Music festival goes ‘peerie’

Jim Salestrom and Livingston Taylor are both set to return to Unst in August this year - Photo: Davie Gardner

THE ORGANISERS of last year’s inaugural Shetland Reel Music Festival in Unst are to hold a stripped-back version of the event this summer.


Peerie Reel will take place at the same location, the Saxa Vord resort, on 13 August.

It has been created to keep the biannual festival – which had been under threat due to reduced sponsor funding – ticking over until it returns in 2017.


On the bill are visiting acts like Dolly Parton guitarist and event curator Jim Salestrom, his son James, Livingston Taylor and US folk group Dakota Blonde.

A host of a local performers are set to be announced in due course.

Organisers Frank and Debbie Strang, who own the former RAF base and are partners in the on-site Shetland Distillery Company, said the ‘peerie’ event will run through the afternoon and into the night.

“We received excellent feedback from the launch of the Shetland Reel Music Festival last year,” Frank Strang said.


“We want to build on that success, establishing the UK’s most northerly music festival as an essential bi-annual event in Shetland’s musical calendar, with Peerie Reel keeping the momentum going during the off-year.”

Performing in Unst for the first time will be North Carolina’s Dakota Blue, who originally met through being music therapists.

Strang added that he hopes Saxa Vord would begin to hold music and art therapy sessions from next year.

“Last year our main festival sponsor pulled out at the last minute which left us with some difficulty as to how continue this year, but such was the enthusiasm from the local musicians and attendees, we knew it was worth the effort to push ahead and to tie this all into our wider plan to develop Saxa Vord into a music and arts therapy resort,” he said.

Tickets for Peerie Reel (£20/£15) are on sale now via Shetland Box Office, with accommodation available at the Saxa Vord resort and spaces free of charge for caravans or tents.