HebCeltFest: FULL FORCE GAEL AS VAN SET TO STORM STORNOWAY AGAIN
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Natural Scotland
- Van Morrison back for HebCelt encore
- Singer plans Celtic Swing at island festival
- Lau and Karine Polwart among other acts also confirmed
The legendary Van Morrison is returning to the Hebridean Celtic Festival eight years after his memorable gig at the award-winning island event.
Morrison, who headlined HebCelt in 2005, has confirmed he will play the 18th birthday festival which runs from 17-20 July and is based in the island of Lewis.
Fans of Van the Man can expect a collection of classics from a 50-year career as well as songs from his latest album Born to Sing: No Plan B.
He said: “My music has been influenced by the Celtic tradition and I find it inspiring to go back to the places where that tradition is still strong.
“My visit to HebCelt in 2005 is one I remember with great fondness and I have wanted to return to the islands for some time. So I am delighted to be able to take up the invitation this year and look forward to playing at this festival which is so highly regarded among musicians.”
Morrison was born in Belfast in 1945 and was raised on music from his father’s eclectic record collection of blues, country and gospel songs. After early success with the group Them he became an internationally acclaimed solo singer and songwriter with hits including Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance and Tupelo Honey.
His list of awards and accolades include an OBE, six Grammys, a Brit and an Ivor Novello, as well as honorary doctorates from Belfast Queens and Ulster universities, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “People still talk today about Van Morrison’s performance at HebCelt in 2005. It was a magical occasion and ever since then we hoped he would come back.
“He is still one of the biggest artists in the world and I can’t wait to see him on stage again in Stornoway.”
The HebCelt line-up is now taking shape with a number of other artists having also confirmed they will be appearing at this year’s festival, including Lau, the Anglo-Scottish trio who won the Best Group category for the fourth time in six years at this year’s Radio Two Folk Awards; and Scottish singer songwriter Karine Polwart, who was nominated in three categories in the same awards.
They will be joined by alternative folk artists The Travelling Band, from Manchester; Glasgow-based emerging act Fatherson; Orcadian eight-piece The Chair; and Welsh bluegrass influenced band Rusty Shackle.
Local acts including Lewis-born Iain Morrison; singer songwriter Colin MacLeod, also from Lewis and known as The Boy Who Trapped The Sun; and Celtic rock five-piece Face the West complete the varied list of performers so far.
Last week it was announced the Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean will be another of HebCelt’s headline acts, 17 years after appearing in the inaugural event.
MacLean, who received a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to songwriting at the Radio 2 Folk Awards last month, will mark 40 years as a professional musician next year. He will perform at HebCelt with a new nine-piece line-up, The MacLean Project.
Also confirmed are top Scottish live acts The Battlefield Band and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, as well as Virginian five-piece band The Hot Seats.
The 18th HebCelt is attracting huge interest across the globe. Advance tickets have already been snapped up by fans across the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America. Weekend tickets priced £75 (£57 for concession and £18 for under 14s) are also selling well and day tickets go on sale on 1 March.
Last year’s event - which was headlined by The Waterboys, The Proclaimers and Kassidy – saw a major expansion in programming and attracted visitors from 19 different countries.
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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.
Last year the festival was selected for the second 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.