Early bird ticket opportunities for adults are still available for this year’s Blas festival, but only until the last day of July, when the offer closes.

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The “reel deal” tickets at much reduced prices will remain available to July 31 when the prices will revert to the full rate. Reductions for adult tickets normally benefit audiences with £14 tickets down to £12, and the £12 ones down to £10.

From Sunday August 1, normal rates will apply and the prices will be as advertised on the Blas festival website and printed in the festival programme. Blas Director Donna MacRae said: “The response to our early bird offer has been very worthwhile and it is worth highlighting to people that there is still time to take advantage of the reductions as they represent very good value. We believe that the ticket pricing structure even at the full rate is very reasonable, but there is clearly an incentive now to beat the deadline at the end of the month. Some of our events are heavily subscribed so I would urge everyone, to avoid disappointment and take a look at what they would like to come and see. Then, obviously, to book tickets through the usual channels as quickly as possible. The sooner the tickets are secured, the better for everyone.”

There has been world-wide interest in events at Blas 2011 with a party of 50 from Germany signing up to see the festival’s in-house band Inside Track at one of their dates on their extensive tour, at Inverness airport on September 12.

High the list of events included in the early bird offer is Hallaig, a musical celebration of the poetry of Sorley MacLean with musical director Kenneth Thomson featuring compositions by Stuart MacRae, Mary Ann Kennedy, Eilidh Mackenzie, Marie-Louise Napier, Allan Macdonald, Blair Douglas, Donald Shaw, Allan Henderson and Kenneth Thomson.
Hallaig was one of the cleared townships on Raasay. The poem on which this musical work is based was composed by Sorley MacLean in 1952, and was first published in Gairm in 1954. The poem is perhaps the best known of Sorley MacLean’s work, and a translation of ‘Hallaig’ by Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney was published by Urras Shomhairle, the Sorley MacLean Trust, in 2002.

Hallaig, under the musical direction of Kenneth Thomson, is being staged to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sorley MacLean, in conjunction with Urras Shomhairle. Performers at Inverness Cathedral on Friday September 16 and Sabhal Mòr Òstaig on Skye on Saturday 17th September include Dingwall Gaelic choir, Brian McAlpine, Gordon Gunn, Dougie Pincock, Jenna Cumming, Rhona MacKay, Alasdair Whyte, Mary McCarthy, Jack Evans and Su-a Lee.

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs