Last night, Saturday night, I attended a concert by folk-rock band Runrig, which was the star attraction for the Hebridean Celtic Festival this year There appear to have been 5,000 people in the big blue tent (this picture from 2007)
What was not very well organised was the provision of refreshments. Runrig last played in Stornoway in 2005, and at the time, the concert lasted until 1 am. Bearing that in mind, I purchased a token for a beverage in advance, and joined the queue upon arriving at the venue. It took 90 minutes for me to reach the bar. I am kicking myself for the stupidity of waiting, because I missed half the concert as a result. However, it should not take all that time to serve drinks at a concert like this, and it was poorly organised. Runrig played only for two hours, running off an easy run of old ditties, and only three Gaelic songs. The whole experience left me very disappointed and disgruntled.
What has not affected me directly, but is another major gripe, is the lack of accommodation. The whole of the HCF, which ran from Wednesday until last night, has probably attracted 20,000 people. The problem of beds becomes apparent if you bear in mind that the total population of Stornoway is about 9,000, and that of the whole island of Lewis 20,000. A lot of people ended up camping, but, as my blogposts have intimated, the weather has been singularly inclement this week. Camping isn't really enjoyable - and in addition, the terrain around the big tent was quite muddy. One acquaintance of mine was injured in a fall, resulting from the bogginess.
I'm beginning to reach the conclusion that it is fantastic to have an event like HCF here in Lewis, but the number of people it attracts is too big for this island and this town to cope with.