Make your way to Stornoway

The Hebridean Celtic Festival celebrates its 18th birthday in July 2013.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival celebrates its 18th birthday in July 2013.

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Less than six weeks to go until the big tents go up and the Hebridean Celtic Festival rolls into Stornoway town July 17th to 20th.

HebCelt celebrates its 18th birthday this year, and if you haven’t got your ticket yet – here’s 18 reasons why you should join the party:

1.HebCelt has a unique and spectacular setting in Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis.

2.The two main stages are on the Castle Green in front of Lews Castle, while performances are also held in An Lanntair arts centre and throughout the rural community.

3.This year it was selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines.

4.It was the only Scottish festival to make the Top 10, placing it alongside the likes of Glastonbury and the Cambridge Folk Festival.

5.In 2011 it won Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards , in a three-way final with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.

6.It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe.

7.It has twice won the Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, which is voted for by the public.

8.HebCelt has also been hailed as one of the UK’s top 50 festivals by the Daily Telegraph and one of the top five by The Scotsman.

9.Van Morrison is a headliner this year

10.So are Dougie MacLean, Capercaillie, The Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

11.The line-up also includes Karine Polwart; Lau; Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher; Darrell Scott, Pete Roe and Paddy Callaghan.

12.HebCelt is a strong supporter of the Gaelic culture and is holding a Gaelic Showcase over the four days.

13.Visitor from Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the US Made the journey to Lewis last year, as well as many from across the UK.

14.The overseas contingent helped swell the ranks of a 120-strong volunteer army that contributed over 3,500 unpaid man hours over the course of the four days.

15.HebCelt injects more than £1.5 million into the local economy.

16.Runrig, Julie Fowlis, and the Peatbog Faeries are all in the HebCelt Hall of Fame and act as festival ambassadors.

17.Visitors can learn essential Gaelic phrases during the event

18.Stay a bit longer and also enjoy surfing, fishing, kayaking or canoeing, craft sessions and Harris Tweed demonstrations in Lewis.

Prices for a main arena weekend ticket (Thursday to Saturday) for HebCelt 2013 are £70 per person (£55 concession).

Daily tickets range from £25 to £33 (£19 to £25 concession) and a large quantity of children under 14 will be able to attend concerts at the Festival Arena each night for free if accompanied by someone who is 18 or older.

For more information about the Festival – including full line-up – visit www.hebceltfest.com