Ferry firm shines light on Shetland folk scene

Hjaltland sailing from Aberdeen to Shetland. (Photo: Nick McCaffrey)

IN A celebration of the unique heritage of the Shetland Islands, Serco NorthLink Ferries is collaborating with Shetland Folk Festival to shine a light on the most rural gigs on this year’s lineup. 

NorthLink Ferries is calling on visitors to get off the beaten path in search of the islands’ hidden gems. Steering visitors to Orkney and Shetland away from the most popular attractions, NorthLink Ferries wants to spread awareness of everything the islands have to offer including those lesser known and harder to reach island gems. Their latest advert, Adventure Awaits; Uncover Hidden Treasures, will give tourists the benefit of local knowledge when it comes to planning an alternative island itinerary.

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Amongst those gems is the traditional folk music which the islands celebrate and, of course, the musicians themselves. Partnering with Shetland Folk Festival – running from 2 – 5 May – as the first in NorthLink’s Hidden Sounds series, NorthLink Ferries has provided a donation to support the running costs of these rural gigs at North Roe and Balatasound, Unst.

The concert in the rural village hall at North Roe on Friday 3 May features bands such as The Hackles, Kirsten Adamson & The Tanagers, Ross Couper Band and Scott Moncrieff.

Saturday 4 May sees Tenement Jazz Band, The Friel Sisters & The High Seas, and Da AnnLynn Sessions entertaining the crowd in one of Shetland’s rural halls on Unst – in the settlement of Baltasound. The concert on Unst boasts the title of being the most northerly gig in the British Isles and involves a ferry from the Shetland mainland for revellers to reach their destination.

Louise Jamieson, from the Shetland Folk Festival committee, said: “The event culminates with the Foy concerts on the Sunday night, where audiences have an opportunity of seeing most visiting acts in one evening. Held over three venues, the acts are shuffled between halls by minibus and perform in each hall for around 15 minutes. It’s crazy but it works!”

Stuart Garrett, managing director of NorthLink Ferries added: “Music is an important part of Shetland’s heritage, so it makes absolute sense for NorthLink Ferries to support Shetland Folk Festival – as part of our Hidden Gems campaign. We can’t reveal the full details yet, but we’re currently working with a folk band to bring a very special concert to Orkney. We really hope that visitors to the islands will consider seeking out some traditional music on their travels.”

NorthLink Ferries operates throughout the year with the MV Hamnavoe operating to Orkney on the Pentland Firth and MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey sailing to Orkney and Shetland from Aberdeen. MV Hildasay and MV Helliar provide regular timetabled freight services to both Shetland and Orkney. NorthLink Ferries has offices in Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Stromness and Scrabster.   

Stay tuned for more details on part two of NorthLink Ferries Hidden Sounds series.  

For more information on the concerts held for Shetland Folk Festival and details for tickets, visit www.shetlandfolkfestival.com.

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