Orkney Folk Festival will return to a large-scale live event in May 2022


The team behind the Orkney Folk Festival have announced the return to a large-scale live event from May 26-29, 2022. Orkney is a group of around 70 islands, located just off the north coast of Scotland. Around two-thirds of all festival events take place in the town of Stromness in the West Mainland of Orkney.

Orkney Folk Festival has revealed the first wave of artists due to perform, including 24 artists from across Scotland, local Orcadian artists, England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, USA and from India.

This year’s live, in-person festival will be the first since 2019 and follows two highly successful digital editions that have drawn global online audiences to Orkney during the pandemic. A number of artists who were originally scheduled to appear in 2020 – some of whom appeared on screen during the 2021 Virtually Orkney Folk Festival – have been rescheduled and will now hit the stage in May.

Main Scottish Artists Karine Polwart, Skerryvore and Flamboyant violins will join international favorites in this year’s live return, including the Canadian duo Madison Violet and Norwegian/Swedish firebrands SVERas well as globe-trotting Orcadian artists fara, Gnosis, The chair and Saltfishforty.

Festival audiences are set to enjoy a program of stellar Scottish talent this year, including pioneers Talisk (recently seen ringing the bells in front of millions on BBC One’s Hogmanay 2021), four-time Scottish Singer of the Year, Siobhan Millerfamous West Highland champions deeraward-winning Gaelic smallpipe player on BBC Radio 2 Brighde Chaimbeuland Scottish American troubadour Dean Owen with his new band, The Sinners.

Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson will appear in a new transatlantic partnership with the famous American pianist Neil Pearlmanwhile James Yorkton, Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf KhanThe groundbreaking fusion of Scottish song with jazz and classic Indian sarangi will also bring acclaimed international collaborations to the stages of the Orkney Folk Festival.

Among Scandinavia’s most virtuoso folk musicians, the Dane Helene Blum and Harald Haugaard Bandaged are set to return to Stromness, as are other festival favorites including the Yorkshire-based singer-songwriter Edwina Hayesand The Peter Wood Shetland Dance Group.

Rounding out the outstanding Scottish contingent are two exciting bands new to the festival; freewheeling threesome Langan’s gangwhich embrace Celtic, Roma, bluegrass, flamenco, swing and punk influences, and the contemporary violin, accordion, vocals, guitar and harp quartet Tannara,

For nearly four decades, the Orkney Folk Festival has been renowned for showcasing the islands’ folk musicians and singers alongside world-renowned guest artists. Other Orcadian acts announced so far include the piano and violin duo of Jennifer Austin and Eric Linklaterand Orkney Song Duo Sarah Jane Gibbon and Emma Grieve.

Award-winning Orcadian fiddler and mandolinist Graham Rorie is set to be joined by an all-star band featuring The Orcadians of Hudson Bay; a suite of music inspired by the islanders who traveled from Stromness to the Hudson’s Bay Company in northern Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. After a sold-out debut at Celtic Connections 2020, the show returns home to Orkney Folk Festival 2022.

A highlight of the festival in recent years has been the festival’s all-Orcadian multi-generational collaboration, The meeting will return, celebrating a decade at the heart of the festival’s lineup, while the annual fiddler rally will be back for its 39th outing on Sunday afternoon.

As well as performances taking place at several venues in the festival’s home town of Stromness throughout the weekend, concerts are also scheduled in Birsay, Deerness, Finstown, Harray, Holm, Kirkwall and Sandwick as the Volunteer-run event makes its long-awaited live return.

Awaiting the return live from the festival, Orkney Folk Festival producerBob Gibbon noted: “After a two-year stint in the world of online festivals, we are more than excited to plan a full physical festival. Live music has taken a serious hit in recent years, but there’s nothing quite like sitting face to face watching amazing musicians make amazing music..

The spirit of the festival will fully return to Stromness and the rest of Orkney, and I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of Stromnessians and visitors alike. Orkney benefits so much from this festival, both culturally and economically, and I have to say the support we have received from local businesses and the excitement around the return of the festival has been truly heartwarming. Everyone wants to get back to normal and let go. Hopefully this festival will kick-start Orkney’s tourist economy and reinvigorate the music landscape once again.”

The program for the 39th Orkney Folk Festival will be published in the spring and tickets will go on sale in the coming months.

For more information, visit orkneyfolkfestival.com.

(main image: Skerryvore live in Barrowlands)

Author: World Music Central News Department

World Music News from the Editors of World Music Central

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