The Outer Hebrides are going toe-to-toe with Scotland’s two biggest cities to be crowned as home of the country’s best major public festival.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival has been shortlisted, with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, for the title of Best Large Festival in the prestigious Scottish Event Awards.
Held in Stornoway – total population, less than 10,000 – the “HebCelt” is now an annual magnet for some 17,000 festival-goers and attracts top acts and local performers alike, injecting at least £1.5 million into the local economy.
From its origins 16 years ago, when 1,200 people attended, it has grown to feature international performers including Van Morrison, The Waterboys and The Proclaimers.
News of its national award short-listing for last year comes on the eve of the 2011 HebCelt, from 13th-16th July, when the line-up includes KT Tunstall, The Peatbog Faeries, Stornoway, Seth Lakeman and Eddi Reader, A two-time Event of the Year winner in the Scots Trad Music Awards, and twice nominated also for the Scottish Thistle Awards, the HebCelt was born from a local desire to combine world class Celtic arts performance with strong elements of Hebridean Culture to provide a focus for the local creative community.
This year, it has also clinched a second Scottish Event Awards shortlisting, for Best Traditional Event, in which it competes with Glasgow’s Piping Live! festival and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, held at Portsoy in Banff-shire. All category winners are announced at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards annual ceremony at Edinburgh Corn Exchange in September.
HebCelt Festival Director Caroline Maclennan said: “Our volunteers, the artists and our festival-goers will be delighted that professional events industry recognition, at the highest levels, is increasingly directed at the HebCelt as well as Scotland’s higher-cost, big city festivals.”
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