WHERE WE BEGAN
In 1984 a committee was formed to revive the Gaelic Language & Culture as people were concerned that the Gaelic Language was under threat - the first Gaelic Drama Festival took place.
The Fèis Ìle evolved originally as part of the Drama Festival local Mod, followed by a weekend of Concerts and Ceilidhs. The talent of local people, young and not so young on Islay was recognised.
The early days of the Festival were very exciting with Communities competing for the Best Dressed Village to the culminating Carnival Day. Decorated floats, stalls and entertainment. Two weeks were filled with music, drama, workshops, talks, walks, Ceilidhs, Concerts and Dances in the evening. There was even a Carnival Queen from each Parish Kildalton, Kilarrow and Kilmeny & the Rhinns.
In 1990 the first whisky tasting event took place which interestingly was won by a local man, Dougie McDougall, our current Chairperson Florence Grey was runner up! In 2000 the Distilleries became more involved and introduced their special Open Days and ultimately their special Fèis Ìle Whisky.
The Fèis Ìle is the charitable organisation from which this now huge Festival of Music & Malt has evolved. The Voluntary Committee work collaboratively with the Distillery Community together with local Musicians and other interested people to Showcase Islay. We add to this mix a number of visiting artists. The Island population triples during the week of the Festival which means everyone now works flat out to accommodate and make the visitor experience so memorable.