HebCelt takes on Coronation Party for Festival Crown

Can HebCelt scoop the UK Event award for Festival of the Year? Photo: Colin Cameron
Can HebCelt scoop the UK Event award for Festival of the Year? Photo: Colin Cameron

A small island music festival is to battle it out with events at Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park for a national honour.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival, based in Stornoway in the island of Lewis, has been nominated in the Festival of the Year category in this year’s UK Event Awards.

HebCelt director Caroline MacLennan said: “We are delighted to be nominated for this prestigious award which adds to an already highly successful year for the festival team.

“To be recognised in this way, alongside some of the biggest events held in recent years, demonstrates HebCelt’s standing as an international occasion which is economically, culturally and musically important to the Hebrides.”

The award-winning HebCelt, held in July, enjoyed the most successful year in its 18-year history with ticket sales showing an increase of over 30 per cent on 2012. Just over half the 16,000 festival-goers, who enjoyed headliners Van Morrison, Dougie MacLean, Capercailiie, the Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, came from outside the Hebrides.

The huge influx of visitors from across Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, helped generate around £1 million for the local economy.

Also nominated in the same category are the Coronation Festival, Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park and the Backspace festival in Leamington Spa.

The Coronation Festival attracted 60,000 people to the Gardens of Buckingham Palace to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. The four-day event, which began with a Royal Preview on 11 July attended by The Queen, The Prince of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family, showcased British innovation, excellence and industry over the past 60 years.

The evening Gala featured performances from Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Katie Melua, Laura Wright, The Feeling, Only Boys Aloud and the National Youth Orchestra, amongst others.

The huge Hyde Park event in July was headlined by The Rolling Stones and also featured Bon Jovi and The Beach Boys.

Backspace was part of Heritage Matters’ Leamington Looks Back programme and celebrated the history of video game creation in the town.

The UK Event Awards, now in their fourth year, are open to all aspects of the events industry including suppliers, organisers and marketers. Results will be revealed on 29 November in London.

This year’s HebCelt has already been selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines and was shortlisted in the Best Independent Festival category in the AIM Independent Music Awards. In 2011 it was ranked Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards and it won Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004 and 2009.