HebCelt starts annual ‘search for a star’ contest

Previous competition winners Gria enjoyed thier HebCelt main stage experience.
Previous competition winners Gria enjoyed thier HebCelt main stage experience.

A new search has started for future stars who will win a sought-after stage slot at one of Scotland’s major music festivals.

The One Step Further contest for young artists is now an annual feature of the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival which attracts an international audience of more than 16,000 to Stornoway in the island of Lewis.

Festival Director Caroline Maclennan, said: “The One Step Further competition is now well established and generates a lot of interest among young artists who see the opportunity it presents to showcase their music to a large audience.

“There is a wealth of talented artists out there and it is part of HebCelt’s mission to help develop such talent. We have been very impressed with the quality of entries over the last two years and expect to have to make another difficult choice this year.”

The competition winners will join headliners Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro, as well as renowned acts including Duncan Chisholm and Cara Dillon in playing on the main festival stage.

Glasgow-based trio Muran won the 2012 competition just six months after forming, while female quartet Gria took the prize last year, three months after playing their first gig.

Duncan Chisholm, who appeared at the first HebCelt in 1996 and has played at the festival six times since, said the contest is a wonderful opportunity for young artists.

“Giving a platform to young performers is vitally important to our artistic community,” he said. “Having the aspiration and opportunity to perform on a big stage will always drive musicians to practise and become better.

“The HebCelt One Step Further contest not only creates a huge opportunity for emerging talent but also gives the HebCelt audience the chance to hear fresh and exciting sounds.”

The One Step Further competition is open to any young band or performer, aged between 18 and 25 at the time of the festival, playing a genre of music that reflects the general programming of the event.

To enter, artists need to prepare a promotional pack in electronic format that includes links to three good quality recordings of their music, at least one high resolution photograph and a biography. They can also include links to a live performance.

Submissions should be sent by email by 5pm on April 12th to office@hebceltfest.com and marked HebCelt New Talent Submissions.

The winners will be announced on May 3rd and will be able to perform live on either Friday, 19th or Saturday, July 20th within the main arena. They will also receive £300 towards expenses.