About Fèis Phàislig
Fèis Phàislig (Gaelic for Paisley Festival) is an arts organisation that provides traditional music experiences for young people across Renfrewshire.
In 2015, we established our first ever ‘Fèis Week’, an intensive course of come-and-try workshops, that saw over 50 children take part in instrumental tuition, singing and drama with some of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians. In 2016, our week-long event grew to almost 100 participants and our weekly lessons project commenced with support from the Paisley 2021 Culture, Events and Heritage fund.
We now provide a year-round programme of events including weekly Saturday classes in four different musical subjects, an annual four day fèis event each July and promotional visits to schools providing free music taster workshops to local primary school aged children.
Fèis Phàislig is operated by a team of volunteers who work hard throughout the year to ensure our events are able to run. Here’s a little more info on each of our members.
Grant McFarlane | Chairman
Grant McFarlane is a dynamic accordionist who performs and teaches extensively around Scotland and further afield. After teaching at Fèisean across Scotland, Grant sought to bring the first ever Fèis to Renfrewshire and brought together the committee in November 2014. Grant has been a driving force in bringing the Fèis to fruition, overseeing all aspects of Fèis development, funding and promotion.
Eleanor Whiteford | Secretary
Eleanor has no musical ability however, her younger daughter is a keen musician, who has taken part in both Fèis Arainn and Fèis Phaislig. This has given Eleanor an insight into Fèis week from a parent’s perspective. As a former swimming coach and a mum of two teenagers, Eleanor aims to ensure those attending this year’s Fèis have best experience possible.
Graeme Connell | Treasurer
A full-time accountant, Graeme is responsible for the financial aspects of the Fèis. Graeme is also an experienced musician as a full-time member of Renfrewshire ceilidh band, Scotia, alongside Grant. Graeme’s knack for numbers (and his love of spreadsheets) makes him the perfect fit for the Fèis Phàislig committee where we are always dealing with new funding bodies and tutors providing session work.
Karen Anderson | Child Protection Officer
Karen is mum to two children who have been involved with Fèisean from a young age. Their experience of Fèisean has led to Karen being a keen supporter of Fèis Arainn (Arran Festival) and when Grant was teaching at the festival in 2014, he was keen to have her on board the Fèis Phàislig team. As child protection officer, Karen plays a vital role in ensuring our tutors, committee and volunteers are up-to-speed on the child protection policy of the Fèis.
Jim is passionate about music and was once a keen musician himself, playing in popular local band ‘The Maybes’. With plenty of experience in event management and sitting on committees, Jim has been an integral part of the committee focusing on risk assessment, funding applications and administration. Father to Grant, Jim is also part of local ceilidh band, Scotia, as a popular dance caller and all round entertainer.
Joy Dunlop is a multi-award winning Gaelic singer and Scottish step dancer whose singing career is the result of a life–long fascination with Scotland’s traditional music and has led her all over the world; from major Celtic festivals to touring the UK, Europe, Japan, North America and New Zealand. A fluent Gaelic speaker and seasoned Fèis tutor, Joy also a popular language teacher at Glasgow University and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in addition to teaching Gaelic singing through the Youth Music Initiative in Renfrewshire. Joy also is presents shows on BBC ALBA and makes frequent appearances on Radio nan Gàidheal.