Top Scottish instrumental folk group, The Peatbog Faeries; Shetland's own Fiddler's Bid and The Revellers; and a New Orleans-style brass band are among the first music acts to be announced as part of the amazing music line-up for this summer's Tall Ships event in Lerwick.
The main headliners for the ticketed evening slots will be announced in the coming weeks with music programmer, Tim Matthew, putting the finishing touches to a varied music schedule which will have something for every musical taste.
Tim said, "There's going to be some great headline slots from across Scotland, and a wealth of local acts showcasing the broad spectrum of genres represented within Shetland. We're looking to present Shetland culture to the visiting crews, but we're also looking to entertain locals, so we have to bring in a little bit of something from the outside. It's an amazing experience for Shetland artists to perform on a big stage to international audiences and an amazing experience for these international crews to see Shetland musical culture and take that back home."
Peatbog Faeries, a Skye band who feature native Shetlanders, Ross Couper on fiddle and Norman Willmore on bass and piano; will headline on the free opening night of music from the main stage at Holmsgarth on Wednesday 26th July 2023. Among the other musical acts on the first night will be local favourites, The Revellers.
The event area at Holmsgarth's main stage has a capacity of around 5,000 and will play host to ticketed events on Thursday 27th, Friday 28th and Saturday 29th July, with the headline acts being announced soon.
The other main music venue will be at Victoria Pier in the centre of old Lerwick. Among the acts taking to the stage will be a reunited Fiddler's Bid. Band member, Kevin Henderson says they have "very fond memories" of playing at the Tall Ships' first visit to Lerwick in 1999 and are "very excited" to be back performing in 2023. "It's been a bit quiet for Fiddler's Bid the past while due to the pandemic and availability. This will be the first concert since January 2022 and to be doing it in Shetland makes it all the more special for us."
Catriona MacDonald makes a welcome return to the Isles with her new project, a folk super-group which fuses the sounds of Shetland, Scotland and Scandinavia. Catriona will be joined by fellow fiddler, Annbørg Lien from Norway; Fair Isle's Inge Thomson (vocals, accordian & electronics); Swedish guitarist Roger Tallroth; and Shooglenifty drummer James Mackintosh.
All four nights of the event will showcase local and visiting DJs spinning records at Mareel. An early evening roller disco for 6-12 year-olds on Wednesday 26th and a disco for 12-17 year olds on Thursday 27th will feature "big, bouncy and glam" tunes from Roberta Pia.
The Saltire Street Band will bring bold brass flavours of New Orleans to the event with a stage performance; and also a Mardi-Gras style march along Commercial Street.
In Shetland Museum & Archives at Hay's Dock, a collaboration of Shetland-based musicians Jenny Sturgeon and Renzo Spiteri will produce a specially commissioned surround-sound installation in the Boat Hall. The piece will be created using sounds recorded on and around boats and the water.
More announcements will be coming soon.