A music festival in the Outer Isles has generated £20 million over the last two decades.

The award-winning Hebridean Cetic Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary when it opens next week in Stornoway. It attracted about 1,000 mainly local followers in its first year. However it now draws crowds of 15,000 annually to Lewis, with half the total coming from outside the islands.

Over the years fans from over 100 countries have made the pilgrimage to the four-day festival, which this year is being held from July 15-18. They double the population of the host town and provide the biggest money spinner for local businesses outside the festive season.

HebCelt organisers calculate the overall economic impact of the festival over the 20 years is up to £20 million at current prices, with bars, restaurants, cafes, accommodation providers and transport firms among those benefiting.

Since the first festival, 202,000 fans have attended concerts, with ten per cent arriving from abroad, 40 per cent from other parts of the UK and the other 50 per cent made up of local followers.

The 20th festival will feature acts including Idlewild, Afro Celt Sound System, Treacherous Orchestra, the Karen Matheson Band, Shooglenifty, Chastity Brown, Le Vent du Nord, Raghu Dixit and Salsa Celtica.

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: "As we look back over the 20 years, the growth of the festival has been phenomenal. It is now the biggest single annual event in the Outer Hebrides and is a vital economic generator with businesses saying the money they earn during festival week helps them until Christmas.

"We enjoy fantastic support from the local community and also from fans across the UK, Europe and beyond. We have regulars from the US and Australia and this year alone people have booked from Canada, all around Europe, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.""

Due to the large influx of people for HebCelt, accommodation in and around Stornoway will be at a premium and an appeal has gone out from the local VisitScotland office to people with available beds to contact them.