THE Mod meets Blazin’ in Beauly this weekend under the direction of founding Blazer Bruce MacGregor.
Every year the Royal National Mod holds its own Fiddlers’s Rally.
This year, with Blazin’ Fiddles’ annual music school about to begin in nearby Beauly, fiddle groups from Inverness, Elgin and across Scotland will be joined by past and present members of the band, special guests and students from the fiddle school that begins next week, in a show produced by fiddler and broadcaster MacGregor.
"We thought we would try and do something a little bit different this year," MacGregror said.
"Although there is the rally aspect with all the fiddlers playing together, the night will feature five or six different acts."
As well as group sets from Inverness Fiddlers, Gizzen Briggs and Blazin’ Fiddles, other leading Highland fiddlers taking part include Adam Sutherland, Gordon Gunn, Laura and Rona Wilkie, Euan Smillie, Sarah-Jane Summers and Daniel Thorpe.
Joining them will be US fiddle player and Grammy nominee Casey Driessen, one of this year’s Blazin’ in Beauly guests, who might just be bringing a bit of Michael Jackson to the Mod.
"He’s very inventive. He loops his fiddle sounds and creates a backing track to sing against — we’ve seen videos of him singing traditional stuff and then the next minute Billy Jean by Michael Jackson," MacGregor said.
"He’ll certainly be something different for a Mod Fiddlers Rally!"
The night will also see the launch of the Donald Riddell Trophy.
Donated by the Fraser family of Moniack, it commemorates the fiddle tutor and composer from nearby Clunes and will be presented to the winner of the under-18 Mod fiddle competition, who will also get a scholarship to Blazin’ in Beauly.
From the Fiddlers’ Rally, MacGregor and his bandmates head straight into this year’s Blazin’s in Beauly, which launches on Sunday evening with new venture "Folktoberfest" in The Phipps hall Beauly
With beer supplied by Brewdog, Cromarty Brewery, Thistly Cross and Loch Ness Brewery and live music from artists including members of Blazin’ Fiddles, the Elephant Sessions, Megan Blyth, Ben and Emily, the Slim Panatellas, Adam Sutherland, Nick Firth and Pete Reid, entry is by donation to Beauly Cares, a local charity helping the elderly in the area.
"It’s going to be very relaxed, but I hope that people will come out and meet people who have come up for the week while we try and recreate a German beer hall in the middle of Beauly," MacGregor said.
The week of lessons will also see the return of Blazin’ in Beauly’s now traditional sketch night, this time with George Galloway, Eddi Reader and Phil and Aly in the Blazers’ take on Big Brother and a Friday night concert from Blazin’ Fiddles and Orkney band The Chair.
• The Mod Fringe Fiddlers’ Rally takes place at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, on Saturday 11th October at 7.30pm.
Blazin’ in Beauly begins on Sunday with its Folktoberfest charity night at the Phipps Hall.