ISLAND festival HebCelt is to celebrate its 25th anniversary one year late as it becomes the latest event to cancel over coronavirus.

The Lewis event was first staged in 1995 and this year former Led Zepplin singer Robert Plant and Scottish rockers Texas were amongst the acts set to mark the landmark anniversary.

But the July fest has been pushed back to 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 12-month postponement was announced this lunchtime and presents a £2 million blow to the island economy.

The biggest event of its kind in the Outer Hebrides, it routinely welcomes around 18,000 people, boosting the local tourism and hospitality sectors.

But all but essential travel to the islands is now restricted under pandemic control measures, which will be in place as long as authorities deem necessary.

Many other events have already been pulled, such as Glasgow book festival Aye Write! And the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

It’s not yet known if this year’s HebCelt roster will still be on the bill in 2021, but organisers say they are working to reach new arrangements with the musicians, who include Seasick Steve, Julie Fowlis, Skerryvore and Skipinnish.

In a statement, festival bosses said: “It is with deep regret and sorrow that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and various movement restrictions imposed to the islands, that we have been forced to make the decision to postpone HebCelt’s 25th anniversary until 2021.

“Whilst it is hugely disappointing to make this announcement, we hope all will understand that we can’t take any chances with the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community, and the many visitors the festival attracts.

“By postponing our event, we still hope to bring this year’s outstanding programme forward and are in discussions with artists in order to gauge the possibilities in this regard.

“Everyone who has already bought a ticket for this year’s festival, can be rest assured that their ticket money is safe. We will be contacting all ticket buyers in the next few days to arrange either rollover to 2021 or full refund of their order.

“We have been left with no choice but to make this heart-breaking decision, and we are well aware that it will have a serious effect on our community and everyone who works to stage a fantastic festival each year.

“However, as well as protecting the health of all involved, this decision now also makes it more possible for us to protect the future of HebCelt and ensure it is enjoyed for years to come.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment that this announcement will cause and we thank everyone for their understanding, love and support of the festival.

“We plan for our return next year, 14 – 17 July 2021. In the meantime, we wish everyone and their loved ones the very best.”