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Festival 2020

Hebcelt arena programme updates announced

14th Mar 2019

Acclaimed new and up and coming acts will join established festival favourites as the main arena line-up for this year’s HebCelt.

Another ten artists and bands from Scotland, England and Ireland are confirmed today for the award-winning international festival, which has already announced 16 performers, including headliners KT Tunstall, The Shires and Tide Lines.

As usual, HebCelt, which runs from 17-20 July in Stornoway, mixes well-known names from traditional and Celtic music with rising stars making their festival debuts.

They include Irish duo Hudson Taylor, renowned Scottish singer songwriter Kris Drever and widely-hailed newcomers Ferris & Sylvester, from London.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are very excited by the acts we are announcing today. They all bring something different to an outstanding and varied main arena line-up.

“As in previous years, our audience will enjoy some of the best traditional musicians and also some who are on the brink of stardom.”

Hudson Taylor comprise brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor who have been growing their fanbase out of Ireland and have recently completed a US tour, a sold-out, six-night show in Dublin and supported Hozier on the US leg of his 2018 tour.

The pair found fame after a YouTube video of them busking on Dublin’s Grafton Street went viral. Since then their captivating folk-pop songs have earned them a growing reputation and following, with online videos attracting millions of viewers.

Describing their style as like Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills & Nash, the duo have played some major festivals, including Glastonbury and Cambridge and have supported acts including Jake Bugg and Kodaline.

Kris Drever has enjoyed success as a solo artist and as part of folk band Lau. In 2017 he won BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of The Year 2017 and Best Original Track awards. His trio features Louie Abbott (Admiral Fallow) and Euan Burton. 

The London-based songwriting duo Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester formed in 2017 having played the same venue for six months without performing together and are now being tipped for success. Their style references the mid-60s sounds of Greenwich Village, with a combination of blues, folk and indie-rock ’n’ roll that has seen them described as somewhere between Jack White and First Aid Kit.

Among the other acts announced today are JigJam, an Irish multi-award-winning quartet who blend traditional Irish music with Bluegrass and Americana in a genre known as I-Grass.

The band have released three albums and have made a huge impact on the Irish American circuit, performing as a headline act at all the major festivals.

Eabhal, from South Uist, were named Hands Up For Trad, Battle of the Folk Bands 2018 winners and nominated for Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the 2018 Scots Trad Music Awards. The band released their debut album 'This is How the Ladies Dance' at Celtic Connections in January.

Lewis band Face The West, who are no strangers to HebCelt audiences are recording a new album after a five-year hiatus. Formed in 1998, they were nominated for live act of the year at the 2009 Scottish Trad Awards and have performed as far from home as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Sian comprise three of Scotland’s finest Gaelic singers who most recently featured on Niteworks’ single ‘Air Fàir an Là’, released in July 2018. Eilidh Cormack, from Skye, a former Royal National Mòd gold medal winner, has recently contributed to music for the new video game The Bard's Tale IV; Ellen MacDonald, originally from Inverness, graduated from the traditional music course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and also performs with trad music giants Dàimh; and Ceitlin L R Smith, from Ness, is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and winner of the Mòd gold medal and a Danny Kyle award, has performed all over the world as a solo performer and in a number of collaborative projects.

Featuring three of the brightest young musical talents, Josie Duncan & The Dusk; Josie from Lewis together with Innes White and Megan Macdonald, intertwine three-part harmony with delicately crafted instrumentals to accompany Duncan’s self-penned songs.

Donald & Peigi Barker, a brother and sister songwriting duo from the Black Isle and part of a well-known Gaelic musical family. Donald, a graduate of Plockton Traditional Music School, is now studying music and Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh. Younger sister Peigi voiced the part of Young Merida in the Disney/Pixar film ‘Brave’ when only nine years old and was also among the host of Gaelic and traditional musicians to contribute to The Bard’s Tale IV soundtrack, which was composed by Simple Minds bass player Ged Grimes.

Finn Paul is an upcoming Scottish singer-songwriter who blends 60s folk-revival guitar playing with a modern, soulful voice. His debut album ‘Wind and Stone’ is out soon.

The HebCelt main arena line-up now looks like –

Thursday - Tide Lines, Mànran, Kim Carnie, Beinn Lee.  

Friday - KT Tunstall, Newton Faulkner, Fara, Breabach, JigJam, Kris Drever Trio, Ferris & Slyvester, Benedict Morris Trio, Roseanne Reid, Jose Duncan & The Dusk, The Youth And Young and Finn Paul

Saturday - The Shires, Elephant Sessions, Hudson Taylor, Talisk, Eabhal, Face the West, Sian, Jake Morrell, Awkward Family Portraits, Keir Gibson and Donald & Peigi Barker,