Orkney Folk: The Gathering

Just three years after premiering to rapturous acclaim at the 2011 Orkney Folk Festival, the all-Orcadian line-up and repertoire of The Gathering returns to the festival once again, following yet more almighty successes in 2013.

Showcasing several generations of these islands’ richly distinctive folk culture, the heralded venture brings together an expansive cast ranging from teenage rising stars to veteran moothie ace and storyteller Billy Jolly, all brought together in superb style by musical director and fiddler Douglas Montgomery. A first-of-its-kind amongst Orkney’s fertile musical landscape, The Gathering presents some cast members whose first meeting has been through the project – instantly illustrating its significance in both preserving and continuing the county’s vibrant musical heritage.

Having gathered considerable attention on home turf, last year a bumper cast of 30 musicians assembled for its first UK mainland performance – in Glasgow’s legendary Old Fruitmarket, as part of the city’s Celtic Connections festival in February 2013 – before joining their northern cousins for a joint North Isles Gathering. In May 2013, musicians from both Orkney and Shetland joined to showcase both communities' vast musical heritages, for home and away gigs at both the Orkney and Shetland Folk Festivals.

This year’s ‘Gathering will showcase not only Orkney’s own rich folk culture, but also the connections that it has with others from across the Atlantic. With guest appearances from Aoife O’Donovan, The Beaton Sisters’ Band, and Qristina and Quinn Bachand, it promises to be an unforgettable evening.

"The undisputed jewel in the crown [of the festival]...The Gathering emphatically foregrounded Orkney folk's greatness as musicians." - The Scotsman

"The energy on stage was electric. Judging by the faces of each performer, the enjoyment of the audience was also felt by those on stage."  - The Orcadian