Following on from a record 17,000 attendees last year, Hebridean Celtic Festival is back from 13th - 16th July 2011 with what is unarguably its strongest programme to date.
This year's opening concert, at Stornoway's An Lanntair arts centre, features three top young Gaelic singers – Darren Maclean, Jenna Cumming and Linda Macleod – performing a new suite of music on the Scotland's Islands theme, while new Highland/Gaelic band Mànran will be making their debut in the 5,000-capacity main marquee.
"It's a central part of the festival's identity," says Heb Celt director Caroline MacLennan, "the fact that we're showcasing what our own culture has to offer, right alongside the best international acts”.
Moreover, the Heb Celt's outdoor site offers one of the most picture-perfect festival locations you'll find anywhere – surrounded by trees, overlooking Stornoway's old harbour, against the imposing baronial backdrop of Lewis Castle – along with a wealth of daytime attractions from deserted white-sand beaches to the world-famous Callanish standing stones. And that is not all - this year the Festival coincides with the local Highland Games, the Sail Hebrides Maritime Festival and an appearance by some of the Tall Ships.
Small wonder that nowadays an annual plea goes out for anyone in the town and its environs who can provide extra bed spaces for the arriving hordes – even if the level of revelry over the festival's four days tends to place sleep decidedly low on the priority list.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival 2011 is at various venues on the Isle of Lewis from Wednesday to Saturday www.hebceltfest.com
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