Past and present music students are being offered the chance to take their skills on stage at a major festival.

Hebridean Celtic Festival has teamed up with Lews Castle College UHI to provide young talent with an opportunity to perform in front of an international audience.

The competition replaces the Next Steps contest introduced by HebCelt last year to find new and emerging new acts.

The college, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, is sponsoring the festival’s acoustic stage for the third year in succession to strengthen its cultural, artistic and educational ties with HebCelt. (Pictured above is Colin Macleod performing in the acoustic tent in 2018)

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We already had a very strong partnership with Lews Castle College, but this has been strengthened further with this new competition. It will give us a chance to unearth some young rising stars and provide them with a platform to showcase their talent to a large and knowledgeable audience.”

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader, BA (Hons) applied music, at Lews Castle College, said: “HebCelt is a highlight of the calendar for musicians and festival goers alike.

“Having the opportunity to perform on a HebCelt stage alongside the top names in Celtic and traditional music will be a fantastic opportunity for the winning entry in this competition.

“Lews Castle College has been delivering quality music courses for the past 18 years and each year we are proud to see so many of our alumni included in the headline acts. Our partnership with HebCelt continues to bring profile to our courses and the unique experience of studying music through Lews Castle College in the Hebrides, whilst celebrating graduate success.”

As well as a coveted stage slot, the winning prize also includes £500 to cover expenses and passes to enjoy the rest of HebCelt.

The competition is open to any performer or band which includes members who are studying or who have studied (graduates) on one of the music programmes delivered by Lews Castle College UHI – HNC Music, BA Applied Music or MA Music and the Environment.  They must play a genre of music that reflects the general programming of the festival.

To enter, acts need to prepare a promotional pack in electronic format to promote their music to the judges and must include at least one high resolution photo and a biography, links to good quality recordings (three tracks) of their music and video of a ‘live’ performance (optional).

Entries should be sent to

The deadline for all submissions is midnight on Friday, 8 March 2019.

The 2019 HebCelt will be held from 17-20 July in Lewis and Harris.

The first acts announced are Tide Lines, Talisk and FARA.