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An award-winning Celtic music festival has added another string to its bow by using augmented reality to bring the event closer to its audience.

The technological innovation will allow people across the world to interact with the Hebridean Celtic Festival using just their smart phone or tablet.

Visitors to this year’s HebCelt, from 19-22 July in Stornoway in the isle of Lewis, will be able to use the technology on site. But those unable to attend the festival can also catch online sights and sounds of the popular event, which is being headlined by The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie MacLean and Lucy Spraggan.

It can work with signs, posters, adverts and on buildings – anywhere the festival’s 2017 logo is featured – bringing printed materials to life and allowing music fans to learn more about the event on the spot.

Layar appBy simply downloading a free recognition software app, mobile devices can trigger videos of the festival, artists, programming information and even be used as a virtual box office to buy tickets.

The app, called Layar, can be downloaded free to IOS or Android devices. Once installed the app ‘reads’ the logo and reveals a computer-generated image or video to the user’s screen.


How to use Augmented Reality

HebCelt Augmented Reality

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are offering the new augmented reality experience as an extra feature to add to the enjoyment of visiting the festival this year. But it will also mean people around the world can interact with the festival and capture a flavour of its atmosphere at any time.

“The message will be updated in the run up to HebCelt and during the event, allowing people to instantly access information and interviews, buy tickets and also get a taste of our unique festival wherever they are.”

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeill praised the initiative. He said: “The introduction of Augmented Reality technology is an exciting addition to this year’s festival and will further enhance the HebCelt experience for both local people and visitors.

“It is another example of HebCelt’s innovative and forward-thinking approach to improve the audience’s enjoyment of this popular and important event.”

Rachel Mackenzie, area manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise in the Outer Hebrides, added: “The use of augmented reality will hugely benefit local people and visitors to the festival. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for people around the world to access the exciting line up.

“We are delighted to support the event again this year and it’s great to see digital technology being used as a way to present new opportunities.”

  • Tickets for this year’s HebCelt can be booked here –
  • Tickets are available for the main arena, An Lanntair, late night ceilidhs/clubs and the community events
  • HebCelt has again teamed up with Pitch Village to provide ticket and accommodation packages. See

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The Hebridean Celtic Festival is a not-for-profit charitable event firmly rooted within its community and is almost entirely managed and produced by voluntary effort.

The festival has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music. It is estimated it has generated more than £20 million for the local economy over two decades.

The 2016 HebCelt was the most successful in the event’s 21-year history. An independent visitor survey and economic impact report showed it generated more than £2.2 million for the islands’ economy and helped safeguard 40 tourism-related jobs.

In 2015 HebCelt was selected as one of the top 10 UK summer festivals for the fifth year in succession by influential publication Songlines.

In 2014 HebCelt was voted Best Event or Festival at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

It has also been ranked Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards and won Best Event of the Year honours at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

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