For those who sneaked out of the office early and stepped into the sunshine, Friday afternoon at the Hebridean Celtic Festival seemed like a whole different world.
Walking into the main arena and friends, families and festival-goers were spread across the Castle Green – many sitting outside the opened-up tents to soak up the rays while enjoying some of the finest music the Festival had to offer.
Kicking off at 2pm yesterday (Friday, July 19th) with local up-and-coming talent Faram on the Island Stage and Donald Macdonald and The Islands on the Main Stage, the music magic continued with The Dirty Beggers – a highlight for many – and The Rusty Shackle, who have taken HebCelt by storm.
Back to the Islands Stage and it was former Lewis lad and Trad awards ‘Composer of the Year’ (2010) Iain Morrison, with music-makers Marc Duff (bauzouki, whistles, bodhran), Pete Harvey (cello) and Donald Hay (drums).
Warming the crowds with a Morrison classic ‘Broken Off Car Door’, Iain continued through a pitch-perfect set, cello swelling to deep rich crescendos, whistles and vocals soaring to the tent-top and an electrified blast in ‘To The Horizon Sir’ securing the audience attention both inside and out on the Green.
The Hot Seats took to the Main Stage, their track ‘Another Day Another Dollar’ producing a number of impromptu hoe-downs in the big tent.
The first gig for the band on a three-week Scottish tour, The Hot Seats reckoned their HebCelt appearance was “pretty great” as they set off into ‘Hell Broke Loose In Georgia’, the crowds revelling in the tight bluegrass sound.
Back to the Islands Stage and what will no doubt be the top-spot act for many was Darrell Scott and Danny Thompson who kept festival-goers spellbound with velvet vocals and a life-time’s experience of music-making on quiet display – a simply stunning set!
Lau entertained on the Main Stage and The Travelling Band took over on the Islands Stage, then it was time for the HebCelt début of The Battlefield Band – with Lewis lad Alasdair White clearly enjoying bringing his bandmates home.
“Good Evening Stornoway!” rang out across the tent, as Alasdair followed it up with a little laugh and admitted: “I’ve always wanted to say that!”
Then it was over to the Islands Stage for the final act of the night – the just-can’t-sit-still-when-they-play sounds of the incredible Orkney band The Chair – before Capercallie proved they most definitely still have what it takes as the Scots group rounded off a terrific HebCelt Friday.