The Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival



A Fiddle Festival?! Who wouldn’t want to experience that?? For nearly thirty years, the Shetland Islands in Scotland have held an annual Fiddle Festival. It’s a true taste of Scottish culture mixed with Shetland love, and is loads of fun!



During Jason’s placement in Shetland, we wanted to get in on all that Shetland had to offer. When we heard that a Fiddle Festival would be occurring while we were in Shetland, attending it was a must. It’s not every day you’re in the neighborhood of a fiddle festival, and boy was Shetland a great place for our first time experiencing one!




What we imagined the fiddle festival to be, and what it actually was are two completely different things. We thought we would be going to some concert type venue walking around different booths throughout Lerwick (the main city on Shetland). We were rather pleased when we found out this wasn’t the case.


The Fiddle Festival is a five-day event held at public halls/community centers scattered all across the Shetland Islands. Each evening there are different concerts/dances to attend, some even including supper! Each event showcased about seven different local and visiting fiddle and accordion players and bands before getting into supper followed by dancing the night away!





The weekend of the Fiddle Festival the weather was absolutely stunning. Wanting to explore more of the Shetland Islands, we decided to attend the concert/supper/dance in Unst – the far northern island in Shetland. The public hall was filled with locals from all over the island and we stuck out like sore thumbs!


The concerts were absolutely lovely; in fact, the whole night was. We sat and watched seven different musicians/bands play music like we’ve never heard before. Before the dancing began, we were served homemade soup and sandwiches, mingled with the musicians and locals alike, and tried some local Shetland beer.



Tables were cleared and seats moved around the outside of the room, then the dancing commenced. Before we knew it people were pulling us up on the dance floor insisting that we danced their traditional Scottish dances with them. We were blown away by how friendly people were and how patient they were with our lack of dance skills.


The rest of the evening was spent dancing or rather tripping over the musicians and locals with huge smiles on our faces!




Our answer?! Yes!!! We’re all about diving into the local culture, and a fiddle festival in Scotland is no exception. It costs about £15 per person, however, the talent behind the musicians at the Shetland Fiddle and Accordion Festival was worth much more than that! The concerts typically include a supper – don’t mistake this as a meal – and, in our experience, go until at least midnight!


If you are ever in the neighborhood of a fiddle festival, do yourself a favor and go to it! To get more information about The Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival check out their website here.





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