HebCelt to utilise augmented reality at this year’s festival

Photo credit: Colin Cameron

UK: The Hebridean Celtic Festival will utilise augmented reality to bring the event closer to its audience this year. The technology will allow people across the world to interact with the HebCelt using their smart phone or tablet.

Visitors to this year’s HebCelt, which takes place from July 19 – 22 in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, will be able to use the technology on-site. Those unable to attend the festival can also head online to experience aspects of the event, which is being headlined by The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie MacLean and Lucy Spraggan.

By 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. 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.

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.

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.”