Shetland Folk Festival was named Event of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday night.
The award, which was decided by public vote, was presented at a prestigious ceremony in Perth Concert Hall attended by minister for culture MSP Fiona Hyslop.
Altogether a record 192,000 votes were cast for the eighth annual awards, which celebrate musicians, community groups and events across all forms of Scottish traditional music.
The ceremony also included inductions into Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame to which the late Tom Anderson, champion of Shetland fiddle music, was admitted.
This is the second time the Folk Festival has been nominated for the Event of the Year award, which is sponsored by VisitScotland. Three representatives of the Folk Festival – publicity officer Mhari Pottinger, artist programmer Davie Henderson and chairman Christine Fordyce were in Perth on Saturday to hear of their success. Ms Pottinger said: “We’re over the moon, it’s such a surprise, such an honour, we weren’t expecting it at all. It’s such an accolade for all the volunteers and all the local musicians.”
The whole event, she said, had been “amazing”, with lots of well-known Shetland musicians, including Catriona Macdonald, being there and the band Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag being asked to close proceedings: “a fantastic accolade for them”. Also playing were the Phil Cunningham Band and Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair.
Among the other winners in the 16 categories were Julie Fowlis and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who replicated their success of 2007 by collecting the award for Best Album of the Year and Best Live Act of the Year respectively.
Club of the Year was Highland Club (Inverness), Composer of the Year was Iain Morrison, Orkney Traditional Music Project was Community Project of the Year and Gaelic Singer of the Year was Eilidh MacKenzie.
Instrumentalist of the Year was Martin O’Neill, Citty Finlayson was Scots Singer of the Year, Scottish Dance Band of the Year was the Ian Muir Scottish Dance Band and Malinky and Oban High School Pipe Band each won Scottish Folk Band of the Year awards.
Trad Music in the Media was won by BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk and Gordon Connell Music Tutor of the Year. Up and Coming Artist of the Year was Matheu Watson and Venue of the Year was Skipinnish Ceilidh House, Oban.
In addition awards to “musicians who have been in the industry over 30 years who have altered our musical landscape for the better including musicians who are now no longer with us” were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Besides Dr Anderson these comprised Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor, Alison Kinaird, Gordon Duncan, Pam Wilkie, Ray Fisher and Donald MacRae.
Bill Wilkie was the much-deserved recipient of the Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award and Services to Gaelic Music went to Bliadhna nan Òran.
Ms Hyslop said: “The Hands Up for Trad music awards is a key event in Scotland’s cultural calendar, which showcases Scottish talent and celebrates the success of our performers in the traditional arts. I’d like to congratulate all those picking up awards this year and the nominees. The diversity and flair of the talent on display from across the traditional music sector is truly remarkable.
“The traditional arts are a fundamental element of Scotland’s cultural heritage and of our national identity. I have tasked Creative Scotland to work with the sector and partner organisations to take forward many of the recommendations and I’m delighted that £250,000 will be invested in the traditional arts sector to help do just that.”
• BBC ALBA will be broadcasting an hour and a half long Na Trad highlights special from the award ceremony tonight at 9pm and repeated tomorrow at 10pm.