Hebridean Celtic Festival are the twentieth recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Hebridean Celtic Festival are celebrating their 20th anniversary and now attract over 15000 visitors over its four day run.
We asked Caroline Maclennan of Hebridean Celtic Festival the following questions.
What is your principal company activity?
We are a four day music festival located in the Gaelic heartland of the Outer Hebrides that promotes a programme of music influenced by our own culture and embracing contemporary, world, indie and rock genres.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary outing in 2015, from humble beginnings Hebcelt now attracts 15,000 attendees over its four day run, half of whom are visitors to the area. Consequently the cultural and economic impact of the festival on our area is hugely significant.
In as much as we are about promoting a top quality music and arts programme we are proud to support emerging talent and strive to ensure our Gaelic culture is showcased to our International audience.
When and where did the company first start trading?
The notion of holding the festival here was first mooted in 1995 with the first festival held in June 1996. This moved into the local school holiday period in mid July in 1997. The current operating model, as a charitable company, was established in 1998.
What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
Our unique location determines who we are as a people. It felt right to plough our own furrow as a festival, retaining the ethos as established from the outset, maintaining true to our roots.
Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
Still being here after all these years?
Seriously probably hearing the first strain of Davy Spillane’s pipes at soundcheck in 1996, our very first festival (and huge learning curve).
Playing host to Martyn Bennett in 1998; we were all huge fans and were a bit awestruck.
Being asked if we wanted to host a Van Morrison show in 2005. We were awestruck again.
Runrig’s enormous show in 2010. There are so many more…
Winning awards is always sweet. Winning the Scot Trad Music Awards twice. Securing the Best Event or Festival at the Scottish Event Awards in 2011 ahead of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Celtic Connections was particularly rewarding. Gaining an Outstanding award from A Greener Festival in 2013 for all our environmental work. Scooping the HITA Awards for Best Event or Festival in 2014.
Still being here after all these years….
What are your company’s plans for the future?
Keep on keeping on we hope. You are only as good as your last festival and we will continue to evolve the event to ensure we maintain our excellent reputation as a first class music festival and a quality experience for all who play here and the audiences who continue to enjoy it.
How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight award?
Sing it from the rooftops as ever. We are really chuffed to be recognised in this way, thanks to you guys too for all you do to support Scottish culture.
Contact Hebridean Celtic Festival
Isle of Lewis