Interview Release
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For use- Embargoed until 17 May, 2012

  • Band gear up for summer festivals
  • HebCelt perfect stage for Glasgow five-piece
  • Audiences to hear songs from new album


The summer may still be some time away but electric folk group Washington Irving have already got festival fever.

The Glasgow-based band have previously played the likes of T in the Park and the Insider Festival in Aviemore, and this year are heading for the 17th Hebridean Celtic Festival which runs from 11-14 July and based in Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis.

“Festivals are the best bit of being in a band I think”, said drummer Chris McGarry. “It’s the most exciting time of year for us.

“We’re doing quite a few this year - one of the best of course being HebCelt. We did Celtic Connections in January which was a blast. We’ve got the Deer Shed Festival (in North Yorkshire), the Hop Farm Festival (in Kent) and a few others scattered about.

“It’ll be great to get back up to Stornoway. We've played at the Jager Rooms a few times and have truly had the Lewis experience.

“People come out late and never seem to go to bed, which fits perfectly with the musician's ethic. Who knows what will happen at HebCelt.”

Washington Irving play the award-winning HebCelt on both 13 and 14 July: “It’s good for us to play festivals with more of a traditional set up”, said Chris. “HebCelt and Celtic Connections seem really encouraging of people that want to try something different with traditional music. It means a lot to us to have that support.”

Since the release of their debut EP Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home in 2010, the band – Chris, Joe Black, Martin Anfield, Rory MacDonald, and Kieran Heather who are originally from Oban and Aberdeen - have been attracting an ever-growing fan base across the UK.

Produced by Marcus Mackay. who has worked with Frightened Rabbit, Snow Patrol, Sparrow and The Workshop, the EP has received airplay from the likes of Vic Galloway and Huw Stephans on Radio 1, and has been supported by BBC 6 Music's Tom Robinson.

So the masterplan appears to be on schedule?: “Absolutely”, said Chris. “Every few months we realise we've done a lot more and received more recognition, hopefully it will be a constant thing.

“It seems these days it takes a bit longer to get the exposure you really want, but there's a lot of fun things to do along the way.

“We've just finished recording the album and so we're hoping to do some proper promotion for the record before it's released.”

Chris believes social media is playing a growing part in helping band’s getting their music recognised: “It's completely changed the landscape as far as promotion goes.

“Specifically word of mouth has a lot more credence these days. Facebook events, and the way a tweet can be re-tweeted by someone with thousands of followers can spread news incredibly fast.

“We've had a lot of contact from promoters and agents simply through our Facebook page which is great.”

So what can the festival audiences expect this year?: “We're currently trying to hone a great festival set. We'll try to avoid the cliches of confetti cannons and such, but we just hope to put on a great, lively show that will get everyone dancing. Fun is a key word here.

“Playing a festival like HebCelt is a great sign of things to come; we've met a lot of great people so far and hope to meet many more.

“Our next big goal is to be touring Europe and the US. But, to be honest, as long as we can keep going and gaining more fans we'll be really happy.”


For more information contact
John Ross
Lucid PR
01463 724593; 07730 099617


1. The 17th HebCelt takes place between 11th and 14th July 2012 and will, for the second year running, 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.

2. This year it has been selected for the second year in succession as one of the top 10 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.

3. HebCelt injects more than £1.5 million annually into the local economy.

4. It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe.

5. The festival is made possible through the support of funders, advertisers and a vital and large volunteer workforce- It relies on scores of volunteer workers who clock up over 3,500 unpaid hours during the event.

6. HebCelt 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.

7. 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.

8. A large quantity of children under 14 can attend concerts at the Festival Arena each night for free if accompanied by someone who is 18 or older.

9. This year’s headliners are The Waterboys, The Proclaimers and Kassidy. Other artists appearing include Julie Fowlis, Skerryvore, Admiral Fallow, Roddy Woomble, Niteworks, Mànran and Larkin Poe.

10 HebCelt has its own YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter outlets.!/hebcelt

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