Folkies will be able to enjoy drams into small hours at May festival

Shetland Folk Festival has been granted a licence to sell alcohol at its Islesburgh club until 2am each night.

This year’s festival, billed as a “four-day spree of brilliant folk music, sessions and sleep deprivation”, kicks off on Thursday 2nd May and concludes with the final fling on Monday 6th May.

The licensing board unanimously granted the application on Friday after hearing that local policy allowed for occasional licences for special events deemed to be of local, national or international significance.

Appearing on behalf of the festival committee, Paul Rutherford said the club had a “high degree of stewardship” and created a “relaxed, friendly musical atmosphere” at Islesburgh.

Festival-goers are issued with wristbands so bar staff can immediately tell who is over the age of 18, and he said the club had never had a problem with underage drinking.

Among the artists lined up for the 33rd festival are five high-class acts from across the Atlantic. They are multi-talented Canadian performer April Verch, Juno Award winning singer Old Man Luedecke, Cape Breton collective Coìg, North Caroline singer-songwriter Woody Pines and Grammy-nominated Cajun/Creole artist Cedric Watson.

A trio of Irish acts, Niamh Ní Charra, Kieran Goss and The Rambling Boys of Pleasure, will be making an appearance. Hard-working UK roots group Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, bluegrass-y Brits Leon Hunt n-Tet, Afro-Cuban salsa five-piece Son Yambu and Skerryvore (hailing from Tiree) will also join a bill also including a host of local acts.


Add Your Comment
  • Wayne Conroy

    • March 18th, 2013 1:18

    Sigh… It seems yet again that not only will the folk festival stay open late but it now seems they will have a later drinks licence than anywhere else in Shetland this year.

    Having lived on St Olaf St I am more than aware of the noise that can be made during the folk festival and I am not just speaking about the very loud music – I am also speaking about the large number of drunken revellers in the early hours. Is any consideration given to the neighbours of Islesburgh in particular the old folks on Burgh Road directly behind Islesburgh? Billed as a “four-day spree of brilliant folk music, sessions and sleep deprivation”… I take it the sleep deprivation is the neighbours problem!

    Besides that are events like this not what Mareel was created for? Seems silly to have spent all that money on a multi-million pound venue only to hold such a music event in a community centre!

  • Lee Macleod

    • March 19th, 2013 11:54

    I live on Union Street and have never had an issue with noise from the Festival Club or “drunken revellers” outside. Granted I am often in attendance, but not always. I wonder if Wayne makes the same complaints when it comes to Up Helly Aa? As I hear much more when that is taking place than I do at the Folk Festival.

  • W Conroy

    • March 19th, 2013 23:31

    Seeing as you ask Lee no. I don’t make the same complaint when it comes to Up Helly Aa.

    Maybe I’m just being a “Victor Meldrew” (or should that be an Ian Tinkler)… I guess four nights in a row of no sleep is just three nights too many for me!

    Still wondering why Mareel is not used for such an event. As I said before – Why build a multi million pound music/arts venue then hold Shetlands largest music event in a community centre? Was Mareel not purposefully build for the likes of this? Surely it’s auditorium would have better acoustics? There’s a recording studio right there… practise rooms… all that and of course adequate sound proofing for an event such as this to go on through the early hours with the minimum of disturbance to others… I just don’t get it!

  • george williamson

    • March 20th, 2013 8:15

    One very obvious difference between uphellyaa and the folk festival is the amount of people who have to work the friday after the thursday night folk festival. Most people have the day off after uphellyaa.

  • David Spence

    • March 20th, 2013 9:41

    Mareel *is* being used for the Folk Festival – in exactly the way it was built to be used.

    It was never meant to replace a venue like Islesburgh, or Clickamin, or any of the other facilities in the isles, but to compliment them with a facility that until now has been sorely lacking.

    Regarding the licensing, as anyone with any experience knows, later licenses encourage responsible drinking and likewise reduce disruptive behaviour. Well done licensing board for showing some common sense.


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