We know how to folking party
I’m sure many people have an image of folk music fans as middle-aged couples in sensible sweaters and walking boots, probably with glasses and slightly crazy hair, sipping halves of real ale while tapping their feet to some guy with a fiddle playing a tune about how “my true love went and left me when she fell a-down the well”.
The Shetland Folk Festival couldn’t be further from that image if it took place on the moon! This is a real festival; three days of loud music, wild parties and more whisky than I’ve ever seen in my life. I was there last year and had to take a week off work to recover! Many gigs went on until 3 or 4am, at which point we’d all be invited back to a local’s house, where the music and drinking would continue, until suddenly it was time for breakfast and the morning music seminars. I’d taken my graphic and art supplies with me, intending to work on a couple of projects in the hours I wasn’t at festival events; they never got unpacked.
I booked in for this year’s event as soon as tickets became available. One of the best things about the Shetland Festival is the way the local community welcomes you in. All the performers who come from outwith the islands stay with local people, and many still have room to put up visitors too. I’m camping this year, but last year I slept on the sofa of a very friendly woman called Mary who cooked the best breakfast I’ve ever tasted. I’m hoping if I turn up at her door one morning on this trip, I might get the chance to enjoy some second helpings!
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