And so, to next year...
Well, well - another festival by, and everything, and everyone, back to normal. But wasn't it fun?
The committee would like to say a massive, unending thank you to everyone who played a part in the 31st festival, and in particular the droves of volunteers who make the festival what it is. We, the committee, work throughout the year to bring you a top notch weekend of music, but it simply wouldn't be possible without our army of helpers. Whether on the ground in Stromness throughout the weekend, or just for a couple of hours, it takes many, many volunteer hours to bring the festival together - from office staff to drivers, to raffle sellers, to sandwich makers, stage managers, to runners, to the chair stackers, to the banner hangers...the list goes on. Thank you all.
Thanks also to the businesses and hostelries of Stromness for extending their opening hours, offering deals, and being the most accommodating community that we could ask for.
All of this would be a bit pointless if we didn't have any bands to put on stages, though. Whether visiting the festival from south, north or abroad, or from Orkney's own thriving scene, every single musician played a blinder - on and off stage.
But, saying all that, if we didn't have any audiences, it would be a bit of a huge effort for a practice. Once again, most events sold out - and could have umpteen times over. Without the audience, there is no festival. Whether you bought one or several tickets - cheers!
And with that, we're on to 2014... Who do you want to see here next year? Should we be doing anything differenly? Let us know - it's your festival.
May 22-25, 2014 - see you there!
Bob, Colin, Craig, Diane, Eileen, Elaine, Elma, Gavin, Gemma, Jo, Kate and Kenny
– The Orkney Folk Festival Committee
Future Festival Dates
Each year, the Orkney Folk Festival takes place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend - i.e. the last weekend of the month, where the following Monday is still in May (and is the Bank Holiday).
2014 - May 22-25
2015 - May 21-24
2016 - May 26-29
Do you want to perform at the festival?
We are now accepting applications to perform at the 2014 Orkney Folk Festival. If you would like to be considered for our 32nd festival programme, please send us (preferably via email):
- samples of your music
- recent biographical information of the band/members
- a recent photo of yourself/the band
- links to online content/all social media sites
- any other information you feel is relevant
Please note that the festival is run entirely by volunteers, and so, with regret, we cannot physically get back to each application. Rest assured that your email and material has been received and considered by the programming team. Please do not "chase" any applications.
As a rough guide, we annually receive around 100+ applications, for the 12 or so slots that the festival has to offer. We thank you all for your overwhelming interest in the festival, and wish you all the best should you not hear from us.
A mainstay of every Orkney Folk Festival since our very first, in 1983, the Fiddlers' Rally brings together musicians from throughout Orkney and further afield for massed performances of traditional tunes. Hosted by the West Mainland Strathspey and Reel Society, the rally is open to all - not just fiddlers!
Download this year's sheet music (here), for an idea of what's in store, and stay in touch to find out about taking part in next year's Rally (held on Sunday, May 25).
Orkney Folk gather in Glasgow and Shetland
The festival's acclaimed showcase project, Orkney Folk: The Gathering, had its heralded mainland Scotland premiere at the 2013 outing of the world-renowned Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Over twenty-five Orcadian musicians and singers took to the stage in the city's Old Fruitmarket on Saturday, February 2, selling the venue out, in what was billed as "a resplendent example of local music attaining global calibre". After the 90-minute show, the 700-strong audience rose to their feet in a rapturous standing ovation, prompting one reviewer to write "they came, they saw, they conquered"...
The all-Orcadian line-up and repertoire of The Gathering, which premiered at the 2011 Orkney Folk Festival, then joined forces with an equally-weighted gathering of Shetland musicians, to form The Isles Gathering, which played at both the Shetland and Orkney Folk Festivals in May 2013. With a house band in excess of 24 musicians - let alone both counties' guest musicians - the cast brought the audience in both Lerwick's Mareel, and Kirkwall's Pickaquoy Centre to their feet once again.
A flavour of the 2012 Orkney Folk Festival
Photos by Leila Angus - Orkney Folk Festival Photographer in Residence 2012 • visit her website •
The soundtrack on this slideshow comes from the new Orkney Folk Festival CD, 'The Gathering'.
Other than those of the artistes performing at the 2013 Orkney Folk Festival, most of the images used throughout this site were taken by Leila Angus, Photographer in Residence at the 2012 festival. • visit her website •
The Orkney Folk Festival is a registered charity: SCO27280