The HebCelt Festival has completed a bounce back from the pandemic with a sold out event and its highest ever grossing performance. In a demonstration of pent-up demand for the festival’s mixture of Celtic music in a beautiful setting, people from over an estimated 100 countries were part of more than 18,000 attendances as the festival celebrated its 25th year.
The festival featured artists such as Texas, Seasick Steve, Tide Lines, Elephant Sessions, Skipinnish, and Julie Fowlis. There were also a wide range of fringe and community events, including shows at the An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway. The festival was a showcase of Celtic music and Gaelic culture, with many of the performers having grown up in the islands and with HebCelt.
There were three unique commissioned shows celebrating Gaelic, two of which were born though the pandemic, and a finale with the legendary ceilidh king Fergie Macdonald.
In total the festival arena alone hosted 34 artistes over three days across three stages, whilst the wider programme produced 29 other shows or events, giving a total of 63, all of which were family friendly.
In her last year as Festival Director, Caroline Maclennan said: “We are delighted to have had our best festival ever in terms of ticket sales, attendances, revenues and sheer positive enthusiasm for HebCelt. The performances of the artists have been superb and people have turned out in droves to enjoy them. As ever, we owe so much to our festival-goers who continue to support us. We are entirely grateful to them. We also have to thank our sponsors who put their trust in us to deliver, and to the volunteers and community who are essential to HebCelt happening.”
Deputy Festival Director Graham MacCallum, who will replace Caroline Maclennan for next year’s HebCelt said: “This is a fitting way for Caroline to end her tenure as festival director. To have hit 25 years with our biggest selling festival ever is incredible. I’m sure she will continue to help the festival for years to come, but we owe her a great deal of thanks for her crucial work in making HebCelt such a success.”
Creative Scotland, EventScotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are all leading supporters of HebCelt.