HEB CELT’S INTERNATIONAL APPEAL BOOSTING TICKET SALES
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Natural Scotland
• Demand for festival places high three months before event
• Overseas demand helps boost ticket sales for island showcase
• Appeal to residents to house HebCelt visitors
Tickets for this year’s award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival are selling at more than double the rate of last year, helped by demand from overseas.
With three months still to go, organisers of the four-day flagship event based in Stornoway in the island of Lewis say they are delighted with the early level of interest, particularly from international music fans.
Last year HebCelt attracted an audience of over 14,000, 46 per cent of whom were visitors to the area, including fans from across Europe and North America.
So far this year over 70 per cent of tickets sold are going to off-island fans from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and all around the UK.
HebCelt, which runs from 17-20 July, marks its 18th anniversary this year with headliners Van Morrison, Dougie MacLean, Capercaillie, The Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
Festival Director Caroline MacLennan said: “It is encouraging that we are experiencing a higher than normal demand at this time. I hope this is a trend we will continue to see over the coming months.
“HebCelt has always attracted an international audience and it is gratifying that its popularity among our overseas fans is growing. While tickets are still available, we would advise those who are planning to come book their tickets in good time to avoid disappointment.”
Such is the interest in this year’s festival that residents in Lewis have been asked much earlier than usual to make beds available to supplement accommodation in hotels and guest houses.
Alastair Lockett, VisitScotland’s visitor services team leader for the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are already at the stage where most of the accommodation in Stornoway is full during HebCelt which shows what a major attraction it is.
“The festival is internationally renowned and attracts people from all over the world which is good for the town and the islands in general as many festival goers visit other places as well.
“We are expecting further enquiries as the event gets nearer and we need help from local people to ensure everyone is found a bed.”
"If anyone is able to offer good quality accommodation and friendly Hebridean hospitality between 17-20 July, please contact the VisitScotland Information Centre, 26 Cromwell St, Stornoway Tel: 01851 703088.”
An additional ferry will be operating the day after HebCelt to take festival goers back to the mainland from Stornoway.
Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac Ferries Ltd, said: "We fully recognise the importance of the HebCelt Festival to Stornoway and the Western Isles and are always happy to play our part in making it as successful as possible.
“We are therefore pleased to be able to once again schedule an extra sailing for the morning of July 21 to help festival-goers get home safely. “
This year’s HebCelt line-up also includes Karine Polwart, Darrell Scott, Pete Roe, Paddy Callaghan, and local artists Iain Morrison, The Boy who Trapped the Sun and Face the West, as well as Dundee’s Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher; Lau, voted ‘Best Group’ at this year’s Radio Two Folk Awards; Orcadian eight-piece The Chair; The Hot Seats, from Virginia; Manchester outfit The Travelling Band; Welsh band Rusty Shackle; Fatherson and The Dirty Beggars, from Glasgow and Rose Parade, a four-piece from Ayr.
For further information contact
01463 724593; 07730 099617
NOTES TO EDITORS
The 18th HebCelt takes place between 17-20 July, 2013 and will have two main stages on the Castle Green in front of the Lews Castle in Stornoway, as well as performances in An Lanntair and throughout the rural community.
This year the festival has been selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines. It emerged victorious as Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards 2011, in a three-way final with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.
Visitors from Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the US made the journey to Lewis last year, as well as many from across the UK.
The overseas contingent helped swell the ranks of a 120-strong volunteer army that contributed over 3,500 unpaid man hours over the course of the four days.
HebCelt is supported by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and injects more than £1.5 million annually into the local economy.
It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe and has twice won the Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, which is voted for by the public.
HebCelt has been hailed as one of the UK’s top 50 festivals by the Daily Telegraph and one of the top five by The Scotsman.
The festival has its own YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter outlets.