Hebridean Celtic Festival

Stunning scenery, friendly locals... and the black pudding isn't bad either.

Preview by Jenny Wallace | 22 Jun 2009

With low-cost flights shuddering off from airports around the country, it’s forgivable – if saddening – that most of us forget the stunning destinations that lie right on our doorsteps. Luckily, such destinations – I refer to Stornoway in this instance – are giving city dwellers a fine excuse to throw on chunky knits and experience the exhilarating beauty and talent of the Outer Hebrides with the Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

Now in its fourteenth year, the festival (running from 15-18 July) welcomes top Celtic music artists including The Sharon Shannon Big Band (who has recorded and toured with everyone from Bono to Sinead O’Connor, and most recently Shane McGowan), La Bottine Souriante, the Michael McGoldrick Band and a wealth of other performers from as far as Quebec, Australia and the USA.

With the main programme hosted in a 5500 capacity festival tent under the grandeur of Lewis Castle, supported by a variety of both Stornoway town centre and rural venues across Lewis and Harris, the festival generates substantial sums for the local economy, although compared to some summer festivals, tickets come at a comfortingly reasonable price (£59 covers Thursday to Saturday, with individual night tickets on sale from around the £17 mark).

This festival offers an eclectic mix of local musicians, top Celtic artists and a real mix of exciting international music. If this is your thing – and even if it’s not – we recommend that this feel good event with strong focus on local heritage is included in your summer festival calendar. [Jenny Wallace]

The Hebridean Celtic Festival runs from 15-18 Jul. See website for ticket booking details and more information.