32nd Shetland Folk Festival underway

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The 32nd Shetland Folk Festival kicked off in style at lunchtime with its trademark opening concert in Room 16 at Islesburgh.

Musicians from Africa, Scandinavia, North America, continental Europe and various parts of the UK have washed up on these shores for this year’s festival, which lasts until Monday. No less than seven concerts were due to take place yesterday evening, four in Lerwick including Clickimin headliners Admiral Fallow, one in Sandwick and one in Bigton.

Over 90 per cent of tickets have been sold, including all five ticketed concerts for Sunday, though there are still some left for the Friday and Saturday night gigs at Clickimin and Saturday night’s Mossbank concert.

Among the biggest attractions will be tomorrow night’s big Clickimin show featuring frenetic folk supergroup the Treacherous Orchestra. Since Monday, four members of the band have been tutoring five Shetland students who will play a 40-minute set in the leisure centre this evening.

Elsewhere, Richmond-based old-time bluegrass five-piece The Hot Seats and the equatorial African beats of Kasaï Masaï will ensure a diverse range of musical tastes are catered for.

Returning visitors include much-loved Cape Breton multi-instrumentalist JP Cormier, who already has a sizeable fanbase here and will perform with the veteran Elliott Brothers, and Australian singer Rory Ellis.

Festival committee member Mhari Pottinger said there had been no hiccups, barring singer Allison Brown and her bass player Garry West having to be flown up this morning after their Chicago flight was cancelled due to bad weather. Many of the musicians travelled north by boat on Wednesday night.

“Everybody is here that should be here,” Ms Pottinger said, “and there were really good tunes on the boat last night, which I think bodes well for the festival club. We’re really happy with how sales have gone. We’re absolutely delighted with how it’s going so far – I think we’re in for a storming festival.”

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