Strong Shetland flavour for Orkney Folk Festival

Shetland band Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag are to appear at this year’s Orkney Folk Festival, going head to head with local eight-piece The Chair in a rematch of last year’s Shetland Folk Festival “inter-tunety” (musical inter-county) event.

Also appearing at the event, in the last weekend in May, are Shetland country dance band Da Fustra, with Edinburgh’s Iain MacPhail as a guest member.

Other artistes booked for the Orkney festival include Scottish six-piece Dàimh, young Danish trio Habbadam, Cornish shanty singers Stamp and Go and All-Ireland bodhran champion Adam Brown.

The inter-tunety rematch will take place on Saturday 28th May, with Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag looking to turn the tables on The Chair who received the greater audience cheer last time round, the winner taking fictional control of Fair Isle.

Festival director Bob Gibbon said: “The Chair and Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag will once again come head to head, however this time on Orcadian turf, with the Shetlanders no doubt battling fiercely to regain ‘Chair Isle’. Our leg of the competition will be of a similar format to the original, hosted in Shetland last year, so expect plenty excitement and tension, in what we hope will be a fair, clean, fight.”

Shetland Folk Festival committee member Mhari Pottinger, who was one of the driving forces behind the original inter-tunety, said: “I’m really pleased to see that the Orkney Folk Festival have taken the inter-tunety on board in this year’s programme, and will most definitely be there for the rematch.

“The atmosphere in the Clickimin hall last year was simply electric as both bands have huge sounds, but they are different enough to work alongside one another in a programme. The added element of competition really made the night, and I’m sure the same will be said of the second leg in Stromness – bring it on!”

Bob Gibbon added: “We have confirmed a strong Shetland strand to the programme, which always goes down well. We’ve been trying to get Da Fustra back to the festival the last couple of years, but haven’t been able to, and I must admit that when I was initially told that one of the band had a prior engagement this year, I was a bit cautious. However, I was delighted, if a little taken aback, to hear that they had managed to get Iain MacPhail on board, as he really is one of the greats in the Scottish country dance band scene.”


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