Feis Ile Festival

Posted by: Kelly Robertson
26 May 2022
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Every year whisky enthusiasts flock to the Island of Islay for one of the most famous whisky festivals in the world, Feis Ile!

The festival first started in 1986 by a committee keen to revive the Gaelic language and culture that they felt was starting to go missing on the island with a spectrum of different events such as history, music, ceilidh’s, theatre, drama and floats. They wanted tourists to discover what their island was really like, but it was also for the residents to see how the island had evolved compared to how life used to be. Whisky played a very small part in the beginning of the festival, as the distilleries did not have the same marketing that they have today.

Distilleries started to get more involved in Feis Ile around the year 2000 and this is where the festival began to transform into what is it today. Islay currently boasts 9 distilleries, with three more in the pipeline to be built, with each hosting their own open day with an array of different events including music, ceilidh’s, theme days and food - not to mention the special releases to be bought. The Feis Ile festival is held over 10 days and can attract around 9000 visitors all from different corners of the globe, that is 3 times the amount of the islands population!

Since Covid-19 the 2020 and 2021 Feis Ile had to be held virtually online, the 2022 festival is the first to be held back at the Island for 2 years and it looks to be an exciting one as friends old and new set to make their return to Islay.