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Caithness News Bulletins July 2007

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The Rocket Man Launched InvernessFest With A Bang!
Sir Elton John's first ever appearance in the Highlands wowed a crowd of over 18,000 fans yesterday (Sunday 15 July 2007) at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in Inverness.

The Rocket Man's performance launched InvernessFest, a new two week festival in Inverness as part of Highland 2007, Scotland's year of Highland culture.

InvernessFest takes place in and around Inverness until 29 July and incorporates the InvernessFest Club located in a beautiful Bon Vivant mirror tent in Falcon Square, and InvernessFest Fringe a celebration of the many cultures found in the Highlands today.

The first ever InvernessFest Club opens on the morning of Thursday 19 July and runs until the evening of Monday 23 July. The Club features a packed programme of comedy, music and children's shows, some of which are free.

Fantastic music for all tastes will be provided by Karen Matheson and her band, Jim Malcolm, two special performances from Gaelic music legends Na h-Oganaich, Dougie McLean, Fred Morrison and friends, Lau and award-winning Julie Fowlis. While comedians Craig Hill, Janey Godley and Boothby Graffoe will bring laughs to an older audience with children's events such as the acclaimed puppet show Rumplestiltskin at the Fairytale Laundry and Midgie Nation entertaining younger festival goers.

InvernessFest Fringe will complement the main festival programme in a celebration by, and about, the many different cultures and cultural groups active in the Highlands today. The Fringe will see a mix of Chinese dance, Russian, Polish and Gaelic culture, Bangra, Bluegrass, traditional step dance and ceilidhs. There will also be drumming, comedy, poetry, street theatre, lectures, visual arts, musicals, and much more to look forward to.

Other highlights of InvernessFest include City Jam - a full week of free music and entertainment in Inverness city centre, the Tulloch Inverness Highland Games featuring the World Highland Games Heavy Championships, the RBS Inverness Highland Tattoo and the European Pipe Band Championships.

For a full InvernessFest programme visit the Highland 2007 website at www.highland2007.com

Fiona Hampton, director of Highland 2007, said: "We were delighted to help bring a global icon of the calibre of Elton John to the Highlands in this special year of celebration. The success of yesterday's concert is a fitting start to what I'm sure will be a fantastic two weeks of events that will showcase the best of traditional and contemporary Highland culture."

InvernessFest is a two week long celebration of traditional and contemporary culture in Inverness taking place between 15 and 29 July. It will blend the most popular aspects of Highland traditions and heritage with events that reflect the modern face of the city of Inverness and its cultural diversity. The main festival programme will be enhanced by a range of Fringe events in venues throughout the city. InvernessFest will include:

* 14 - 21 July - CITYJAM Music Festival
* 15 July - Sir Elton John and his Band in concert at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
* 15 - 29 July - InvernessFest Fringe
* 17, 26 and 27 July - Three concerts in Inverness Town House
* 19 - 23 July - InvernessFest Club in Falcon Square
* 21 & 22 July - Tulloch Inverness Highland Games featuring the World Highland Games Championships at Bught Park
* 25 - 28 July - RBS Inverness Highland Tattoo at Fort George
* 27 July - Salm & Soul
* 28 July - European Pipe Band Championships at Bught Park
* 28 July - Summer in the City Youth Festival

The fun doesn't stop in Inverness - lots of other events are taking place across the Highlands and Islands in July such as The Skye Festival / Feis an Eilein, Highland Games and many others. The Skye Festival / Fis an Eilein (13 - 27 July) is Scotland's biggest small festival. Over the course of two weeks around 90 events will take place throughout the Isle of Skye and surrounding area. The festival incorporates traditional music, jazz, theatre, film, walks, workshops and the book festival Aos Dana. For more information and ticket details call 01471 844207 or visit www.skyefestival.com  - some tickets also available through the Booth www.thebooth.co.uk.

Highland 2007, the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture, aims to promote the Highlands as a great place to live and to visit through showcasing the unique and special nature of Highland culture past, present and future. The project is a partnership between three principal funding agencies: The Highland Council, the Scottish Executive, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. See www.highland2007.com for full details.