HebCelt - Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Swing, Gaelic Music – it was all happening on Thursday night

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The Main and Island stages at the 18th Hebridean Celtic Festival got off to a great start last night with some fine music for the thronging crowds.

Bluegrass, mixed in with a bit of folk and rock is the sound of Rusty Shackle, who were the first up to the mike on the Islands Stage and they soon impressed with their distinctive style, festival goer, Margaret Smith said: “I’m really here to see Van Morrison, but this is the great thing about having the two stages, as you get to see and enjoy different styles of music, perhaps you don’t normally listen to.”

The sweet sounding Gaelic songs of Blasta took centre stage in the main tent warming up the crowd nicely for Van Morrison, however more than one of the crowd was a little alarmed when entering the grounds, as they thought they could hear Church precenting!

In fact it was just a soaring male voice – not sure if it was Calum Alex Macmillan, or Norrie Tago MacIver - doing the honours!

And then it was on to the headliner himself Van Morrison, a tide of people flooded into the big top for the start of his performance, which as usual was matter-of-fact great singing and musicianship, without the fripperies of banter or theatrics.

A great line up of songs was greatly enjoyed by the audience comprising of Van Morrison’s own classics as well as a little bit of blues and swing.

And the enjoyment was plain to see as the tent was packed-out, in contrast to Van Morrison’s previous appearance at the HebCelt in 2005, when the tent wasn’t as busy.

And by the end of his set his audience were dancing with their approval, especially in response to firm favourite ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.

Headlining the Islands tent and finishing off the night with a musical flourish were Island favourites Face The West and their familiar brand of music soon had the crowd jumping.

Thursday’s line up set the bar high - it was a great way to start the festival proper – thank you for the music!