The internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival has started the New Year by collecting another award – its fourth in three months.

It picked up a 'Highly Commended' accolade at A Greener Festival Awards last night (Thursday, 18 January), in recognition of its drive to minimise the event’s environmental impact.

HebCelt was the only Scottish festival to be 'Highly Commended' which signifies ‘a well-managed, environmentally-aware festival, which has taken significant steps to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and to engage with the audience’.

The winners were announced during the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival and conference in The Netherlands when 34 festivals in 12 countries were honoured.

An awards spokesperson said: “With the continued development of the Greener Festival assessment criteria, festivals have been challenged more than ever to be awarded, and this really is a great example of the work HebCelt does”.

It is another major honour for the festival which in November was named Best Cultural Event or Festival in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA), a title it also won in 2014.   In October, it collected both the Festival of the Year award and the Grand Prix prize for ‘best of the best’ at the Scottish Event Awards.

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “This is another amazing award in what has been a truly outstanding few months for our festival.  Reducing HebCelt’s impact on our unique environment is a sharp focus for the team given our location and with so much of our infrastructure having to travel to the island.  However our green team and all the volunteers and contractors who work behind the scenes are to be commended on supporting us in our achievements.

“We regularly receive fantastic feedback from audiences on our commitment to greening activities and this award is a pat on the back for the dedication of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help us achieve such outstanding recognition. All should feel justifiably proud of their remarkable contribution.”

A Greener Festival is a not-for-profit company committed to helping events, festivals and venues around the world adopt environmentally efficient practices.  Award applicants undergo a rigorous assessment, site visit and post-event analysis of their events’ sustainability actions. Events are assessed on 11 main areas including transport, waste, power, water and local area impacts.  As part of the awards process, the organisation sends an auditor to assess measures taken by festivals to make them as green as possible. It also speaks with traders, audience, and sub-contractors, as well as viewing every aspect of the event.

HebCelt’s innovations have included the introduction of Ecocups, a rigid plastic branded cup designed to be re-used annually by the festival, helping to cut back on plastic waste, and it was the first Scottish festival to partner with E-Car Club to provide a fleet of electric vehicles discounted for music fans. HebCelt’s other recent awards have recognised the economic, cultural and musical impact of the festival. HebCelt has generated in excess of £20 million for the islands over more than two decades. It attracts a wide overseas audience, including from across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The 2018 HebCelt, which will run from 18-21 July. will be headlined by Deacon Blue. Other acts announced so far include Scottish bands Skipinnish, Blazin’ Fiddles, Tide Lines, The Tumbling Souls, Kinnaris Quintet and Trail West; as well as Vishtèn and the Yves Lambert Trio, from Canada; and Habadekuk, from Denmark.  Weekend arena tickets priced £93, £83 concession and £30 (6-14 years) are available from www.hebceltfest.com.