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Everything you need to know about HebCelt

A crowd of people watch a festival performance
Crowds watch a show on HebCelt's Islands Stage. Photo: HebCelt

HebCelt is one of Scotland’s best-loved and quirkiest summer events. Here’s a guide to the Outer Hebrides’ very own music festival.

What is HebCelt?

HebCelt is an annual music festival based in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, with shows also in smaller communities.

It’s been going since 1996, and is one of the Hebrides’ biggest cultural events.

Taking place over four days from July 13-16, it has a strong tradition of featuring local acts, with many performing in Gaelic.

How much are tickets?

Saturday (£52) and weekend (£108) tickets were on offer in 2022 – before they sold out!

For Thursday and Friday day tickets, adults can expect to pay £38-£52.

There’s also a generous discount for kids, with children’s day tickets going from £10 for under-13s and £2 for under-fives.

A festival site at sunset, seen from a hill
HebCelt offers great music in the heart of Scotland’s Western Isles. Photo: HebCelt

How do I get there?

There are direct daily services to the islands from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Manchester.

A sometimes cheaper and more eco-friendly option is the regular ferries, but bear in mind that these are a lot more likely to be cancelled in bad weather.

Where can I stay?

Lewis and Harris have a range of hotels, B&Bs and holiday homes and there are caravan and camping sites in the area.

The festival means rooms will be selling quickly, though. The HebCelt website recommends booking accommodation well in advance.

If you decide to go for the Glastonbury experience and take a tent, make sure to follow the guidelines to help keep the Hebrides beautiful.

Three musicians performing in front of a crowd.
KT Tunstall performs at HebCelt 2019. Photo: Colin Cameron, supplied by HebCelt

Who’s playing?

HebCelt offers a packed line-up, with a total of 34 acts performing in the arena in 2022.

As a festival focused on traditional and Celtic music, there’s plenty on offer.

If you’re a fan of the genre, you won’t want to miss it.

The 2022 line-up  featured acts like the legendary Skipinnish and the BBC’s Young Folk award-winner Mischa Macpherson.

Do I need to speak Gaelic?

HebCelt prides itself on showcasing the Gaelic language, but you don’t need to know it yourself to have a great time.

However, if you’re interested in learning the language, there are Gaelic taster sessions available in the Fringe.

Children perform a Highlands dance.
HebCelt is a showcase of traditional Scottish music. Photo: HebCelt

What else is there to do?

HebCelt isn’t just about great music on the main stages.

It has its very own Fringe that features attractions such as a circus, a traditional shinty match, and a Highland dancing display.

For people looking to improve their own music skills, there are several workshops hosted by the HebCelt musicians themselves.

And for those who don’t want the fun to end, there are late-night ceilidhs and club events with separate tickets.

Can I bring my children?

It can be difficult to know whether to take children to a festival, but HebCelt is the perfect place to start introducing kids to the world of live music.

If the main arena looks a bit too grown-up, try the Fringe.

There are activities there that are perfect for kids, like family concerts and a family fun run.

A person holds a reusable cup with a HebCelt logo.
In 2018, HebCelt made the move to reusable cups. Photo: HebCelt

What is there to eat and drink?

Festival-goers are welcome to bring their own food and soft drinks.

In addition, there’s a catering area in the main arena with plenty of options to choose from.

If you fancy a drink, there’s a fully-stocked bar available onsite – but taking alcohol into the arena itself isn’t allowed.

Is HebCelt eco-friendly?

If you’re passionate about the environment, then HebCelt is one of the best festivals to support.

It’s the first in Scotland to power one of its main stages with green hydrogen.

Plus, they’ve banned single-use plastics onsite since 2018, using reusable cups and compostable cutlery instead.

Saving the planet has never sounded so good.