20th April 2018
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‘It’s been a blast’ and Shetland Folk Festival has not even started yet

Fresh off the boat the Lonely Heartstring Band arrive for Shetland Folk Festival (from left): Patrick M’Gonigle, Matt Witler, George Clements, Gabe Hirshfeld and Charles Clements. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mysterious music cases and bleary-eyed musicians rolled off the ferry ready for the start of this year’s Shetland Folk Festival.

The 14-hour ferry journey saw a few members of the visiting acts holding coffee cups on their arrival, though excitement was already building for the mammoth musical weekend ahead.

Boston-based acoustic quintet The Lonely Heartstring Band spoke to The Shetland Times before grabbing a bit of breakfast ahead of the opening concert.

“It’s been a blast so far, we just stayed up late last night, played music until midnight or so and we’ve been enjoying your local Scotch,” said guitarist and vocalist George Clements.

“It’s our first time as a band away from North America,” added fiddle player Patrick M’Gonigle.
Boston has a strong traditional music scene, they said and the band had heard about the folk festival from musical pals who have played it previously.

“Shetland’s reputation precedes it in terms of the quality of fiddle playing and the music and culture,” M’Gonigle said.

“I came to Shetland 11 years ago with my mum and I came to a session. I didn’t take my fiddle, but I listened and I was blown away.”
With a few days in the isles the band were keen to explore, and had even spotted some orcas from the ferry.

As well as the opening concert they are planning to do some outreach work, which Clements said was an important feature of the festival too.

“That’s one the best parts, coming and getting a sense of the local community, and especially doing the concerts that are less of a show and purely about bringing music to people who don’t get to hear it as often.”

For more coverage of this year’s Shetland Folk Festival, including reviews and interviews with the bands and podcasts keep visiting the weekend throughout the year.

 

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About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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