HEBCELT TASTER SESSIONS GIVE A FLAVOUR OF THE FESTIVAL
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Homecoming 2014
- Criomagan start in town centre office
- Eleanor Nicolson first to play in taster session gigs
- Work gets underway early at HebCelt site
Teenager singing sensation Eleanor Nicolson is to launch a series of HebCelt ‘taster sessions’ this week, giving music fans the chance to sample the festival’s biggest-ever programme.
On Saturday at 2p.m. the 16-year-old singer songwriter from Lewis will perform a number of songs in the festival office in Cromwell Street, marking the start of HebCelt’s Criomagan series.
Supported by CalMac as part of the ferry company’s overall sponsorship of HebCelt, Criomagan – meaning bits and pieces in Gaelic - will see a number of acts who are performing at the festival drop in to showcase the variety of music on offer over the four-day event.
Eleanor Nicolson, who will launch her new EP Extraordinary at the festival, is already a well-known artist locally and is earning a well-earned reputation further afield having played gigs across Scotland and collaborated with the likes of Colin Macleod (formerly known as The Boy who Trapped the Sun) and Willie Campbell.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival runs from 16-19 July in Stornoway and will be headlined by Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro.
Rachel Sermanni, Cara Dillon, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys will also be among nearly 40 acts featuring on stage.
The taster sessions will be a regular feature in the new festival office which is much larger than previous premises and gives the event a town centre presence for the first time.
With HebCelt just two weeks away, work got under way this week at the festival site in front of Lews Castle a few days earlier than usual.
Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “Criomagan are a new innovation for us, using our larger premises to give people a flavour of what the festival has to offer.
“We hope people will drop in and listen to some wonderful local and visiting acts and be encouraged to come along to the main event if they are not already going.”
She said work on the site has begun a week earlier than normal in readiness for a bumper attendance: “Last year we had a record-breaking crowd of around 16,000 people, with nearly half that figure coming from outside the islands.
“We hope we can match that this year and so have to be ready in plenty of time for people arriving.”
In April VisitScotland’s Information Centre in Stornoway issued its earliest ever appeal for accommodation to house festival visitors. Alastair Lockett, VisitScotland’s visitor services team leader for the Outer Hebrides, said the number of people calling at the Stornoway centre in June was up 28 per cent on the same month last year, demonstrating how busy the islands are this summer.
He said: “Spaces are beginning to fill up right across the island, but if there are any accommodation providers who still have bed spaces or have cancellations please get in contact with us.”
Meanwhile, Eleanor Nicholson will be one of a number of HebCelt performers taking part in the Queen’s Baton Relay activities when they reach Stornoway on 8 July.
A musical finale to the relay events will also feature ceilidh band The 4Macs, including Graham Maclennan, Krisell MacDonald, Lauren Anne Maclean and John Murdo Macaulay; singer songwriter Willie Campbell, who will perform his new charity single Welcome Home in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support at HebCelt; and Gaelic singer and piper Calum Alex MacMillan, renowned local fiddler Jane Hepburn and accordionist Alasdair Maclean who will be joined by pipers from the Lewis Pipe Band.
NOTES TO EDITORS
This year HebCelt was selected as one of the top 10 UK summer festivals for the fourth year in succession by the influential music magazine Songlines.
The 2013 event was the most successful in its history with ticket sales showing an increase of over 30 per cent on the previous year 2012. The 16,000-strong crowd – double the population of Stornoway - helped generate around £1 million for the local economy
Last year HebCelt was also 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 and in the Best Independent Festival category in the AIM Independent Music Awards.
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.
|See - http://www.hebceltfest.com|
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