Tickets for the 30th Shetland Folk Festival go on general sale to non-members on Friday, with festival organisers predicting a near sell-out four weeks ahead of the event.
After tickets went on sale to an increased number of advance members – including 300 people from outwith Shetland – three weeks ago, seven of the 22 ticketed concerts sold out, leaving other festival-goers with 15 shows to choose from.
The line-up for the festival – always one of the key dates on the isles’ musical calendar – features a range of visiting artists including Indian fusion four-piece Ahimsa, Brooklyn quartet The Wiyos, top Scottish folk trio Lau and Baskery, a raucous outfit made up of three Swedish sisters.
There are no tickets left for the Fiddlers’ Bid-headlined concert at Clickimin on the Saturday night and the Sunday night foys at both the Shetland Hotel and the Legion have sold out too, while a Thursday evening concert at the latter is also fully subscribed. Rural gigs in Scalloway, Bigton and Whiteness and Weisdale have also sold out, while demand for foy tickets has exceeded availability with only a “very limited” number of seats at Clickimin remaining.
An additional show by children’s theatre performers the Singing Kettle sold out within a matter of hours of going on sale last month. Tickets for the first show had already been snapped up within hours.
There will be a total of 18 visiting bands and 54 local acts for the four-day event. Organisers say this year’s festival club workshops will feature exclusively local musicians, in line with the committee’s objective of promoting Shetland’s folk music traditions and culture. The workshops will include Shetland singing with Inge Thomson – who will be launching her solo album over the weekend – and Lise Sinclair and a Shetland guitar style workshop with Brian Nicholson.
Four concerts featuring local bands have also been programmed, including a dedicated youth event to help support and showcase the emerging talent of some of Shetland’s musically gifted youngsters.
Other local bands performing at the festival include Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag, who will take on Orkney band The Chair at a one-off “Inter-Tunety” gig at Clickimin on Friday 30th April. In a revision to the advertised programme – available this year as an official 48-page full colour pocket-sized booklet – session band Feolta will now appear at the North Roe concert on Friday night, with Scots Trad Music Award 2009 nominees Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson appearing in Brae on Saturday.
Mhari Pottinger, one of the festival organisers, said: “Our event has been operating at full capacity for a number of years now but we have made a concerted effort to increase availability for our 30th anniversary. In addition to expanding our youth programme with the Singing Kettle gigs, we’re particularly pleased with our decision to utilise the Clickimin on the Thursday night.
“This is now the only concert featuring visiting artists that has any tickets left on the Thursday and we are extremely grateful to Event Scotland for giving us the confidence to expand. Most importantly though, it means that remaining punters still have the opportunity of experiencing this particular world-class line-up of five bands, including Ahimsa from India and a local act comprised of two of Shetland’s finest traditional musicians, Bryan Gear and Violet Tulloch.
“Although we anticipate that many folks will be disappointed about not getting their first choice of tickets, particularly for the Saturday Clickimin concert and the foys, there are still 15 fantastic concerts throughout Shetland with ticket availability, although all are selling extremely well. We therefore still advise that people book in advance rather than risk leaving it until the festival weekend itself.”
For more information on the 30th Shetland Folk Festival, including biographies of all local and visiting artists, please visit www.shetlandfolkfestival.com.