UPBEAT HEBCELT GOING FOR GOLD
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Natural Scotland
- HebCelt shortlisted for Best Independent Festival award
- Golden Welly eyed by island festival
- Honour would add to best ever year for event
The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is in the running for another accolade in the most successful year of its 18-year history.
The event, based in Stornoway in the island of Lewis, is one of five music gatherings on the shortlist announced last night (6 August) in the Best Independent Festival category in the AIM Independent Music Awards.
HebCelt now hopes it will secure enough votes to claim the prestigious Golden Welly Award, which is sponsored by UK Music.
Public voting was carried out between 15-29 July and the winner will be announced at the AIM Awards ceremony on 3 September.
This year’s HebCelt was held from 17-20 July and was headlined by Van Morrison, Dougie MacLean, Capercailiie, the Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
The event has been hailed as the most successful to date with ticket sales showing an increase of 34 per on 2012, with just over half the 15,000 festival-goers coming from outside the Hebrides.
The huge influx of visitors from across Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand,helped generate around £1 million for the local economy.
Bar sales in the main arena were also up 50 per cent and merchandising sold out. Passenger numbers on ferries returning to the mainland on the Sunday and Monday after the festival were also up 18 per cent and the number of people calling in an the VisitScotland information centre in Stornoway during festival week showed an increase of 50 per cent.
HebCelt director Caroline MacLennan said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Golden Welly Award. To win would add to an already highly successful year for us and be a fantastic reward for an event that is now an international occasion and economically, culturally and musically important to the Hebrides.”
This year’s HebCelt has already been selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine 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.
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