Caroline grew up on the Isle of Lewis exposed to a wide variety of musical tastes. Primary to this was the traditional west coast Ceilidh music and of course, the rich Gaelic tradition that’s synonymous with her Hebridean home. Caroline’s upbringing set against the backdrop of these traditions and culture helped form the building blocks of what would eventually become HebCelt and the annual event we know it to be today.
Being one of the team who started the event in 1996, Caroline went on to lead the development of HebCelt for most of its first 25 years seeing the event grow from an initial audience of one thousand to the landmark event it’s become welcoming in excess of four thousand Celtic music fans per day to Lew Castle Green across the July event.
Assuming the Festival Director role in 2001, Caroline was responsible for raising the annual funds required to put it on. She also led on programming bringing such artists as Van Morrison, KT Tunstall, Deacon Blue and Texas to the isle of Lewis. Other responsibilities extended to community development, business sponsorship and marketing, as her role grew exponentially with the festival. The establishment of the Festival Director role was crucial to the subsequent growth of HebCelt which is now a firm fixture in the Scottish music calendar. HebCelt’s huge impact for its island community in terms of economic benefit coupled with its creative and cultural significance which cannot be understated.
When not working on the festival Caroline could be found working in and around the family croft on the west side of Lewis, where she now enjoys her “retirement”. There is always a pot of tea and some pancakes on the go for anyone who calls by.
The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award was sponsored in 2022 by Traditional Arts, Culture Scotland (Tracs). Read more about their work here.