For the 1,300 or so people who made their way to the Glusstonberry festival last weekend, the weather could hardly have been kinder.
Despite patchy fog covering large swathes of the islands, festival-goers enjoyed a warm afternoon and evening on Saturday, and a blue, cloudless sky on Sunday. For hours on end the sun beat down on Northmavine, and no doubt more than a few Shetlanders will be sporting bright red “Glusstonberry tans” this week.
As for the event itself, the consensus is clear. The music and other entertainments, the facilities, the organisation: every part of the festival seems to have attracted praise.
For organiser Maree Hay, of the Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC), the weekend was understandably exhausting, and on Tuesday morning she admitted to still being “a bit shell-shocked”.
There was no doubt, though, that she along with everyone else was “absolutely delighted” with how the event had gone.
“Everybody seemed to have a great time and really enjoy it” she said, “and the sunshine really helped. It just couldn’t have been better”.
Of course, bringing more than five per cent of Shetland’s population into a remote corner of Northmavine, along with tonnes of equipment and supplies, was no simple task. But the community and the many helpers certainly rose to the challenge.
“It’s the first time that NCDC has tried anything like this” said Maree, “with the logistics involved in bringing things into the site, and the logistics involved in bringing people into the site. It was a mammoth undertaking.
“[But] the support that we’ve had fae local people, volunteers and local businesses has just been incredible. I think that’s the thing that stands out for me in the whole festival: it’s just overwhelming how helpful the volunteers and the local businesses were, and the people of Gluss.”
While the money has yet to be properly counted, it’s hoped that the festival will have “gone a good way to filling the funding gap” that was facing NCDC.
And as for the question that’s on many people’s minds – What about next year? – Maree is not even going to think about it just yet.
“We’re still no really had time to gather wir thoughts and sit down and speak about it all” she said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”
All photographs by John Coutts. Click on any image to view the gallery full size.