News release
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Homecoming 2014

  • Recycling projects a success at HebCelt
  • Music fans help efforts to keep event green
  • Money back on cups return rewards youngsters

The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival has again shown it is one of the greenest events in the world by improving its recycling record.

The four-day event, which was held from 16-19 July in Stornoway and attracted an audience of around 14,000, has put in place a series of measures to protect its spectacular setting in the grounds of Lews Castle.

Almost all materials used by food and drink outlets in the main arena, including cups, plates and packaging, were re-cycled with festival goers increasingly using recycle bins to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill.

An incentive scheme, paying out 5p for each returned drinks cup, also proved popular among children attending the event, with one enterprising youngster collecting £27 in one night.

In all, 1,200kg of materials, including glass and cardboard, was recycled, compared to 920kg last year. A total of 810kg of bio-degradable organic materials was also collected, compared to 520kg in 2013.

It was another success for the festival’s 12-strong Green Team volunteers who oversee the recycling programme and after event clean-up.

One of the team leaders, Donald MacKinnon, a geography student at Glasgow University who is on a summer secondment to Zero Waste Western Isles, part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “Most of the material in the festival’s main arena was recycled and that is very impressive.

“People take a great pride in the area and are keen to support the festival’s aims to make the event as environmentally-friendly as possible.”

The latest news further advances HebCelt’s green credentials. This year the festival became part of the Green Arts Initiative, run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh to help Scottish arts organisations to be at the forefront of growing an environmentally sustainable Scotland.

Last year is was hailed as one of the greenest festivals in the world after being the only Scottish event to receive an Outstanding award from environmental campaign group A Greener Festival. In addition, it was shortlisted in the Greener Festival category in the UK Festival Awards.

Festivals that receive Outstanding awards are “exceptional events which have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, have excellent travel, transport and waste management programmes, protect the environment and minimise water use and communicate this to the public”.

Last year the festival also graduated from Carbon Trust Scotland’s Carbon Management programme.

HebCelt is committed to decreasing its carbon emissions by 14 per cent by 2017 to reduce its environmental impact. The Hebridean Celtic Festival Trust has drawn up a series of long-term aims on the sustainable use of resources, reducing emissions and raising awareness of environmental matters among volunteers, suppliers, contractors, artists and festival goers.

Caroline Maclennan, the festival director, said: “We are delighted with the ongoing success of the recycling efforts.  It is striking that so many people are thinking about their environment while enjoying the festival.  

“We are passionate about protecting our unique setting and by continuing to take recycling seriously we can make sure this happens.”

This year’s festival, which was headlined by Big Country, Levellers and Donnie Munro, attracted visitors from nearly 30 countries and provided a massive economic boost to the islands.

Audience numbers were close to last year’s record-breaking attendance - which was the best in the event’s 19-year history- and almost 17 per cent up on 2012.


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

In 2011 it was ranked Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards and it won Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004 and 2009.

For more information contact

John Ross
Lucid PR
01463 724593; 07730 099617


About Us

The 19th HebCelt will be held between 16-19 July, 2014 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. The 2013 HebCelt was the most successful in its history with ticket sales up by more than 30%. Just over half the 16,000 festival-goers came from outside the Hebrides and the huge influx of visitors from across Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, helped generate around £1 million for the local economy. Last year HebCelt was hailed as one of the greenest festivals in the world and was the only Scottish festival to receive an outstanding award from environmental campaign group A Greener Festival. It was also shortlisted in the Greener Festival Category in the UK Festival Awards. In addition to this, it was selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines and was shortlisted in the Best Independent Festival category in the AIM Independent Music Awards.




Quick facts

This year HebCelt became part of the Green Arts Initiative, run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh
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We are passionate about protecting our unique setting and by continuing to take recycling seriously we can make sure this happens.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan