Published: 18/02/2016 00:43 - Updated: 18/02/2016 10:18

HebCelt Stage awaits competition winners

Finalists in last year's CalMac Culture Music competition, Bella and The Bear will feature in this year's HebCelt Festival.
Finalists in last year's CalMac Culture Music competition, Bella and The Bear will feature in this year's HebCelt Festival.

A sought-after stage slot at one of this summer’s most prestigious music festivals is being prepared for the winners of a national competition.

 The CalMac Culture Music 2016 has now opened for entries from amateur singer-songwriters and bands across the country. 

Finalists will perform at the iconic King Tut’s in Glasgow on  March 31, with acts selected to play at one of nine leading music events, including the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival.

The 21st HebCelt, which runs from 13-16 July in Stornoway in the island of Lewis, will be headlined by Runrig, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Hayseed Dixie. Other acts already confirmed include Julie Fowlis, Astrid, King Creosote, John McCusker, Hunter & the Bear and Rura.

This year’s main arena line-up also includes Bella and the Bear, 12 months after securing a slot on the Islands Stage as finalists in CalMac Culture Music 2015.

Caroline Maclennan, HebCelt’s director and a judge at the contest, said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing the entries this year. The standard has been extremely high in the past and it is exciting to see so many talented singers and bands from all over Scotland.

“Bella and the Bear’s distinctive sound appealed to us immediately and they were such a great addition to our line-up last year we’ve invited them back for our 21st party.”

The CalMac Culture Music competition, run by CalMac Ferries Ltd, was introduced two years ago. Using the link - entrants can submit a video of a performance of an original piece of music to YouTube and then encourage fans to view and like the video. The closing date for entries this year is 17 March and winners will be announced on March 23.

Last year eight finalists each performed two live acoustic tracks to judges and a 200-strong audience at King Tut’s.

HebCelt’s 2016 line-up also includes Blue Rose Code, Hazey Janes, Rusty Shackle, Sink Ships, Urban Teuchtars, Whisky Kiss, Woodenbox, Something Someone, Talisk and Fara.

HebCelt has grown from a small event attracting less than 1000 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.

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