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Orkney Folk Festival set for 40th anniversary celebrations

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Final preparations for the 40th anniversary Orkney Folk Festival are taking place ahead of the event’s return over the last weekend in May.

48 acts will appear at the festival in concerts, ceilidhs, clubs, workshops, and family events across Orkney. Most of the 47 planned performances between 25 and 28 May will be held in the festival’s spiritual home of Stromness, but audiences from Sanday to St Margaret’s Hope will also get to join in the festival fun.

Artists from as far afield as the USA, Canada, and Norway will all be taking to the stage this year, including world renowned Scottish folk group, Capercaillie. They’ll be joined by a local orchestra headed up by the Orkney Schools Instrumental Service in a very special event.

Other international guests include Mo Kenney, Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Nordic Fiddlers Block. They’ll line up alongside some of Orkney’s finest musicians, including Kris Drever, The Chair, Jenny Keldie & Brian Cromarty, and Saltfishforty.

The annual Gathering concerts, showcasing Orcadian music, will be hosted by homegrown group, Fara, who will build upon their 2022 album ‘Energy Islands’ by exploring Orkney’s renewable energy story with musical thoughts on green energy and the environment.

For the first time there will be a Songwriters Circle and new family events, including the inaugural Family Folkie and Family Stomp. BBC Radio Orkney will also host two special Live Lounge programmes, broadcast live from the Stromness Community Centre, featuring music and chats with festival artists and organisers.

Multi award-winning theatre production ‘Thunderstruck’, focused on the life and legacy of late bagpiper, Gordon Duncan, will also play two shows this year.

It’s a quite incredible programme and the organisers are busy putting the finishing touches to what is set to be a real celebration of folk music as the festival moves into its fifth decade. Orkney Folk Festival producer, Craig Corse, said: “It’s a cliche to say that there’s something for everyone, but this year we have a wide range of folk styles from around the world on offer, a selection of seated and standing shows, expanded venue capacities in some places, more on offer for families and young folk, and even theatre.

“We’ll have some artists who have appeared at every edition of the festival, and some who are making their debuts as we mark the fortieth anniversary – not to mention a good few heading home to join in the birthday celebrations. We can’t wait to see everyone back in Stromness very soon!”

Tickets for some events are still available – visit the official Orkney Folk Festival website for more information and to book online.

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