FANS of a Wester Ross music festival rising from the ashes weeks after calling it a day have voiced delight it will return next year after an outpouring of affection for the event forced a change of heart by the “humbled” organiser.
Loopallu has been a fixture on the Highlands' music festival scene since first being staged in Ullapool 13 years ago.
But concerns over accommodating the increasing number of revellers and tourists who were descending on the village each year for the late September weekender prompted leading light Robert Hicks to announce that this year’s event at the pier would be the last.
But now, following a public outcry over the decision, organiser Robert Hicks has announced a change of heart.
He said: “During this year’s event festival-goers told me that regardless of whether Loopallu continued or not, their accommodation for 2018 was booked so they would be making their annual journey to Ullapool.
“The levels of affection for Loopallu were highlighted this year as everyone shared stories of the number of years they have attended, the friends, future husbands and wives and festival family they have met.
"We are genuinely humbled, and indeed overwhelmed by what our event means to people. So as long as people keep coming, we will try and keep putting it on.”
Beginning in 2005, over the years Loopallu has seen big names visit - Mumford & Sons, Franz Ferdinand, Paolo Nutini, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Levellers have all played the festival.
It has also been credited with pumping millions down the years into the local economy.
Revellers took to social media to voice delight that it would continue next year. Ian Munro said: “Tickets bought so bring on 14 in a row!”
Louise McNair said: “Fantastic news see you in September!”
Local guest house owner Louise McRobb said on the festival’s Facebook page: “Our long-standing guests did book again for next year anyway, and are over the moon Loopallu is going ahead. Thanks Robert and team.”
And news of its return has received national backing – the announcement was welcomed by Radio 2 and 6music presenter Mark Radcliffe, who said: “Loopallu is dead – long live Loopallu. In a mad world getting ever more crazed, occasionally common sense does prevail. Count me in. Forever.”
Local councillor Kate Stephen said: "Good to hear Loopallu is to continue. In the past it has made a positive contribution to the culture and economy of the area and a lot of folk will be delighted at the prospect of future festivals.”
Tickets for Loopallu 2018 are now on sale at www.loopallu.co.uk