Enough waiting… here’s your lot for this year. Ooh, it’s a good’un!
Making her long-awaited debut visit to Orkney, Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon will be heading our way, as will Mercury-nominated English singer/songwriter Seth Lakeman who is also set to make his first appearances in the county.
So too are rising stars of the UK country scene, Ward Thomas, who promise to bring us a flavour of Nashville, via the BBC Radio 2 daytime playlist.
Orkney Folk Festival audiences have long had a soft spot for our Canadian cousins, and so this year two groups will be heading across the Atlantic – The Dardanelles, from Newfoundland, and old-time showstoppers Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, from Prince Edward Island.
Festival favourites, The New Rope String Band are making a welcome return to the festival – yet for their last visit, as they join us on their farewell tour. Also returning is a multi-instrumentalist of immense repute, yet making his first solo visit, is Tim Edey.
Bringing the distinct fiddle styles of Norway, Sweden and Shetland together will be The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, whilst the traditional music of the Isle of Man will also be on offer over the festival, from the first Manx group ever to visit the Orkney Folk Festival – Barrule.
Returning to Scotland, and the Edinburgh-based, yet Irish and Hungarian-rooted group Dallahan, who have rapidly established themselves as an exciting new force, will be making their way north in May – as will Scots song five-piece The Lowland Linties.
This stellar cast will be welcomed to the festival by Orkney’s own thriving folk scene. Home-grown acts confirmed to appear at the festival, so far, include Fara – five young Orcadian expats, who went down such a storm at last year’s festival that we had to have them back, and for the full weekend; the gutsy roots pairing of Brian Cromarty and Douglas Montgomery, Saltfishforty; Orkney’s worldwide touring fiddle, piano and guitar duo, The Wrigley Sisters; and the eight-piece musical juggernaut, formed to fill a gap in the festival’s schedule 11 years ago, The Chair. Many more local artists will be added to the programme over the coming months.
This year’s festival will also host a reprisal of Orkney Folk: The Fiddle Gathering – an adaptation of the festival’s ever-popular ‘Gathering showcases, curated to place a spotlight on the islands’ rich fiddling traditions. To date, the concert has only been staged once, in November, at the Scots Fiddle Festival, in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall – and so this will be its first home-turf outing.
Tickets for the 2015 Orkney Folk Festival will go on sale in the spring. Members of the festival’s Patronage scheme will receive advanced access to tickets, at least a week ahead of their general sale, as well as discounted ferry travel to Orkney from the Scottish mainland with NorthLink Ferries.
See you soon!