Published: 21/03/2013 06:00 - Updated: 20/03/2013 10:03

HebCelt's search for star act


A stage slot at the HebCelt Festival is going for a song – or rather three songs – with unknown artists being urged to step into the limelight.

The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festiva - from July 17 to 20 in Stornoway - 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 recently selected as one of the Top 10 UK summer festivals by world/roots music magazine 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 or Saturday, July 19 and 20 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 April 12 to and marked HebCelt New Talent Submissions.

The judging process will take place throughout next month with the winning artist/s being chosen by May 4.

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