Provisional line-up announced for 2018

The provisional line-up for the 38th Shetland Folk Festival has been announced by its hard-working volunteer committee. In May this year, twelve confirmed acts will take to festival stages the length and breadth of the isles to demonstrate their musical prowess. The four-day feast of music will present visiting musicians from USA, Canada, Holland, Denmark, Finland, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With a rousing menu already in place and more to be announced, Shetland Folk Festival 2018 promises to be yet another one not to be missed!


Five acts from the other side of the Atlantic will perform a diverse selection of styles. Strings-only supergroup quartet The Fretless hail from Canada and are pushing the boundaries of their local traditional music with their own intricate and high-energy arrangements. Their trophy cabinet includes 2017 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year among others. Playing fiddles, violas and a cello there is not a fret among them! Another supergroup quartet to visit this year is The Cajun Country Revival who are based in USA and will indeed be delivering the genres that their title suggests! Including two members of much loved act The Foghorn Stringband from the Shetland Folk Festival 2010, the band also features Cajun legends Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy. Identical twin siblings The Brother Brothers are based in Brooklyn, New York and lean towards the darker, moody elements of Appalachian folk and bluegrass traditions. They are fast developing a reputation stateside for captivatingly live performances and stunningly rich vocal harmonies. From Manitoba in Canada comes William Prince, a Juno Award winning singer-songwriter from Peguis First Nation, who performs his beautifully tender music with an amazingly rich baritone voice that will be bound to seduce our audience members from the minute he starts to sing! Our final act from across the pond are James Hill and Anne Janelle, another award-winning singer-songwriter act from Canada who play ukulele and cello. Their intricate and enchanting sound has earned them a Canadian Folk Music Award for best Album of the Year.


Representing mainland Europe are two very different acts! We are delighted to welcome back Baltic Crossing following their much-loved performances during the Shetland Folk Festival in 2012. Their individual members have also played at previous festival with popular acts including KAN, Habadekuk, Esko Järvelä Epic Male Band and Tsuumi Sound System. With members from Denmark, Finland and England, they have roots firmly planted in Nordic and Celtic traditions and deliver performances characterised by great vitality and drive with a good splash of humour. Dutchman Tim Kilphuis’s Trio are internationally renowned legends who have been wowing audiences for over a decade. Alongside bandmates Roy Percy and Nigel Clark from UK, we just know that their blend of gypsy jazz, classical and folk music along with their incredible technical brilliance is going to leave our audiences crying out for more.


Scotland is well represented this year with three award winning acts. Siobhan Miller is the only person ever to win Scots Singer of the Year for a third time, and will be bringing her award-winning vocals and soulful renewal of traditional song to the Shetland Folk Festival. She performed at the festival in 2012 alongside Jeanie Leslie and this time will be returning with her fantastic band. Self-described as “hypno-folkadelic ambient trad”, Scottish legends Shooglenifty will be making a welcome return following their previous visits to the festival in 1995 and 2009. Following the sad loss of their much-loved fiddler and front man Angus R Grant in 2016, they spent last year remembering, recording and re-grouping, and are now back again with a new fiddler, ready to create their usual fiery and infectious blend of Celtic traditional music and dance grooves. Hailing from the Scottish Highlands and Islands is a young band who won the title of Up and Coming Artist of the Year at BBC Scots Trad Awards last year. Hò-rò’s unique energetic tune arrangements and vibrant stage presence delivered with a dollop of Highland craic is bound to delight our audiences.


Calan from Wales brings together five remarkable young musicians who have created their own fresh and vibrant sound as they breathe new life into traditional Welsh music. Be prepared to witness some Welsh step dancing, humour and colourful attire, as well as fast-paced uplifting tunes and beautiful, haunting songs. Last but by no means least of our visiting acts booked so far is MOXIE, a young quintet from Ireland who have added some progressive, world and jazz influences to the traditional Irish backbone of their sound. They are fast garnering a reputation for highly charged live performances and are becoming a festival favourite in Europe, America, Australia and beyond.


A worthy mention must be made of the fantastic array of homegrown talent that the committee is forever proud to present at the festival. This year visitors and locals alike will be impressed and delighted with local acts such as Haltadans whose stylish and entertaining performances give a new lease of life to long-forgotten tunes. About to head to Celtic Connections for their debut performance, and hot off the back of their first album launch, are talented Shetland youngsters Fjanna (aged 14-16). They will be performing traditional Shetland and Scottish traditional tunes as well as their own compositions, demonstrating the skills that saw them deservedly win the Shetland’s Got Talent competition in 2016. Also performing at Celtic Connections this year are Vair, who had the room completely crammed at their album launch at the Shetland Folk Festival last year! Citing traditional Shetland, Scottish and Irish folk and American bluegrass as their influences, their aim is to make music for any occasion. Delivering some Americana music with their own contemporary sound and tight knit harmonies are local band Kansa who have individually grown up enjoying the musical flavours of blues, jazz, funk and bluegrass which they bring to their performance. With around 40 exciting and varied local acts expected to be programmed over the weekend, Shetland will be able to demonstrate why the isles are world renowned for their musical talent, and why the Shetland Folk Festival is delighted to showcase them.


Keep your eyes and ears open for further announcements about the full line-up in the coming weeks. Festival concerts will take place all over the isles and will conclude as usual with the famous ‘Foys’ – three venues open on the Sunday night featuring a short 15-minute set by all of the visiting bands. The extravaganza of superb music, sessions and sleepless nights is bound to leave locals and visitors alike exhausted but deeply satisfied!


Early memberships will be on sale at during the month of February (1st to 28th). These members will be able to book their concert tickets online for two weeks before they go on sale to the general public. Tickets will go on sale to early members from March 19th, and to the general public from 2nd April. The Festival now operates exclusively with an online system for the purchase of memberships and concert tickets.