Artists announced for 2021

Following an overwhelming response to the first ever virtual Orkney Folk Festival, the team behind the award-winning festival have announced some 22 artists set to appear at the 2021 festival.

As with most festivals and public gatherings in 2020, this year’s Orkney Folk Festival was forced to cancel amidst the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic; the first time in the event’s near four-decade history.

Organisers are therefore delighted to confirm that the vast majority of artists scheduled to be part of the festival this year will instead appear in the county next May, at the rescheduled 38th Orkney Folk Festival – between May 27-30, 2021.

A strong Scottish contingent heads up the bill, complimented by leading artists from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, India, the USA, England, Shetland, and of course Orkney’s own thriving local scene.

Festival favourites Blazin’ Fiddles and Dàimh will both make welcome returns, whilst Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore will make their debut Orkney appearances in their sixteenth year on the road.

Seven years since first captivating Orkney crowds, multi award-winning Canadian roots duo Madison Violet are set to make a very welcome return to the festival, as are groundbreaking Scottish trio Talisk – who have recently wowed crowds as far afield as Japan, Chile, Malaysia and the USA.

Celebrated Scottish singer Siobhan Miller returns to the festival, fronting her own band for the first time, as do the immensely popular Peter Wood Shetland Dance Band, Yorkshire singer-songwriter Edwina Hayes, and one of Denmark’s most popular live acts, the Blum and Haugaard Band.

Continuing the Scandinavian contingent, one of the most acclaimed live acts of the Nordic folk scene, five-piece SVER have also reconfirmed their upcoming Orkney Folk Festival appearances.

Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson and USA pianist Neil Pearlman, who were due to launch their debut UK tour at the festival in 2020, will instead appear in 2021 – as will multi award-winning Skye piper Brìghde Chaimbeul, making her first Orkney appearances.

Fife singer-songwriter James Yorkston, English jazzer Jon Thorne and Indian classical sarangi player and singer Suhail Yusuf Khan will visit the festival in their serendipitous three-piece collaboration, whilst fellow trios The Langan Band and Dean Owen and The Southerners will also make their debut Orkney Folk Festival appearances.

Scottish/Orcadian quartet Tannara also join the festival bill for the first time in 2021, whilst home-grown groups Fara and Gnoss return amidst their extensive touring rescheduled from 2020. They join local favourites Saltfishforty, The Wrigley Sisters and The Chair, with of many more Orcadian and visiting acts to be announced over the coming months.

Festival Director, Bob Gibbon said: “It was heartbreaking to pull the plug on 2020, so we are delighted that so many of the acts booked for this year can make it in 2021. While there is still a long way to go before life gets back to normal, we think it is best to look ahead positively and plan for all being well – while being mindful that change might be necessary.

“The feedback we have had since postponement and the wonderful support we have had from patrons and businesses has meant that we owe it to our audience to push on for next year, and come back stronger than ever. With a ready made lineup, it gives us the opportunity to look carefully at how we can make it work next year. Covid-19 has been a terrible situation for many, but having our lockdown virtual festival at the weekend has reminded us of the joy of live music, camaraderie and friendship that the festival brings.”