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Folk Festival 2013 / Folk fest kicks off – no sleep til Monday

Celtic folk rock band Skerryvore were the first on stage at the opening concert - Photos: Austin Taylor

SHETLAND has geared up for yet another weekend of great music as the annual folk festival kicked off on Thursday with its traditional lunchtime concert in Lerwick’s Islesburgh Community Centre.

Musicians from all over world have once again descended on the islands – famous for its musical heritage.

Organisers have booked 15 visiting bands and musicians, this year mainly from the north east of Canada and Ireland, but there are also performers from Scotland, Denmark and a seven strong London-based Cuban band.

Yuriselys Moreno Soria of Cuban band Son Yambu.

Supported by 50 local acts they will play well over 20 concerts across the whole of Shetland from Uyeasound in the north to Cunningsburgh in the south.

One of the organisers, Mhari Pottinger, said the four day long festival, now in its 33rd year, was simply getting better and better.

“Shetland Folk Festival has an international reputation for being a real community roots-based festival. People come here to also experience the very high standard of local musicians,” she said.

Among many others on the bill this year are Scottish Celtic rock band Skerryvore, Niamh Ni Charra Band from Ireland, Coig from Cape Breton as well as  the April Verch Band, also from Canada.

Alec Dalglish of Skerryvore, formed in 2005 on the tiny island of Tiree, said the band always wanted to come to the festival they had heard so much about.

“We have been trying to get up this far for years. It is one of these places that we have heard great things about from many musicians who came here over the years and who said that this is one of the best festivals to go to,” he said.

April Verch - infamous for her high-energy performances.

“So we’re delighted to be here. We have only been here a matter of hours and we already feel really welcomed.

“Everybody has been great and friendly, and we looking forward to the rest of the week.”

Danish musician Jes Kroman has been to the festival many times, including the very first one in 1981.

“The festival has grown in many ways. The music has changed a lot,” he said.

“I play very traditional music and the music of that time was very traditional.

“Today it is more mainstream folk from all over the world, and in that way it looks more like any other festival.

“I liked it when it was very traditional, because it suited the place.”

The music kicks off in earnest on Thursday night with concerts in country halls in Hamnavoe, Cunningsburgh and Voe, as well as the British Legion and Mareel, in Lerwick.

Please follow our extensive coverage of the 2013 Shetland Folk Festival at: www.shetnews.co.uk/features/folk-festival-2013/