News

Madison Violet back by popular demand!

Returning by popular demand, Canadian roots duo Madison Violet will be heading back to Orkney in May 2020.

A highlight of the 2014 festival, Madison Violet have been captivating audiences and critics alike for two decades, with their combination of heart-wrenching songwriting and luscious harmonies married with the natural storytelling of folk, the rhythms of Americana and catchy pop hooks.

Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac met by chance in Toronto in 1999, only to discover that their fathers sat next to each other in high school nearly 2000km away in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. That longstanding, deep-rooted history is what ties the duo’s harmonies so tight, and lies at the core of their unparalleled musical connection and captivating live show.
 
Over their nine albums – most recently 2019’s acclaimed Everything’s Shifting, inspired by love, loss and regret – and twenty years touring,these two acclaimed multi-instrumentalists and songwriters have amassed an impressive list of accolades, including a Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award, a...

SVER set to excite in 2020

One of the most acclaimed live acts of the Nordic folk scene, five-piece SVER will be joining us at the 38th Orkney Folk Festival in May 2020!

From the wistful and dreamy, to frenzied, pounding, sweaty floor-fillers, SVER’s music is grounded in the roots of their native Norway and Sweden, fused with a bold sense of experimentation and excitement. Their imaginative soundscapes, grooves and melodies take the listener deep amongst Norwegian fjords and mountains, through lively pubs and basement clubs, and back out into the deep forest of their unparalleled musicality.

With four critically acclaimed albums, most recently 2018’s Reverie, Olav Luksengård Mjelva (fiddle and Hardanger fiddle), Anders Hall (fiddle and viola), Leif Ingvar Ranøien (diatonic accordion), Adam Johansson (guitar) and Jens Linell (drums and percussion)’s genre-bending music has led to appearances on major TV shows and in the charts, alongside major tours and festival appearances throughout Europe and the USA.

Karine Polwart to return in 2020

We are very excited to announce that Karine Polwart will return to the Orkney Folk Festival in 2020!

Last seen at the festival back in 2009, Karine is a multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter and musician, as well as theatre-maker, storyteller, spoken-word performer and published essayist.

Her talent for crafting enduring melodies, her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case, the game and dynamism of her arrangements, all come together in songs of powerful contemporary relevance. Hers is also the most approachable of singing voices, drawing the listener towards her as if a fireside storyteller.

In October 2019, her song I Burn But I Am Not Consumed – from the heralded 2018 album, Laws of Motion – earned Karine her eighth BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, this time for Best Original Track. 

She has also recently completed a tour of her acclaimed Scottish Songbook project – folky reimaginings of beloved songs from across fifty years of Scottish pop, from artists as diverse as Deacon Blue, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit and John Martyn – whilst in March 2020 she will, by popular demand, reprise her five-star theatre show, Wind Resistance, at the Royal Lyceum Theatre...

2019 Festival another record breaker!

The 37th Orkney Folk Festival kicks off in triumphant style today, Thursday, with artists from across the globe already settling into the county, amidst the sixth consecutive year of record breaking ticket sales.

Over 6,600 individual concert tickets have sold in advance of the festival opening, with 24 of the festival’s 36 ticketed events sold out in advance. This is both the highest volume of advance sales ever achieved in the voluntary-run festival’s 37-year tenure, as well as the greatest number of pre-festival sellouts. 

Stromness, the festival’s hometown in Orkney’s West Mainland, has already begun welcoming early arrivals, including some of this year’s furthest travelled visitors – Cape Breton’s globetrotting powerhouse quartet, Còig – as well as famed Irish singer Cara Dillon and Irish firebrands Four Men and a Dog, who are currently celebrating their 30th year on the road.

Whilst early arrivals are no rarity for the festival, a far greater number than usual are already in Orkney, owing to a one-day Air Traffic Controllers’ strike across Scotland’s Highlands and Islands taking place today. As well as the closure of Kirkwall Airport, Inverness – a hub for flights from Ireland and England,...