HebCelt Festival shortlisted for two national awards

THE internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival has been shortlisted for two national awards to mark its significant cultural and economic impact on its host islands.
HebCelt shortlisted for two awards. Picture: Colin Cameron/HebCeltHebCelt shortlisted for two awards. Picture: Colin Cameron/HebCelt
HebCelt shortlisted for two awards. Picture: Colin Cameron/HebCelt

The awards celebrate a range of events that took place in Scotland between 20 May 2016 and 23 June 2017.

The 21st HebCelt, headlined by Runrig, was held from 13-16 July 2016 in Stornoway and was the most successful in its history. An estimated 18,000 people – by far the event’s highest audience – savoured four days of outstanding music in Stornoway and surrounding communities.

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An independent economic impact study showed the festival directly generated £1.4 million. But its wider knock-on impact on local businesses meant a net economic effect of £2.2 million and helped safeguard 40 tourism-related jobs.

The survey found that 63 per cent of festival goers came from outside Lewis and Harris, with almost three quarters saying they were in the area to attend HebCelt.

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Successful 2017 HebCelt injects economic boost to isles

The 2017 HebCelt, headlined by The Waterboys, Imelda May and Dougie MacLean, was another successful event. The festival organisers followed it up by curating a hugely-successful sell-out opening concert at the Lorient Interceltic Festival in Brittany on 5 August – Europe’s largest Celtic festival - when Scotland was Guest Country of Honour.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “Being shortlisted in two categories is a huge honour. Coming soon after another highly successful festival, and our triumphant contribution at Lorient, is a great reward for everyone involved in organising these events.”

The HebCelt audience is drawn from across the UK and also abroad, including Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Many of them come back year after year – 70 per cent of the audience are returners and a further 17 per cent come on recommendation, demonstrating the high regard for the event.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival is a not-for-profit charitable event firmly rooted within its community and is almost entirely managed and produced by voluntary effort.

The festival has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music. It is estimated it has generated more than £20 million for the local economy over two decades.

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The 2016 HebCelt was the most successful in the event’s 21-year history.

In 2015 HebCelt was selected as one of the top 10 UK summer festivals for the fifth year in succession by influential publication Songlines.

In 2014 HebCelt was voted Best Event or Festival at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

It has also been ranked Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards and won Best Event of the Year honours at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.