Young Islanders Get Involved at HebCelt 2023

Hebcelt artwork board and two young people posing beside it
Hebcelt artwork board and two young people posing beside it

A year on from when we had the YIN T-shirt signed at the 2022 festival, young islanders had the opportunity to get in on the action behind the scenes at this year’s event.

Skerryvore Hebcelt 2023 main stage performance crowds cheering and lights on
Skerryvore at HebCelt 2023

Content Creators

Following on from last year’s festival, we were invited by festival organisers to offer some young islanders the opportunity to learn new skills, build their confidence and get involved as Content Creators. The Content Creators were supported and guided by the event’s official PR team at Innes and Campbell Communications. Hannah and Corrie shared a detailed brief and tips with the Content Creators before the event and were on site all weekend to work with our YIN team.

Our Content Creators were Sophie (21), Vee (17) and Katelyn (19). This terrific trio worked tirelessly to capture the festival and the fringe activities happening around the town and arena over the weekend. They were also tasked with creating short clips of young people telling us in one word how they would describe the festival and also gathered clips of young people saying, “I’m an islander.”   



A collage of images of young people at the HebCelt festival. At the top two young people smile and give the thumbs up beside a sign that says 'HebCelt.' Below, a block of three show portraits of young people outside.
Sophie, Vee and Katelyn

From the moment the doors opened until the final song from The Proclaimers, the team gathered great content of the whole event! Sophie was even brought up to take pictures from the stage of Heron Valley as they performed!

We asked the Content Creators, “What would you say to young people who might want to do this next year?” and they said:

“Trust your instincts “

“Definitely do it! It’s a good opportunity and something fun “

“It’s good on your CV”

Vee, Sophie and Katelyn 2023
Two people, with glasses on head. smiling for camera infront of blue and yellow tent. people in background
Naomi & Cara

Competition Winner

Cara from Islay

We ran a competition for one young person to win a t-shirt signed by the 2022 HebCelt acts (which included Texas, Skipinnish and Seasick Steve), and 2 weekend tickets kindly gifted by the directors of the HebCelt. Entrants told us what their favourite memory was or if they haven’t been before, what it would mean to them to go. The winner, Cara from Islay, was selected by the Director Graham Macallum. Cara wrote:

“I love music and have always wanted to attend a music festival, i have never had the opportunity to attend one. Especially living on an island it can be expensive this would help the costs! I want to make memories that last a life time with new people. It would mean a lot and uplift my mental health to attend something positive”

Cara travelled to Lewis with Kerry who is both her sister and the Youth Coordinator for the Islay Youth Initiative. We hope to hear a firsthand account of the experience from Cara soon!



Two young people and a Young Islanders Network employee smile and pose inside a large wooden frame that reads '#HebCelt'
Hamza, Naomi & Kian at HebCelt Site office 2023

Volunteers and Paid Opportunities

Kian is a young islander from Lewis who studied Mechanical Engineering at Lews Castle College before leaving the island when he was 16 to do his Electrician Apprenticeship. Now at 19, Kian works for IDM Safety Solutions, whose director Iain is also from Lewis, and is one of the HebCelt Directors. This is Kian’s second year working at the HebCelt where he is part of the festival site team, working as site crew from the set up all the way through to the dismantling. He is also a personal assistant to the site managers and uses his skills as an apprentice electrician too.

When asked what the challenges and highlights of coming to volunteer are, he said:

“Ferries, getting home after the festival. The ferries are so busy and it needs to be well planned. A highlight is definitely working with the site office and this year I got a signed Peat & Diesel boiler suit! I am definitely coming back next year!”

For anyone thinking of volunteering at HebCelt, Kian added, “The atmosphere and experiences you gain will be great for you!”

Hamza, 20, is from Lewis via Syria. Hamza moved to the UK 7 years ago, travelling first to Lebanon for 4 years after leaving Syria in 2012. Hamza was 13 when he came to Lewis and his first impressions were that “Everything was perfect, loved the island. Lebanon was very busy. I enjoyed the peace and quiet on the island and loved the people.”

He joined the secondary school The Nicolson Institute at the end of S2, and stayed in school to S6 before leaving the island for 2 years to study Business Management in Dundee. When he found he didn’t enjoy this as much as he thought he would, Hamza changed course last year to do admin/IT studies and has applied to the UHI in Lewis to study computing. We have invited Hamza to gain some digital experience through YIN and the website!

In 2018, Hamza joined the HebCelt site crew and told us how he believes it is very important to be involved and to take up volunteering opportunities in the community.

“It is fun, it’s an experience and money is not everything, just getting experience is great too!”

When asked to give us one challenge and one highlight of working as a HebCelt volunteer, Hamza said:

“English was a challenge, but Iain (site manager) has helped a lot, teaching me technical words for things and taking the time to help. I enjoy working at HebCelt more than going, it is hard work but a lot of laughs and learning from others!”

What’s Next?

If you would like to be involved next year, let us know! Also keep your eyes peeled for any opportunities near you and keep us in the loop. If you are a festival organiser and would like to involve your local young islanders, please get in touch.