THE legendary Van Morrison is returning to the Hebridean Celtic Festival eight years after his memorable gig at the award-winning island event.
Morrison, who headlined HebCelt in 2004, has confirmed he will play the 18th birthday festival which runs from July 17th to 20th.
Fans of Van the Man can expect a collection of classics from a 50-year career as well as songs from his latest album ‘Born to Sing: No Plan B’.
He said: “My music has been influenced by the Celtic tradition and I find it inspiring to go back to the places where that tradition is still strong.
“My visit to HebCelt in 2005 is one I remember with great fondness and I have wanted to return to the islands for some time. So I am delighted to be able to take up the invitation this year and look forward to playing at this festival which is so highly regarded among musicians.”
Morrison was born in Belfast in 1945 and was raised on music from his father’s eclectic record collection of blues, country and gospel songs. After early success with the group Them, he became an internationally acclaimed solo singer and songwriter with hits including ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, ‘Moondance’ and ‘Tupelo Honey’.
His list of awards and accolades include an OBE, six Grammys, a Brit and an Ivor Novello, as well as honorary doctorates from Belfast Queens and Ulster universities, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres.
HebCelt Director Caroline Maclennan said: “People still talk today about Van Morrison’s performance at HebCelt in 2005. It was a magical occasion and ever since then we hoped he would come back.
“He is still one of the biggest artists in the world and I can’t wait to see him on stage again in Stornoway.”
The HebCelt line-up is now taking shape with a number of other artists having also confirmed they will be appearing this year, including Lau, the Anglo-Scottish trio who won the Best Group category for the fourth time in six years at this year’s Radio Two Folk Awards; and Scottish singer songwriter Karine Polwart, who was nominated in three categories in the same awards.
They will be joined by alternative folk artists The Travelling Band, from Manchester; Glagow-based emerging act Fatherson; Orcadian eight-piece The Chair; and Welsh bluegrass influenced band Rusty Shackle.
Local acts including Lewis-born Iain Morrison; singer songwriter Colin MacLeod, also from Lewis and known as The Boy Who Trapped The Sun; and Celtic rock five-piece Face the West complete the varied list of performers so far.
Last week is was announced the Scottish singer songwriter Dougie MacLean will be another of HebCelt’s headline acts, 17 years after appearing in the inaugural events.
And also confirmed are top Scottish live acts The Battlefield Band and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, as well as Virginian five-piece band The Hot Seats.
Advanced tickets for the Hebridean Celtic Festival 2013 have been snapped up by fans across the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America. Weekend tickets, priced £75 (£57 for concession and £18 for under 14s) are also selling well and day tickets go on sale on March 1st.
For more information, visit www.hebceltfest.com