This year’s HebCelt heading for a sell-out

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The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is heading for a sell-out with tickets going faster than at any time during the event’s 21-year history.

Two weeks before it opens, it is already the highest grossing HebCelt in terms of sales. All weekend tickets have been sold, as have those for the opening and closing nights, while only a limited number remain for Friday.

Half the HebCelt audience will come from outside the event’s base in the island of Lewis, confirming its reputation for attracting huge numbers of visitors and generating an economic boom for the Outer Hebrides.

The 21st HebCelt will be held from 13-16 July in Stornoway. Runrig will close the ‘coming of age’ celebrations on Saturday, 16 July during a nationwide tour in support of their 14th - and last - studio album, The Story, which was released in January.

News that the band were making their fourth appearance at the festival led to an unprecedented demand for Early Bird tickets from fans across the UK and Europe and as far afield as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Several hundred were snapped up within hours of going on sale and hundreds more were also sold as demand rocketed.

Runrig will be among nearly 50 acts performing over the four days. The diverse line-up also includes the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Hayseed Dixie, Astrid, Julie Fowlis, King Creosote, Eddi Reader and Breabach.

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are extremely pleased with the ticket sales this year.

“This is easily our best performance ever, with big spikes firstly when we announced Runrig and put weekend tickets on sale back in November, and then when we released day tickets.

“Since then sales have remained very healthy and we are heading for a sell-out across most events. Runrig are obviously a huge draw, especially in our unique setting in the Gaelic heartland, but we have a large and varied programme with a host of great acts which will appeal to our multi-national audience.”

HebCelt has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music, drawing an audience of around 15,000.

It is estimated it has generated more than £20 million for the local economy over two decades.