Bagrock phenomenon the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, acclaimed singer songwriter King Creosote and the re-formed Indie band Astrid have signed up to join the Hebridean Celtic Festival’s 21st birthday party.
It will be the Chilli Pipers’ third visit to HebCelt in eight years, while King Creosote, aka Kenny Anderson, will be making his debut at the award-winning festival.
Astrid, who include three original members from Lewis, reunited last year after an 11-year hiatus and will tour and release a new album this year.
Also confirmed for the HebCelt 2016 line-up are Rura, Blue Rose Code, Bella and The Bear, Hazey Janes, Rusty Shackle, Sink Ships, Urban Teuchtars, Whisky Kiss, Hunter & The Bear, Woodenbox and Something Someone.
The festival previously announced its ‘coming of age’ event will also feature Scottish rock legends Runrig, international singing star Julie Fowlis, American ‘rockgrass’ band Hayseed Dixie and multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer John McCusker, as well as Orkney four-piece Fara and folk trio Talisk, who were both nominated in the Up and Coming Artist of the Year category in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “The programme for 2016 is really coming together now and we are excited about the quality and diversity of the line-up. We have a great mix of well-established favourites and are bringing a great array of new acts, very much in keeping with our aim of supporting emerging talent and introducing our audience to new music.
“The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a great festival act and real crowd pleasers and King Creosote is one of Scotland’ s best known and loved singer songwriters.
“Astrid continue to have a great following both in Lewis and further afield and it’s great to see them back playing, especially on home turf.
“Other acts we are announcing today bring their own unique qualities and styles which will add up to a fantastic 21st anniversary HebCelt.”
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who perform across the globe, say the island event is one of the best festivals in the world.
The band’s growth since forming in 2002 and winning the BBC talent show When Will I Be Famous five years later has been spectacular, attracting a following that spreads across Europe, the US and into countries such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and India.
Kevin MacDonald, from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, said: “HebCelt is one of Scotland’s best music festivals with a great atmosphere and a fantastic range of music.
“We are excited to be going back for our third visit and can’t wait to join in the 21st birthday celebrations.”
Astrid, who were formed in the mid 1990s by Willie Campbell, Charles Clark and Gareth Russell, from Lewis, and Gareth Thom, made three albums and toured Europe and America before splitting in 2004.
They reformed last year and have written new songs to take on tour this year, including at HebCelt. A new single and album are planned to be released in the summer.
“Where better for Astrid to do their first home gig?” said Willie Campbell.
“We're grateful to HebCelt for giving us this opportunity to perform.
“As always I'm delighted to be involved. This new Astrid album is our favourite and it has festival friendly songs. We had a great time recording it and can't wait to share it live with everyone”.
King Creosote has released more than 40 albums to date, his 2011 collaboration with Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine, being nominated for the Mercury Prize and Scottish Album of the Year Award.
In 2014, Anderson completed his first-ever film soundtrack, for Virginia Heath's documentary From Scotland With Love. The project, which weaves Scottish archive film footage with King Creosote compositions, culminated with a live performance as part of Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games cultural programme.
HebCelt will be held from 13-16 July in Stornoway in the island of Lewis. The other acts so far confirmed include Rura, who are one of the most sought-after acts on the festival circuit across Europe and were voted Best Up and Coming Act at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2011 and nominated for both Folk Band of the Year (Scots Trad Music Awards 2012) and the Horizon Award (Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013).
Blue Rose Code - aka Edinburgh-born Ross Wilson - releases a new album, And Lo! The Bird is on the Wing, in March. His previous release, The Ballads of Peckham Rye, was nominated for the prestigious Scottish Album of The Year Awards in 2014.
Bella and the Bear, formed by Stuart Ramage and Lauren Gilmour in 2014, won a slot at HebCelt last year as one of eight finalists in the CalMac Culture Music contest run by CalMac Ferries Ltd.
Whisky Kiss are a four-piece mixing traditional tunes with contemporary beats, featuring Siobhan Anderson, from Killin, on fiddle and Ewan Duncan, from Newtonmore, on pipes/whistles. Their debut single 'Jocks Revenge', became the only iTunes no1 by an unsigned Scots' trad band and their latest release includes two tracks used by VisitScotland for a promotional video seen by over one million viewers.
Woodenbox are regarded as one of the most exciting live bands in Scotland currently and they will be joined at HebCelt by Dundee Indie band The Hazey Janes; folk roots six-piece Rusty Shackle, from South Wales: Sink Ships, a four-piece from Ardnamurchan and Dingwall who formed just last year; and ceilidh band Urban Teuchtars, fronted by Gaelic singers Kathleen MacInnes and Sineag MacIntyre, from South Uist. Also added are melody driven rock act Hunter & the Bear and the first artists to be announced for the acoustic stage; indie-folk trio Something Someone.
Main arena line-up so far is:
Thursday (14 July) - Hayseed Dixie, Urban Teuchtars, Hazey Janes
Friday (15 July) - Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Julie Fowlis, Astrid, King Creosote, Blue Rose Code, Whisky Kiss, Fara, Woodenbox, Bella and the Bear
Saturday (16 July) – Runrig, Rura, John McCusker, Rusty Shackle, Talisk, Hunter & the Bear, Sink Ships and Something Someone.
HebCelt has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music, generating more than £20 million for the local economy over two decades.
Last year, it marked its 20th anniversary by hosting its biggest number of live performances ever with more than 50 hours of music and arts events staged in the main arena in the grounds of Lews Castle, as well as an Lanntair arts centre in the town centre and other venues in rural areas.