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Arts / Folk festival launches in style

Kirsten Adamson & The Tanagers at Thursday's folk festival opening concert. Photo: Dave Donaldson

THE SUN was shining on Lerwick as the 42nd Shetland Folk Festival formally opened on Thursday afternoon ahead of a weekend of sessions and sprees.

The honour of opening the event went to Caroline McKenzie, the former Radio Shetland journalist and music fan who is set to move south soon.

She said the weekend was always the highlight of her calendar – “so much so that I actually delayed the sale of our house” to make sure she could squeeze in another folk festival.

McKenzie said the festival always induced “a tears in the eye, lumpy throat moment for me…I fear that I may actually experience it before the festival even gets underway this year”.

As is always the case, Islesburgh’s Room 16 was packed to the rafters with folk fans keen to grab a glimpse of what is on offer over the coming days.

Opening for the launch event were Norwegian firecrackers Gangar, one of the festival’s more intriguing acts who channel folk and rock – and even a bit of metal.

The Fretless & Madeleine Roger. Photo: Dave Donaldson

They were joined at the opening event by Kirsten Adamson & the Tanagers, The Fretless with Madeleine Roger, Tenement Jazz Band, Ahlberg, Ek & Roswall with Ulrika Bodén and the Hackles.

Folk festival committee member Louise Jamieson said she was “so excited for all the music” ahead over the weekend.

She said there is a “real mix of genres” at this year’s festival, from the folk metal to country and jazz.

“Variety and probably not a lot of sleep,” Jamieson said.

Meanwhile Gangar saxophone player Oskar Lindberget said Shetland people seemed “very friendly and very hyped up about the festival”.

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“For us it makes us our job so much easier,” he added.

The festival’s website lists 15 visiting acts for the weekend, hailing from across the globe, who will be ably supported by an array of local performers.

Many of the visiting acts arrived in Shetland off the boat on Thursday morning after some of the festival committee members took their usual trip to Aberdeen to meet the musicians.

Most concerts are already sold out, and any remaining tickets available to buy from the festival club at Islesburgh during its shop opening hours (Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11am to 5pm).

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