• St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney - image by Paul Tomkins

Programme launched for 2018 St Magnus International Festival

The programme for the 2018 St Magnus International Festival has been announced, featuring its usual eclectic mix of events all held over midsummer in Orkney.
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The programme for the 2018 St Magnus International Festival has been announced, featuring its usual eclectic mix of events, all held over midsummer in Orkney.

Now in its 42nd year, the Festival has become the heart of the Orcadian summer and the 2018 version introduces new venues, acts and plenty of local talent too.

St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall will host a range of performances at the 2018 Festival - image by Kenny Lam


Visiting performers this year include ‘Sonoro’, one of the most popular choral groups around at the moment. The choir will be on stage in St Magnus Cathedral and will also join the Festival’s own chorus.

Measha Brueggergosan will travel to Orkney to lead ‘Songs of Freedom’, a survey of spirituals and other freedom songs. She'll be joined by ‘Orkney Rocks!’, 'the Mayfield Singers' and a fine-jazz quartet for a barnstorming performance!

The Barokksolistene will be pefforming their Alehouse Sessions this year


Chamber music plays a major part in this year’s programme and two international stars, Tom Poster and Elena Urioste, lead the way with violin and piano performances. They’ll also join with ‘Ensemble Perpetuo’ for a special concert.

Other highlights for 2018 include the return of the ‘Danish Sinfonietta’ with a concert and opera, andThe Barokksolistene’ with their Alehouse Sessions, a concert of ballads and tunes from the 17th century tavern. They’ll also be performing onboard the Norwegian Tall Ship ‘Statsraad Lehmkuhl’ which will be docked in Orkney during the Festival – a truly unique venue!

The tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl will be a special venue this year


The MagFest strand of the Festival is back, with Skaill House in the west mainland set to host a spectacular outdoor stage for a series of concerts. Local bands ‘Hadhirgaan’ and ‘The Chair’ will be joined by Lithuanian group ‘Subtilu-Z’. MagFest will also welcome cellist Zoe Martlew’s theatrical show ‘Cabaret Z’, full of laughs, tears and the odd feather boa or two!

Skaill House will host an outdoor stage at this year's festival - image by Colin Keldie


2018 is the Year of Young People and that theme is present throughout the programme, with pupils from Stromness Academy and Kirkwall Grammar School investigating the life of a young person growing up in Orkney in two Johnsmas Foys.

Festival Director, Alasdair Nicolson, said “It’s wonderful to have artists of the calibre of Measha and 'Sonoro' performing this year and we’re delighted that they’ll be working alongside many of Orkney’s singing talent. We don’t have a large symphony orchestra this year but the programme is full of little gems not to be missed – there is such a rich variety of options and something for everyone.”

Find out more about the Festival and the full list of events and performers at the official website.

You can also find the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Digital Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.

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