The best up and coming acts are to battle it out to win a sought-after stage slot at the 25th anniversary Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.
The multi award winning festival has partnered with Lews Castle College UHI to offer the exciting opportunity to perform on one of HebCelt’s arena stages in front of an international audience.
The winner of the Showcase competition will join the likes of Texas, Seasick Steve, Skipinnish, Julie Fowlis and Tide Lines in the HebCelt line-up. They will also receive £500, passenger ferry tickets to Stornoway and overnight accommodation if required, as well as arena weekend passes to enjoy the milestone festival.
They will hope to emulate last year’s winners, Jamie MacDonald and Christian Gamauf. Fiddler Jamie and piper Christian are BA Applied Music degree graduates from Lews Castle College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. They met while studying in Benbecula and have since performed at high-profile events around the world.
Jamie said of winning last year’s contest: “Performing at HebCelt was brilliant. It’s a great island festival and an amazing crowd. The university’s Showcase competition to perform is a great way to reach a wider audience.”
Christian added: “Performing at HebCelt last year was one of the many great opportunities the University of the Highlands and Islands provides for students and alumni. Getting to come back to the Western Isles again and perform at the festival was a highlight of the summer for me."
Julie Fowlis, was one of the first inductees to the HebCelt Hall of Fame and is an ambassador for the event. She is also a graduate from the University of the Highlands and Islands and a former Alumnus of the Year.
Julie said: “I’m very proud of the fact that the Hebridean Celtic Festival has always nurtured both local and young talent. One of my earliest solo performance slots was at HebCelt and it was a whirlwind and joyous experience, from which I learned so much.
“It’s heartening to see this partnership with the university, which will afford an artist an amazing showcase opportunity.”
The second year of the competition further strengthens the ties between HebCelt and Lews Castle College UHI which is also sponsoring the festival’s acoustic stage for the fourth year in succession. Many students on the college music courses have gone on to perform on the HebCelt stage.
Iain Macmillan, Principal and Chief Executive at Lews Castle College UHI, said: “Our relationship with the festival is now in its fourth year. Lews Castle College UHI is proud be supporting this fabulous festival which provides great opportunities for current students and graduates to perform.
“It is really rewarding to see the talent and interest in studying traditional music grow year on year, I can’t wait to watch this year’s winner on the stage at HebCelt.”
HebCelt Director Caroline Maclennan said: “The festival benefits enormously through its association with Lews Castle College UHI and its focus on traditional music.
“The competition fits perfectly with HebCelt’s passion for finding and supporting new talent and providing an opportunity to perform on a bigger stage.”
The competition is open to any performer or band who play a genre of music that reflects the general programming of the festival.
To enter, acts need to prepare a promotional pack in electronic format to sell their music to the judges and must include at least one high resolution photo and a biography, links to good quality recordings (three tracks) of their music and video of ‘live’ performance (optional).
The deadline for all submissions is midnight on Friday 6 March 2020. The winning artist(s) will be informed by 20 March.