The reality of Mareel (Stuart Hannay)

Travelling down from the North Isles for any live show at Mareel, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll miss the encore or the last 10 minutes if you want to get home the same night.

So, when making the decision to spend £18 each to see Richard Hawley, we checked the start time of the show and the end time.

On being told that it would start at 8.30pm and finish at 10pm, we went ahead and booked, knowing we’d likely miss a bit of it. Being somewhat cynical, we also checked at the ticket desk when picking up our tickets on the night and were reassured of the times.

When Hawley eventually came on stage at 9.30pm, after a very talented support act (of which there had been no mention when booking tickets) and a quite unnecessary interval, we realised we were going to get about 35 minutes for our £18 before we had to leave.

It was a fine enough 35 minutes but if I’d known I would have saved my money and suspect I will do in the future. Mareel – open to all? Really?

Stuart Hannay


Add Your Comment
  • Matthew Simpson

    • August 31st, 2016 11:03

    That’s a ferry issue, not a Mareel issue.

    • Ali Inkster

      • August 31st, 2016 13:43

      Nothing is in isolation in a small island group like Shetland. When the decision to go ahead with mareel was made we were facing the prospect of cuts to all services due to lack of funds, but still funds were found to build it. No thought was given to the folks that would not be able to use it but would still be expected to pay for it. And rather than bringing up big name acts to perform there they are having to perform in the clickimin just as they did before mareel was built. And I have to say that the sound in the clickimin is far superior to the sound experienced at mareel.

      • Davie Gardner

        • August 31st, 2016 23:25

        It was made clear at the outset that for some acts – especially the bigger names ones which carry greater costs and equally attract greater audience demand – that Clickimin with it’s much larger seating and standing capacity (1000 and 1200 respectively – compared to Mareel’s 300 and 600) would therefor still have a major role to play in music promotion in Shetland even after Mareel was built – particulary for these larger / more popular events which, lets face it, only come around every now and then anyway. Mareel would allow promoters to effectively bring the likes of mid range acts to Shetland that could not be housed or promoted either capacity or cost wise in the Clickimin. Mareel was NEVER meant to replace either the CC or indeed rural halls which back then, and still do, have vital roles to play in event promotion in Shetland. I use all of these for events. ‘Horses for courses as it were’. Many artists have subsequently visited Shetland who could not have been promoted here had we simply had the CC or rural halls to promote events in (and nothing in between) – with them often playing Mareel and then rural country halls too. Some may see that as gold plating – but it’s a promotional fact nevertheless.

      • Margaret Gear

        • September 1st, 2016 12:00

        I’m a big fan of Mareel, but it should cater for the whole of Shetland. I wonder if promoters and Mareel could work together to ensure that concerts times fit in with isles ferries? And if last ferry times could be adjusted to be slightly later that might be make it more feasible?

  • Nick Stevenson

    • August 31st, 2016 11:52


    … a very enjoyable show spoiled by the surprise inclusion of a support act not shown on posters, flyers, web-site, ticket, announced at the start of the show or even hastily scrawled on a blackboard outside the door to the auditorium.

    The show was surely better with the excellent support act. However any change to the times should have been made known to the audience. Mareel has done well with their show times until now & I’m not expecting all shows to run on time, but when a show is extended it would be a simple courtesy to inform the audience beforehand, allowing those travelling by inter-island ferry to enjoy what they can see of the show.

    Nick Stevenson

  • Annette Jamieson

    • August 31st, 2016 14:14

    Stuart, this must have been really disappointing for you. I’m not sure if you’re aware but there is a drop in meeting, hosted by the SIC, on the future of transport links in the Mid Yell hall tomorrow night from 16.00 to 20.00 where you can air your views. This is a wide ranging consultation which looks at options over the next 30 years. Yell Community Council have been campaigning for a considerable period for the 22.55 ferry to move to 23.15, at no extra cost, so that residents can enjoy events at Mareel and elsewhere and we are hopeful that the SIC will look favourable at this shortly. I accept that this wouldn’t have helped in this case but could likely help others to attend events on the Mainland. YCC will also be sending in comments on the report which will include many other suggested improvements to the transport links to and from the North Isles. If you cannot make the meeting there is a survey monkey response which can so be used. Link attached There are a number of options on the survey monkey questionnaire and three boxes for other options which you can complete.

  • John N Hunter

    • August 31st, 2016 15:53

    I seem to mind that when Mareel was setting up it was said that timings would be arranged to suit people travelling from the isles. No doubt Shetland Arts will explain why concerts now start later but even coming from Scalloway I would prefer an earlier start.

  • Karl Tulloch

    • September 1st, 2016 0:57

    Tunnels!! We are 30 years behind our neighbours to the west and had the opportunity of low interest loan from our closest none EU friend that shares our music interest as well .

    Perhaps our islands council will see some sense !????????????

  • ian tinkler

    • September 1st, 2016 8:36

    Mareel, how many millions £17 or so? A game changer was the claim, a Shetland Arts “White Elephant” par excellence, the reality, most expensive cinema per capital of population on Earth. Mediocre restaurant and bar, now could someone tell me the “Artistic Merit” and original creative achievements to date. Shetland creativity seemed to do rather better before this Elephant was crashed onto us!! I suppose a few mediocre empires were built, pity so little was achieved and so much money was wasted.

  • Gregory Martin

    • September 1st, 2016 21:34

    The Mareel (Shetland Arts) is useless on these things, and only really caters for Lerwick and mainland. But with that said, the late ferry really needs to be around midnight for all the Islands. 23:00 is usually no good because films and events can end at 10:30 leaving little or no time to maybe grab something to eat in Town, or relax with friends afterwards, this is the same for many evening events on the Mainland. When I travelled from Whalsay, I rarely if ever agreed to stay for events because of the ferry timings. Now I’m on the Mainland, I usually go to most events. People are willing to attend if they are able!


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