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UnstFest going down a storm

| Written by Chris Cope

Festival goers enjoy the Landmarks and Legends Walk as part of UnstFest. Photo Desley Stickle Festival goers enjoy the Landmarks and Legends Walk as part of UnstFest. Photo Desley Stickle ORGANISERS of this year’s UnstFest extravaganza on Britain’s most northerly isle are on top of the world with the festival’s success so far.

After a week of festivities an estimated 1,500 people had attended a vast range of events, with the numbers set to grow further over the coming weekend.

This year’s jam-packed programme has featured everything from live music and supper nights to art exhibitions, children’s games, workshops and sports.

Friday afternoon witnesses a stone skimming championship, with a circus acts workshop on Saturday and a showpiece gig from mainland Celtic rock act Rhythmnreel later that night.

A team from the Wheres Wally half marathon in which 50 runners took part. Photo Desley Stickle A team from the Wheres Wally half marathon in which 50 runners took part. Photo Desley Stickle UnstFest chairwoman Megan Burns said on Thursday that the 2015 festival is going “really well” so far, with events proving extremely popular.

“It’s really busy and all the events are pretty much full. The legends and landmarks guided walk, for example, was fully booked within four days,” she said.

“The swap shop was really popular, as well as the Shetland supper night, and before that we had a really busy weekend with The Revellers performing.”

Visitor numbers meanwhile are greater than anticipated, with both Shetlanders and those from further afield making the trip north.

The Revellers take UnstFest last weekend. Photo Heather Gray The Revellers take UnstFest last weekend. Photo Heather Gray “It’s hard to tell, but I’d say at least 1,500 people have attended events, and we’ve got this weekend coming up, so overall we’ll be looking at over 2,000 at least, which is above what we expected,” Burns said.

“There’s definitely a bigger mix of people this year. I think there’s a lot of visitors up as well who have planned their time in Shetland around Unstfest.”

She added that the activities on offer at UnstFest are wide-ranging and can be enjoyed by all - from the young to the old.

“There’s children’s activities, workshops and more cultural events for visitors who might want to learn a little bit more. We try to cater for everybody.”

Unst meanwhile is set to enjoy another onslaught of festival-goers next month when the first Shetland Reel Music Festival is held at the Saxa Vord Resort over August 14-16.

The event, curated by Dolly Parton guitarist Jim Salestrom, features a bill of US country and folk talent in addition to a slew of Shetland acts.

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