Amongst Scotland’s longest established folk festivals, the Orkney Folk Festival has been a world- renowned stage for over four decades, proudly showcasing the islands’ famed home-grown talent and local folk scene alongside leading artists from around the globe. Based in the West Mainland town of Stromness, the festival precedes the late May Bank Holiday each year – and though initially established to boost both tourism and folk music in the isles, is now one of the county’s busiest weekends, with a record-breaking 8,500 concert tickets sold over the four-day weekend in 2023. As well as a wealth of concerts, ceilidhs, clubs, sessions, workshops and more bursting out of every nook and cranny in Stromness, the festival annually takes shows on the road to a number of other island parishes, and one or two in the island’s capital, Kirkwall.
The festival is run entirely by volunteers – and has been since its inception in 1982. The eleven-strong year-round management committee, and six-person board, are supported by over a hundred others in the months and weeks leading up to the festival, bringing together a thriving community event. Orkney Folk Festival is a former Event of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, and will celebrate its 41st edition over the long weekend of May 23-26, 2024.