14 Jul 2021


The HebCelt’s ‘Survival Sessions’ event starts today (Wednesday 14th July), kicking off four days of live music shows, live streaming, digital content and commissioned works. The internationally renowned festival is staging a hybrid event which sees a return to limited live performances combined with a new approach to producing online music.

The live shows will take place at the Stornoway arts centre, An Lanntair, before socially-distanced attendees who won a ballot for tickets. Together with pre-recorded film content and special commissions, a total of thirty two hours of music will be broadcast to a global audience. There will also be Gaelic workshops and a sold-out whisky tasting event.

The Between Islands project, devised by Alex Macdonald at An Lanntair, brings together musicians from Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides in collaboration, and opens the Survival Sessions.

To date there have been three separate performances at HebCelt, focusing on new song writing, fiddle music and traditional song respectively. With lockdown calling a halt to plans for any further live work last year, the musicians continued to collaborate both across islands and projects to create some new material. A CD of this work was released last December, but this very special gathering will see all these musicians now share a stage, with some performing together for the very first time.

The Between Islands line-up includes Willie Campbell, Kris Drever, Arthur Nicolson, Jane Hepburn Macmillan, Maggie Adamson, Neil Johnstone, Kathleen Macinnes, Jenny Keldie, Josie Duncan, and Saltfishforty.

Caroline Maclennan, HebCelt Festival Director, said: “Albeit in a limited form, we are excited to be back and to begin our bounce-back from the pandemic. It has been a difficult time for so many people and we hope this ‘Survival Sessions’ event will help us to build up to a full show in 2022.

“We know that HebCelt is very important to the local economy, the community of musicians and artistes that we support, our local culture, and not least to our very loyal audience who travel from all over the world to see our festival. This hybrid event is a sign of hope that we can survive into the coming years. Our funders and supporters have been absolutely critical in the past in helping us to grow, now they are helping us to weather the pandemic. We are extremely grateful for the backing that we receive from all quarters, and we believe the Survival Sessions will be a timely reminder of the music and performers that we love to hear.”

Survival Sessions can be watched on the MyPlayer platform. Details and tickets can be found here.

Survival Sessions performers can be heard talking about their shows in a series of HebCelt podcasts.

HebCelt is supported by Creative Scotland, EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and other public and private sector supporters

Posted in News on Jul 14, 2021