18 Acts and 9 Traditions heading for Orkney in 2016

The team behind the Orkney Folk Festival have today (Tuesday, January 12) revealed some 14 acts, bringing the current total to 18, spanning nine distinct traditions, who will perform at the 34th annual event, held between May 26-29.

Artists from the United States, Canada, Finland, Ireland, England, mainland Scotland, Shetland and the Hebrides will join with Orkney’s own folk stars at the four-day event.

Live Act of the Year at the 2015 Scots Trad Music Awards, RURA; Scottish fiddling sensations, Session A9; traditional Irish song quartet, Lynched; Acadian trio, Vishten, who hail from Canada’s Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands; Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, who fuse Western Swing, Gypsy Jazz, country and blues; stalwart of the West Country folk scene, and father of a folk dynasty, Geoff Lakeman; popular Shetland fiddle and guitar duo, Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson; rising Scottish singer and ukulele player, Zoe Bestel; and one of Scotland’s most in-demand ceilidh outfits, The Glencraig Scottish Dance Band, will all take to the stage in Orkney this year.

The festival will also host the first Orkney performances from the distinctly Scottish FunBox – the new family singalong show from Anya Scott-Rodgers, Gary Coupland and Kevin Macleod, former stars and writers of The Singing Kettle.

They will be welcomed by a stellar cast of Orcadian musicians and singers, which so far includes one of Orkney’s best known musical sons, Ivan Drever, returning to the festival for the first time in eight years, to celebrate his sixtieth birthday in fitting style; power duo Saltfishforty, who will reprise their Saltfish@forty Celtic Connections show on home turf; Orkney’s world-renowned and much loved musical twins, The Wrigley Sisters; and nationwide festival favourites, The Chair.

These announcements follows last month’s news that the festival will host world-renowned, Grammy-nominated Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll; Mercury-nominated Tyneside vocal sister-act The Unthanks; the leading act on the Nordic fiddle scene, Finland’s Frigg; and the voice of Disney Pixar’s Brave, Gaelic songstress Julie Fowlis.

This year’s festival will encompass over 30 ticketed events, across its four days. Rather than offering an all-in-one festival site, concerts and ceilidhs takes place in venues throughout the Orkney mainland and some neighbouring isles. Alongside a number of venues in the festival’s hometown and hub of Stromness, the 2016 festival will visit Birsay, Finstown, Harray, Kirkwall, Orphir, Quoyloo and St Margaret’s Hope, as well as the islands of Hoy, Shapinsay and Westray.

Tickets for all festival events will go on sale in April, around six weeks ahead of the festival.

Last year the festival broke all of its previous box office and ticket records, with more than 6,000 tickets changing hands, two thirds of all events selling out, and total occupancy rising to well over 90% across the board.

This success was largely attributed to two high-profile press visits in 2014, from BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show and leading world music magazine, Songlines. During the hour-long Orkney Folk Festival special edition of the flagship BBC programme, presenter Mark Radcliffe hailed the festival to be; “an amazing and indelible few days”.

Orkney Folk Festival’s Artistic Director, Bob Gibbon, said: “We’re really pleased with how this year’s line-up is coming together. The artists announced today represent a very broad spread of not just international folk traditions and styles, but also the rich tapestry of Scotland’s own folk scene. It’s great to have artists from the three island groups of Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides at the festival in the same year, as well as leading and new names from the Scottish mainland.

“The term ‘folk’ means very different things to lots of people, and we aim to cater for as many of those varying strands and interpretations as we can, within a relatively small line-up. From jumping party bands to solo singers and musicians, and leading international performers to singalong family shows, there’s something there for folk of all ages – and we can’t wait to welcome them all to the festival once again.