Features / Rock festival aims to ‘keep it fun and fresh’

Alt rockers Algernon Doll are one of 12 visiting bands for Shetfest.

SHETLAND will ring with the sound of rock music next weekend as a plethora of bands prepare to hit the isles to play an all-day festival.

45/33 Promotions are hosting their second “Shetfest” shindig at the Lerwick Legion on Saturday as a mix of rock-rooted visiting acts and local artists hit the stage. The all-ages event will see a total of 15 acts play from 2pm until late, with 12 of them hailing from mainland Scotland.  


They include alt-rock outfit Algernon Doll, who recently performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow, and ska-punks Maxwell’s Dead.

There will also be appearances from Pinact, Chris Devotion and The Expectations, Poor Things, Kill Surrrf, Deathcats, The Walking Targets, Black International, Billy Liar, Black Cop and Catholic Action.  

The local contingent meanwhile will be represented by Brundlehorse, Frankeneinstein and a debut live show from drummer Lewis Murray’s smoothed-out hip-hop project Audiopium.  


Algernon Doll, who channel the likes of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, told Shetland News that the Legion crowd should expect plenty of high-jinx zest when they take to the stage.


Frontman Ewan Grant, who has seen his quartet create tangible buzz across the UK and beyond over the last year, said: “There will be crowd surfing, spilling of beverages and an all-inclusive energy. And passion that is beyond playing the right notes or playing everything perfectly.  

“I’d describe our music as grungy noise rock with post-hardcore and emo tendencies. The music also has a pop songwriting backbone to it though.”


Poor Things, who brought their “alternative rock with a few punk influences and a few pop influences” sound to the fields of T in the Park last year, said that they can’t wait to step foot on the boat and start the trip up the North Sea.  

Guitarist and vocalist Craig Angus said: “We’re really looking forward to playing Shetfest and getting the grand tour. There’s a great bunch of bands going up on the ferry too so the trip will be bearable. The plan is to have a big Royal Rumble style fight on the ferry up – the last band standing gets to headline the gig, and the first band out opens the show and lives with the shame of being bad fighters.”  

Speaking about the Poor Things show, Angus added: “The audience should expect a set drawn from our self-titled debut album which came out in April. We’ll be very well dressed and our choreography will be immaculate. I usually try and get in on the local jokes as well – the last time we played in Aberdeen I ended up having a conversation from the stage with a man who used to be neighbours with footballing goal-machine Eugene Dadi, who used to tear up the turf at Pittodrie.”  

Poor Things' sound is influenced by punk and pop.

One of the not-for-profit event’s organisers Marshall Brill meanwhile said that he is willing to face the financial risk of taking so many mainland acts to Shetland in order showcase burgeoning talent in isles.  

“The idea was always about bringing bands up that people would normally never have the chance to see, and making a real event of it”, he said. “It’s quite risky due to the high cost of bringing bands up – shout out to NorthLink for the sponsorship – and finding accommodation too and all the rest of the logistical problems, but it definitely pays off.

“These bands all play several times a week, tour the length and breadth of the country and play major festivals, and you can really tell when they perform. I’m trying to create a festival which is interesting and exciting by bringing bands up who are causing a real buzz in the industry. But most of all, I want to keep it fun and fresh.  

“A lot of people last year said they hadn’t checked out many of the bands before and just wanted to try something different. The response was amazing. I’m personally looking forward to Deathcats, Black Cop – brace yourselves – and Chris Devotion and The Expectations, as well as the first live outing of Lewis Murray’s Audiopium project.  

“For those with nothing to do on Saturday 5th July, for the meagre price of £20 you can witness some of the country’s best and most exciting bands performing on your doorstep. In years – or even months – to come, you will be able to say ‘I remember when I saw those guys at Shetfest’, as some of these bands are really going places.”

  • Tickets for this year’s Shetfest are available from www.shetfest.co.uk or High Level Music in Lerwick.

Chris Cope