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Virtually Orkney Folk Festival 2021

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A brand new event for 2021, with a four day programme of exclusive performances from international artists and homegrown Orcadian talent.

About this event

Presenting a brand new, never-before-seen digital programme, 2021’s Virtually Orkney Folk Festival will feature exclusive performances from an international bill of leading folk artists from Scotland, England, Norway, Denmark and Canada - alongside a number of newly commissioned performances from homegrown Orcadian artists.

The four day event, streaming over the festival’s regular long weekend of May 27-30, brings numerous new concert performances and workshops, alongside iconic programme fixtures in a bid to recreate as much of the live event as possible - including Saturday night favourite, The Stomp, and the annual Fiddlers’ Rally; a cornerstone of the festival since its very first outing in 1983.

Renowned for profiling local Orkney talent alongside leading international artists for almost four decades, this year’s festival offering is no exception - featuring the online world premiere of a new suite of music composed by Orcadian fiddle and mandolin player, Graham Rorie.

The Orcadians of Hudson Bay - inspired by Graham’s fellow islanders who travelled to The Hudson’s Bay Company in Northern Canada to make their living in the fur industry during the 18th and 19th centuries - features an all all-star band, of James Lindsay (double bass), Kristan Harvey (fiddle), Padruig Morrison (accordion), Rory Matheson (piano) and Signy Jakobsdottir (drums and percussion).

A bumper line-up of Orcadian artists will take centre stage with brand new performances - including festival favourites The Chair; home-grown, world touring quartet Fara; acclaimed local duo Saltfishforty - aka Douglas Montgomery and Brian Cromarty; and award-winning young group Gnoss.

They will be joined by a number of high-profile artists from throughout Scotland’s folk scene - also all presenting brand new and exclusive sets as part of the Virtually Orkney Folk Festival programme - including Blazin’ Fiddles, Skerryvore, Talisk and Siobhan Miller.

Contributing festival sets from from slightly further afield, international artists on the digital event’s line-up include Canadian roots duo Madison Violet, Danish folk virtuosos, the Blum and Haugaard Band, and live-wire Norwegian/Swedish quartet SVER. Yorkshire songstress Edwina Hayes is making a welcome return to the Orkney Folk Festival bill, whilst exciting young Scottish group Tannara and celebrated Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Dean Owens both mark their debuts.

As has long been the case for the Orkney Folk Festival, musicians and singers from the islands’ rich local music community form the backbone of the festival programme, welcoming visiting musicians and audiences into the fold in their droves. Audiences can also look forward to newly filmed sets from artists including fiddle and piano duo Eric Linklater and Jennifer Austin, local singers Sarah Jane Gibbon and Emma Grieve, popular youth trio Lyra, the much loved Shetland/Orkney song pairing of Brian Cromarty and Jenny Keldie, renowned singer Jo Philby, East Mainland family group The Brewers, and local stalwarts Hullion - who are celebrating their 30th year performing together in 2021 - amongst further acts still to be announced.

Virtually Orkney Folk Festival has been made possible through grant funding awarded from EventScotland’s Event Recovery Fund, created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, alongside the festival’s annual support from Orkney Islands Council and commercial sponsorship.

Festival tickets are all-inclusive - the full weekend programme will be announced in May.


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