News

Orkney Folk Festival to return to full-scale live event in May

Stromness is set to come alive to folk music from around the world once again, as the team behind the Orkney Folk Festival have announced a return to a full-scale live event this spring. 

In the first wave of line-up announcements, 24 acts have been unveiled for the 39th outing of the award-winning festival. Musicians and singers from throughout Scotland will join artists from England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, USA and India in appearing alongside scores of home-grown Orcadian artists in venues throughout Stromness and the Orkney mainland, over May 26-29.

This year’s live festival will be the first since 2019, and follows two highly successful digital editions that brought a worldwide online audience to Orkney during the pandemic. A number of artists who were originally scheduled to appear in 2020 – some of whom featured on-screen in 2021’s Virtually Orkney Folk Festival – have been rebooked and will now take to the stage this May.

Leading Scottish artists Karine Polwart, Skerryvore and Blazin’ Fiddles will join international favourites at this year’s live return, including Canadian duo Madison Violet and Norwegian/Swedish firebrands SVER, as well as globetrotting Orcadian artists Fara, Gnoss, The...

Happy New Year!

Hi aye folks, long time no speak… we just wanted to pop by and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2022 when it comes.

We can’t wait to see everyone back in Stromness, and in halls across Orkney, for a live festival next year!

We’ll be back with more information on our plans in January (including an absolute cracker of a line-up…!), but in the meantime a reminder of the dates for your diaries: May 26-29, 2022.

Please do make a note of those dates – just in case – as the Bank Holiday that would usually follow our weekend has moved into June with the jubilee, but we’ve stuck with our usual late May weekend.

Two years without a live festival is far too long, and May just hasn’t been the same without you all. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, though – it’ll be worth the wait!

All the best, to you and yours, from everyone at Orkney Folk Festival.

Virtually Orkney Folk Festival 2021: Thank You!

Well there we go… thank you everyone! 

Needless to say this year’s weekend has been a peedie bit different – again. Whilst we cannot wait to get back to doing the real thing in person, one upside of this year’s festival has been that the committee has been able to sit back, relax and enjoy the festival alongside the thousands of you that tuned in over the weekend, from all over the world, and it’s been so heartening to read everyone’s comments over the weekend.

It’s not the same, but we hope that this year’s Virtually Orkney Folk Festival has brought you that bit closer over the last few days – whether that’s to live music, Orkney or each other.

A massive thanks once again to our supporters: Orkney Islands Council, EventScotland, Creative Scotland, Orkney.com and NorthLink Ferries, as well as our many sponsors – without whom, this year’s festival simply could not have happened.

Thanks also to all of our artists and tech...

Orkney’s Folky Folk

As part of next weekend’s Virtually Orkney Folk Festival, Kristan Harvey and Jeana Leslie from Fara have been out and about in the isles, getting to know some of the people behind Orkney’s rich folk scene.

Following their hugely successful Orkney Series in 2020, where Jeana and Kristan travelled around the county uncovering the stories behind weel kent tunes (originally planned for for just two episodes, but finishing up with 19!) – they are back within another series as part of the festival, this time putting the focus upon just some of our well known musicians and storytellers.

Over the last few weeks, the pair have been out and about filming Andy Cant, Billy Jolly, Bruce Mainland, Douglas Montgomery, Erika Shearer, Fionn McArthur, Frank Keenan, Jennifer Austin, Kenny Ritch Snr. and Tom Muir.

As Kristan explains: “As part of the Virtually Orkney Folk Festival, we were asked if we would do something quite similar to the Orkney Series, but this time on the people in Orkney who are really the stalwarts of the local music scene; some who would be seen very frequently around the festival, and others who are a bit more...