Excitement builds for 34th folk festival

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Full Set warm-up for the opening concert in the sunshine which greeted visitors. Back, from left: Martino Vacca, Janine Redmond, Marianne Knight and Andy Meeney. Front: Eamonn Moloney and Michael Harrison. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Full Set warm-up for the opening concert in the sunshine which greeted visitors. Back, from left: Martino Vacca, Janine Redmond, Marianne Knight and Andy Meeney. Front: Eamonn Moloney and Michael Harrison. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The excitement was building this afternoon as folk flocked to Isleburgh Community Centre in anticipation of the 34th Shetland Folk Festival.

Singer songwriter Arthur Nicholson was keen to get his little one started from an early age – kitting his bairn out in a tiny folk festival t-shirt for the opening concert.

Visiting Irish six-piece FullSet were one of the groups to perform at the opening concert.

Bodhran player Eamonn Moloney, said: “This is our first time in Shetland. We’ve heard of the festival many times before, lots of our musical friends have been here and been raving about it.”

Following the Islesburgh opener the band will prepare to play in Scalloway tonight, and tomorrow take to the stage in the Lerwick British Legion.

The festival is known among many of the visiting acts for forming musical friendships, through sessions and the opportunity for playing plenty of tunes with musicians from lots of different backgrounds.

“It even started last night night on the ferry coming over. We got a chance to meet musicians from different bands, we’re really looking forward to that,” said Maloney.

Festival committee member Mhari Pottinger said: “We’re excited for a really busy weekend” and added there was lots going off, including various workshops too.

The festival she said would be dedicated, on an informal basis to Davie Henderson, who died earlier this year.

A photograph of the much-loved committee member, who had become synonymous with the folk festival, features in this year’s programme, along with a tribute to him.

“We are going to be raising plenty of glasses for Davie over the weekend,” said Ms Pottinger.

Room 16 was quickly filling up for the opening concert – offering the first chance to see the visiting acts for this year’s festival, which were booked by Mr Henderson.

As queues started to form for folk festival wristbands, and flurries of musicians made their way through the revolving door, the club came alive for another year of musical festivities.

Visit the website this weekend for concert reviews, with full coverage in next week’s paper.

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