicians. You can see them perform at almost 100 gigs during this busy summer period in July and August. Download our 2016 Ceilidh Trail tour dates.

Fèis Rois launched its acclaimed Ceilidh Trail project in 2000. The first Ceilidh Trail was coordinated by Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis who spent three years working at Fèis Rois as an Education Officer. This first Ceilidh Trail gave 10 young musicians a summer job performing across Ross & Cromarty.

The Ceilidh Trail is a paid summer job and a professional development opportunity for young people aged 16 – 25 who are considering a performance career in traditional Scottish music. It is also a cultural tourism project bringing high quality traditional music performances to communities across Scotland throughout the peak tourist period in July and August.

Since 2000, The Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail model has been adopted by a number of other communities across Scotland. In addition to the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail which takes place across Ross & Cromarty, the organisation Fèisean nan Gàidheal now supports Ceilidh Trails in the following communities:

  • Argyll & Bute
  • Badenoch & Strathspey
  • Lochaber
  • Skye & Lochalsh
  • Stirling & The Trossachs
  • Sutherland

In 2012, Fèis Rois established an annual National Ceilidh Trail to provide opportunities for young musicians (and communities and visitors!) in other parts of Scotland. The National Ceilidh Trail has visited Orkney, Caithness, the Western Isles, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Lanarkshire, and Perth-Shire.

The Ceilidh Trail is a fantastic summer job! You will have the opportunity to develop a range of skills that will stand you in good stead for your future career in the music industry. You will also have the opportunity to visit new places, make new friends and have a lot of fun!

Through its Ceilidh Trail programme, Fèis Rois offers summer employment to 15 young musicians each year. The successful applicants are divided into 3 bands with 5 musicians in each band. One band will tour Ross & Cromarty and the other 2 bands will tour nationally across Scotland with one group focussing on Gaelic repertoire and the other group focussing on Scots repertoire.

Timeline for the 2016 Ceilidh Trail:

  • 1 - 15 February: Fèis Rois accepts applications (via its website) from outstanding young musicians aged 16 – 25
  • Week commencing 22 February: Applicants will be notified if they have been successful in securing an audition
  • Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February: Auditions take place in Cromarty. All applicants must be available from 10am on Saturday 27 February through to 3pm on Sunday 28 February. This is a residential audition weekend.
  • 11 – 15 July: Training week takes place in Cromarty
  • 15 July – 13 August: Four week Ceilidh Trail tour takes place. There will be “down time” and days off, but applicants should be able to commit to all dates in this period.

What will I gain from taking part in The Ceilidh Trail?

Successful applicants will take part in a training week led by some of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians before embarking on a four week performance tour.

By taking part in The Ceilidh Trail, you will:

  • Discover what it is like to be a touring artist – you will experience every kind of gig imaginable as you will play informal sessions, formal concerts, ceilidh dances, outdoor gigs, indoor gigs, background music, on big festival stages…!
  • Learn to use a PA system and do your own sound at gigs
  • Learn to play for ceilidh dancing and how to call the dances
  • Develop your stage presentation skills
  • Develop your Gaelic language skills and learn to introduce your sets bilingually
  • Learn about marketing your gigs and building an audience
  • Be paid a competitive weekly wage and have all reasonable expenses reimbursed.

We understand that some applicants will want to apply for multiple Ceilidh Trails, e.g. perhaps the Fèis Rois Trails and the Fèis Spè Ceilidh Trail. This is absolutely fine! The staff at Fèis Rois work closely with the staff at Fèisean nan Gàidheal and the other individual Fèisean, e.g. Fèis Spè, Fèis Fhoirt, etc to ensure that we allocate successful applicants to the appropriate Ceilidh Trails depending on their audition performance.

Previous Ceilidh Trails

Many previous participants of the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail have gone onto carve out very successful careers in the Scottish music industry. These include Fraya Thomsen, Mairearad Green, Matheu Watson, Mischa MacPherson, and Rachel Newton to name but a few.

Find out where the Ceilidh Trail toured in Ross-Shire in 2013 and nationally across Scotland that year too.

You can listen to a radio interview of the 2009 Ceilidh Trail participants. You can also listen to some tracks recorded by the 2011 Ceilidh Trail...

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'S e companaidh earranta a tha ann am Fèis Rois, clàraichte ann an Alba SC123137,. Tha e aithnichte le Oifis nan Cìsean mar Bhuidhinn Charthannais Albannaich, àireamh SC017647. Leasachadh eadar-lìn - Paul Murray | Dealbhachadh - Lucy Kendra | Photographs - Derek Prescott | Fiolmaichean – Chris Smith
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