Thousands of fans are due to descend on the Outer Hebrides for the islands’ main music festival, amid predictions of a record turnout.

The Hebridean Celtic “HebCelt” Festival – centred on Lewis and Harris – is expected to top last year’s 18,000 attendances.

The festival, which starts on Wednesday, has grown from a small event attracting fewer than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music.

It is estimated it has generated more than £25 million for the local economy over its 24-year history.

More than 30 acts will be performing this year, including KT Tunstall, The Tides, The Shires and Newton Faulkner, one of the UK’s most successful singer-songwriters.

READ MORE: HebCelt music festival years ahead of rivals on equality

Ahead of his performance on Friday, Faulkner said he is entering a new chapter in his career following the launch of a compilation album of his greatest hits earlier this year, entitled The Best of Newton Faulkner... So Far.

Faulkner has sold more than 1.5 million records and racked up around 180 million streams.

His 2007 debut studio album, Hand-built by Robots, was certified double platinum in the UK, but Faulkner said his next project My Moozik would be primarily aimed at children.

He is also working on an eighth album.

Faulkner said: “I’m treating (The Best Of) album as a line in the sand. For me, the road from Hand-built by Robots to Hit the Ground Running was all part of the same learning curve.

“The latest batch of new material feels like the beginning of something new.

“I’m really excited to get my teeth into it, but I’m currently finishing off a side project, then I’ll get back to album eight. The side project is a kids’ one, so mainly bums, boogies and morals.

“It’s officially for four-to-11-year-olds, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

“However, I feel things building up in the back of my mind, so it’ll be very interesting when I open the floodgates and get back in the studio.”

READ MORE: 'I survived Glastonbury - just!'

HebCelt organisers are also keen to promote the festival’s green credentials and noted that this year’s Glastonbury Festival introduced a ban on single-use plastic – something the Hebridean music event first tried out last year.

Plastic straws were also outlawed at HebCelt five years ago, at the same time that re-useable drinking cups were brought in.

Caterers will use paper cups, 100 per cent biodegradable plates and cutlery, and festivalgoers’ tickets are made from recycled plastic.

In a statement, HebCelt said: “By the end of the 2018 festival, 2980kg of waste on the site – that’s 80% of all waste generated – was recycled or sent to a digester and, therefore, diverted from landfill.

“That is a pretty good result and in line with our environmentally conscious policies, which helped HebCelt earn a Highly Commended accolade at A Greener Festival Awards in 2018, the only Scottish festival to earn the award.”

READ MORE: Lewis Capaldi helps to bring TRNSMT 2019 to a close

This year will also see a battery-powered television and tablets in the festival’s information tent screening short films about climate change and what people can do about it.

A Tesla electric car, supplied by energy agency Tighean Innse Gall, will also be used to shuttle artists from hotels, the airport and ferry terminal to the festival site.

The Herald is a media partner for the HebCelt festival in 2019.