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HCF Blog

The big tent in front of the castle

Big Names and a Brighter Forecast

Well, the line-up of headline-making names has started to cause a storm as expected.

In the last few weeks Abigail, Barney, Clodagh and Desmond have all reminded us that winter in Scotland is not just for Christmas. We await the impact of Eva in the coming weeks and the various festive and new year offerings Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen and Jake may have in store. But without trying to tempt fate, it may be difficult to take future warnings about the ferocity of Hurricane Nigel too seriously.

So, instead of huddling under the grey blanket of seasonal gloom and cursing the need to scrape the global warming off your car windscreen, remember there will be a summer; it will be sunny and warm and the sun will be at its brightest during HebCelt week.

Some of you have already made sure of your spot by snapping up Early Bird tickets. Others will awake on Christmas morning to discover someone has taken the trouble to secure your place. If you don’t fall into either group – don’t take it personally, I’m sure your partner/family member/friend thought you had already bought tickets and they’ll have a receipt for the slippers they bought instead – best to act soon to avoid further disappointment.

Why should you book for HebCelt 2016? Well, it’s our 21st birthday and we will be celebrating our ‘coming of age’ in style by pitching our tents and inviting a lot of friends over.

Runrig, of course, will be there, and it’s their fault that there are no Early Bird tickets left. More than 40 years after forming, they are still a phenomenal act and a huge draw as the response to their announcement demonstrated.

Julie Fowlis, who has grown up with the festival, will be back on the HebCelt stage and in her native Hebrides as an international star; Hayseed Dixie will be there, plucking banjo and fiddle tunes from the mangle of long-haired 70s and 80s metal and John McCusker will mark his own musical milestone and celebrating 25 years as a professional musician by joining us during a UK and European tour.

As always, we will also showcase emerging talent and this year two of the finest young bands around will demonstrate why they are creating such a stir on the music scene - Orkney four-piece Fara and folk trio Talisk, who were both nominated in the Up and Coming Artist of the Year category in this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

There will be much more to announce in the coming weeks as we aim to surpass last year’s record number of live performances ever with more than 50 hours of music and arts events at our various venues.

Or you could stay at home, stockpile food and Runrig CDs and prepare for the arrival of Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Steve and Wendy who are waiting in the wings.