The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will return to the Isle of Lewis for its third year from Friday 5 February to Thursday 18 February, with the first programme announcement due on Thursday 15 October.
Ahead of the announcement, the festival has launched a fresh search for striking night-time photography to showcase as part of its 2021 programme.
The winners of the Dark Skies 2021 Photography Competition will be invited to exhibit their work throughout the festival in February, as well as receiving a festival pass with free access to events throughout the programme. The competition is open to photographers from anywhere, although the images must have been taken in the Hebrides.
The two-week arts and astronomy festival is set to be a key event in An Lanntair’s winter programme, as one of Scotland’s most prominent island arts venues cautiously continues to welcome back local audiences and winter visitors. The 2021 festival is supported by new funding from Caledonian MacBrayne as well as Outer Hebrides LEADER, and is presented in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Calanais Visitor Centre, Gallan Head Community Trust, and Lews Castle College.
Festival programmer Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “We are thrilled that the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is to return for its third year, and we are very grateful to Caledonian MacBrayne for helping to make this exciting new programme possible, as well to Outer Hebrides LEADER for their continued support. This is a hugely challenging time to be planning festivals but we are very excited by what we have put together, which will be adaptable to different lockdown scenarios to ensure the safety of our audiences and guests. We’re looking forward to sharing all of it soon – in the meantime please put Friday 5 February to Thursday 18 February in your diaries. And please send us your dark skies photography and be a part of this exciting event.”
Highlights of the first two Hebridean Dark Skies Festivals have included singer-songwriters Karine Polwart and Emma Pollock, Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott, comedian Robin Ince, children’s storyteller Andy Cannon, astronomers John Brown, Nigel Henbest and Amaury Triaud, Lewis’s first ever ‘live moon bounce’ with artist Daniela de Paulis, a Hebridean revival of acclaimed multi-media project Whatever Gets You Through The Night, arts and astronomy project Creativity and Curiosity, and food event g-Astronomy with award-winning science communicator Roberto Trotta.