The Hebridean Celtic Festival is located in the Outer Hebrides, a chain of islands located off the west coast of Scotland, also known as the Long Island and the Western Isles. While the majority of the festival features Celtic music, the organizers strive to bring a wider variety to satisfy more festival-goers.
For the 2011 incarnation of the festival, the organizers added a second stage alongside the main stage. The second stage is much smaller and more intimate than the main stage. To assist festival-goers in following along with both stages, screens on the main stage show what's happening on the second during changeovers between main stage sets. The festival also features bars around the site, as well as catering and retail options for those wanting to eat and buy souvenirs. Other smaller stages are located around the site and off-site, such as Pointers Cage, Martin's Memorial Hall and Harris Hotel.
Because the festival doesn't use a single venue, a single ticket doesn't cover all events. Arena-area tickets are general admission only because there are no seats around the main and second stages. Youths under the age of 14 can enter the festival for free, but they still must have a ticket to gain entrance to the festival. The festival offers a "main arena weekend" ticket that saves the customer money and allows access to all main and second stage events. Attendees must provide the booking reference number to the festival office to pick up tickets purchased in advance.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival runs from Wednesday to Saturday, with events occurring throughout the day. Events on Wednesday generally begin at 11 a.m., with the last performance beginning at 11 p.m. An example of a Thursday schedule begins with instrumental workshops at 10:30 a.m. that run throughout the day, and ends with the Festival Club at 11 p.m. Each successive day begins at 10 a.m. and ends with the Festival Club at 11 p.m.
Because the Hebridean Celtic Festival occurs on an island, festival attendees must take a ferry to access the event. Direct car and passenger ferries are available. Inter-island ferry services also run between Armdhor, Eriskay, Berneray and Leverburgh. The festival's website and local authorities provide bus, train and flight information for those needing to reach the ferry.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival began in 1996. Since then, the festival has drawn acts from around the world, most of which play Celtic, folk and pop music. Past performers include The Bumblebees, KT Tunstall, The Waterboys, Breabach and The Coal Porters. The festival has been a popular draw in the U.K. for 15 years, and Songlines Magazine named it one of the top 10 summer U.K. festivals.