05 Dec 2019

‘25 Years of HebCelt’


So, it’s finally a reality. Team HebCelt are looking forward immensely to bringing you HebCelt 2020, the 25th anniversary festival.

We have now announced the news we’ve been bursting to tell you for some time – that Texas will be headlining our landmark event. This has already caused huge ripples of excitement around the team, our supporters and festival goers. It’s a major coup for us - and there’s so many more fantastic announcements to come in the next few weeks, so keep watching to learn more about one of the best programmes we’ve ever put together. There’s so much to look forward to.

However, reaching the 25-year milestone also makes us look back at the quite remarkable journey that has taken us this far. There have been many ups and downs, twists and turns, some dead ends, but also truly wonderful, life-changing experiences.

From those early, wide-eyed days of the ‘wee white tent’, where fewer than 1,000 mostly local people assembled to watch a handful of bands, we’ve grown and grown in size into today’s international gathering which attracts people from around the globe, sees attendances reach 18,000 annually and generates millions of pounds for our community.

The transformation has been truly amazing. The fabulous shows we’ve staged over the years conjure up a variety of incredible memories for all and HebCelt is now one of the most enduring festivals of its size in Scotland. This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that this event is managed and run almost entirely on volunteer power.

For those unaware, the festival is organised by a charitable trust and all revenue generated is used to stage the annual event. It can be a fairly nail-biting and challenging lead up to each festival, as one can never be sure, despite best efforts, where budget areas can overrun, whether tickets will sell as expected, or whether the vital funding that underpins the festival will be achieved. Not until after you have pressed the button and committed to another year in any case.

However, one of the most heart-warming aspects is walking through a HebCelt crowd seeing the young ones enjoying the event as much as their parents or grandparents do. The festival is renowned for its safe, family feeling and to keep that ethos going the trust continue to make the event as affordable as possible to ensure all ages are welcomed. Ticket prices are set very much with all this in mind.

The festival has, and always will be, community focused. We couldn’t do it without the support of our wonderful team of volunteers, our sponsors, but also local businesses and islanders who rally round when needed, welcome our huge influx of visitors and take pride in the success of an event in which they are heavily invested.

HebCelt is more than just a music event. Alongside the big, international acts we bring to the islands, we provide a platform for local and young talent. We champion our traditional musical heritage and indigenous Gaelic language and culture. And we are proud that we have also become recognised for supporting gender equality in our programming, our efforts to protect the environment and our showcasing of the spectacular Outer Hebrides as a place to visit.

As we looked back over the road we’ve travelled, we decided to give a nod to our beginnings. To mark our quarter century, we’ve re-visited the very first poster for HebCelt in 1996 and used it to inspire the artwork for the 25th anniversary design. Hopefully, you like it, and please use it in the lead up to 15 July next year. Tag a pal in all the festival news, #hebcelt or #hebcelt2020 when you post about the festival and make sure the word spreads far and wide.

It’s really important for us that we reach out to all who have been a part of this amazing adventure over the last 25 years and welcome as many ‘Home for HebCelt’ as possible.

Look out for more news soon. As well as updates on our amazing line-up, we will be announcing some pretty exciting competitions, run by the festival or in partnership with others, and plenty inspiring programming to keep all amused and entertained. That’s what continues to drive us after all this time.

Keep in touch friends.

Posted in Blog on Dec 05, 2019