A sought-after stage slot at one of the summer’s major music festivals is going for a song – or rather three songs – with unknown artists being urged to step into the limelight.
The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival, which will be headlined by Van Morrison, Dougie MacLean, Capercaillie, The Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, is again offering a platform for a new band or singer during the flagship event.
Acclaimed singer Julie Fowlis has voiced her support for the contest which will see the successful act following in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Glasgow-based trio Muran who, just six months after forming, played on the main stage of the festival which attracted over 14,000 fans over its four days.
HebCelt, which is celebrating its 18th anniversary this year, will be held from 17-20 July in Stornoway in the island of Lewis. It attracts interest across the world and was recently selected as one of the Top 10 UK summer festivals by influential music publication Songlines for the third successive year.
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. The winner will be able to perform live on either Friday, 19th or Saturday, 20th July within the main arena. They will also receive £250 towards expenses.
Festival Director, Caroline MacLennan, said: “The festival prides itself on helping to bring young talent from throughout the Celtic nations to a wider audience and this competition offers a significant opportunity for an artist or artists to showcase their talent to a large and appreciative crowd. We would encourage performers to put together a creative presentation to sell their music to the judges and perhaps win that coveted slot on stage.”
Julie Fowlis, originally from North Uist, was given one of her first opportunities to sing solo at a festival when she performed at HebCelt in 2003. She has since gone on to international stardom and sang on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning Disney Pixar animated film Brave.
One of the first inductees to the HebCelt Hall of Fame and an ambassador for the event, Julie said of the One Step Further contest: “This is a wonderful opportunity for a young singer or band to perform live at a major festival and in front of a large and international audience. HebCelt is renowned for promoting up and coming artists and should be commended for providing this platform which could be a real stepping stone to success for someone.”
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 12 April to firstname.lastname@example.org and marked HebCelt New Talent Submissions.
The judging process will take place throughout next month with the winning artist/s being chosen by 4 May.
The 18th HebCelt is attracting huge interest across the globe. Advance tickets have already been snapped up by fans across the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America.
Day tickets were available to buy from 1 March and early sales are encouraging with more than double the number being sold than at the same time last year. More than 70 per cent of tickets sold so far have also gone to off-island fans.
The line-up also includes Karine Polwart, Darrell Scott, Pete Roe, Paddy Callaghan, and local artists Iain Morrison, The Boy who Trapped the Sun and Face the West, as well as Dundee’s Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher; Lau, voted ‘Best Group’ at this year’s Radio Two Folk Awards; Orcadian eight-piece The Chair; The Hot Seats, from Virginia; Manchester outfit The Travelling Band; Welsh band Rusty Shackle; Fatherson and The Dirty Beggars, from Glasgow and Rose Parade, a four-piece from Ayr.
ABOUT HEBCELT: The 18th HebCelt takes place between 17-20 July, 2013 and will have two main stages on the Castle Green in front of the Lews Castle in Stornoway, as well as performances in An Lanntair and throughout the rural community.
This year the festival has been selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines. It emerged victorious as Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards 2011, in a three-way final with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.
Visitors from Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the US made the journey to Lewis last year, as well as many from across the UK.
The overseas contingent helped swell the ranks of a 120-strong volunteer army that contributed over 3,500 unpaid man hours over the course of the four days.
HebCelt is supported by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and injects more than £1.5 million annually into the local economy.
It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe and has twice won the Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, which is voted for by the public.
HebCelt has been hailed as one of the UK’s top 50 festivals by the Daily Telegraph and one of the top five by The Scotsman.