Five go to play Hebridean Celtic Festival

The five music-makers (left to right): Robbie Ward, Gavin McGinty, Stevie Anderson, Dave Webster and Billy Fisher.

The five music-makers (left to right): Robbie Ward, Gavin McGinty, Stevie Anderson, Dave Webster and Billy Fisher.

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The last time Dave Webster attended the Hebridean Celtic Festival he hitch-hiked to Stornoway and blagged a volunteer’s job as part of the stage crew.

In July he will be back, this time on stage as part of an award-winning group who are one of this year’s must-see acts.

Dave is one fifth of the Dundee band Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher who earlier this year scooped the Scottish Variety Awards Best New Scottish Band/Solo Act award.

The group will be part of an eclectic HebCelt line-up, which will be headed by Van Morrison, Dougie MacLean, Capercaillie, The Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, when the 18th festival is held from July 17th to 20th in Lewis.

In 2004 Dave was very much behind the scenes at the island festival: “I hitch-hiked up from the Isle of Eigg where I stayed for a couple of months. I’m pretty sure I made something up about being a sound engineer and they gave me a job as part of the stage crew.

“Some guy picked me up off the boat at Tarbert and brought me right there, we even stopped for something to eat at his folks’ house on the way.”

He continued: “The line-up was great, Saw Doctors headlined but I remember being blown away by the likes of the Peatbog Faeries, Maggie MacInnes and Instinkt from Denmark and the after shows in the Legion were a hoot, although I’m sure I got barred for wearing a hat or something.”

Festivals are increasingly a major part of a band’s year and Dave, who is joined in the band by Stevie Anderson, Gavin McGinty, Robbie Ward and Billy Fisher, is a big fan: “Festivals are one of the few opportunities you get as a musician to wander round a field and just listen to other music.

“Usually when bands are playing in town we’re either out of town or playing somewhere else so you don’t get a chance to catch everyone you hear about on the circuit.

“We did loads of festivals last year and created loads of great memories, but skinny dipping in the North Atlantic after playing at Tiree Music Festival will be something I will laugh about for many years.”

He added: “HebCelt is a great festival in a great part in the world. Obviously we are very proud of our Celtic heritage and delighted that many of the Celtic traditions have survived at the event.”

The recent award has helped bring AMWWF and their music to a wider audience: “It’s great to receive recognition for the work we’re doing, be it an award, a review or just from someone stopping you in a pub to tell you they like what you do”, said Dave.

“I’m personally a fan of awards, any kind of award from fastest man on the planet to bonniest pig in the pageant.

“It doesn’t make your product any better but it does create a feelgood factor around what you’re doing. I suppose winning an award may well raise the profile of the band and that can only be a good thing for us.”

It added to an already successful year with the five-piece being asked to record a soundtrack for a new Tennents beer commercial which saw them cover the classic ‘Caledonia’ by Dougie MacLean who is also appearing at this year’s HebCelt.

He expanded: “It’s a totally different studio pressure from recording your own material because you’re not just making the music right for yourself but it has to be right for Dougie, Tony Doogan the engineer and for Tennents.

“It’s a great song and had been covered by so many people so to put our own slant on it was a bit tricky but I think we got there.

“Working with Dougie was wonderful. He’s a great man whom we all have the greatest respect for and I believe we’ve built up a great friendship with him and his family.”

For full line-up and more information about HebCelt 2013, please visit www.hebceltfest.com