Shetland Events Diary by KGQ Hotels

We haven't listed everything that's on in our very active community but, listed below are the major events we know of. Loads of other events covering a wide range of interests may be found on The Shetland Times website.

Up-Helly-Aa and other Shetland Fire Festivals

Shetland is home to quite a few Fire Festivals and the "season" runs from early January to mid March each year. With the exception of the world famous main festival, Up-Helly-Aa, which is always held on the last Tuesday of January, they are all held on a Friday. Although the festivals running order is always the same, exact dates for each event change slightly each year (to try and avoid conflicts) and are published well in advance.
There are many Youtube and other social media videos and photographs of all the different Up Helly Aa's and we have added a few Youttube links to ge you started
Prospective visitors should note that we offer very competetive discounted direct booking room rates for these events that are NOT available to visitors who book rooms using "on-line" booking sites. To access these rates, please use the telephone/telefax numbers or email address shown at the top of the page. Alternatively, you may use the form on our Contact Us page quoting "Ref:Up-Helly-Aa" at the top of your enquiry.
Visitors should also note that for Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa the minimum booking is for 3 (three) nights and that we cannot source tickets for individual venues at any of the Fire Festivals.
You should also note that, although they might be able to provide you with a list of current Lerwick venues and hostesses, the Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa committee cannot source venue tickets.
It is also not possible for them to provide tickets, or information, for any of the other Fire Festivals held outwith Lerwick.
The following links point to Web Pages, Social Media and various articles describing each event.

Shetland Fire Festivals in Chronological Order

Scalloway Fire Festival - 1st or 2nd Friday in January

Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa, Last Tuesday in January

Lerwick Junior Up-Helly-Aa

Nesting and Girlsta Up-Helly-Aa, Early February

Uyeasound Up-Helly-Aa, 2nd Friday in February

Northmavine Up-Helly-Aa, 3rd Friday in February

Bressay Up-Helly-Aa, Last Friday in February

Cullivoe Up-Helly-Aa, Last Friday in February

Norwick Up-Helly-Aa, 2nd Friday in March

Walls Junior Up-Helly-Aa

South Mainland Up-Helly-Aa, 2nd Friday in March

Delting Up-Helly-Aa, 3rd Friday in MArch

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Shetland Folk Festival

One of Shetland’s biggest events is the internationally renowned Shetland Folk Festival which is held early in May each year. The incredible roster of artists includes some of the best local and visiting musicians there are, performing at venues throughout the isles. Begin the fun on board the Aberdeen to Shetland ferry during the unofficial opening in the middle of the North Sea!
Apart from the hugely popular opening night (held at Islesburgh) which is FREE ENTRY but on a strictly "1st come - 1st served" basis and with the number of admissions also strictly controlled, all the other venues are "ticketed" events and tend to sell out very quickly.
You should also note that the concert venues change each year and it is always worth checking the Folk Festivals' Concert Venues page.

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Shetland Wool Week

Held during September, this popular festival is a celebration of Britain’s most northerly native sheep and the craft producers that make the most of the surrounding resources. Events include exhibitions, open studio tours, and master classes with well-known local and international knitters and designers.
Originally started in 2009 (by Oliver Henry of Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) Ltd. and assisted by the late Jimmy Moncrieff of Shetland Amenity Trust) with the intention of promoting the local textile industry and heritage, Shetland Wool Week has quickly become a very popular event with a very healthy local, national, and international following.

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The Simmer Dim Rally

Motorcycling is very popular on Shetland and, as midsummer events go, the Simmer Dim Rally has to be right up there as hundreds of visiting motorcycle enthusiasts and their machines arrive on Shetland to party.
Held for more than 30 years, this hugely popular event takes place during the Simmer Dim in late June/early July each year, when it doesn't get dark on Shetland.
Unfortunately, admission and participation to this event is strictly controlled, limited to the first 400 applicants, and if you don't have a ticket, you won't get in, but having said that, you will be amazed by the sheer quantity and variety of motorcycles as they tour the Island in convoy or park up en masse.
You can check their website at Simmer Dim Rally or their Facebook page or, visit this link to the Northlink Ferries website which has an excellent article that gives plenty of extra information

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Shetland Classic Motor Show

One of Scotland's leading motoring events, the hugely popular Shetland Classic Motor Show takes place every 2 years and 2018 will see, possibly, hundreds of vintage cars, motorcycles and even military vehicles travelling to Shetland to take part.
The vehicles will generally tour the island in convoy before being parked up for display to the public at the Clickimin Leisure Centre
They don't have a website but you can check their Facebook page for up to date information.

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Taste of Shetland

This year's celebration of Shetland's larder will be held in the Clickimin Liesure Centre, Lerwick, from the 5th - 7th October and will feature stalls, cookery demonstrations and some pretty tempting samples. In attendace will be Gary Maclean, MasterChef: The Professionals Champion and Scotland’s first ever National Chef. A huge fan of Shetland and a passionate advocate for cooking fresh, nutritious and locally sourced food, Gary will be demonstrating his inspirational culinary skills.
We are offering, to direct bookings only, a special discounted rate of £45 for a single room (or double room for sole use) or a double room at £55 for a couple. These rates are NOT available via "on-line" booking sites and, if you wish to take advantage of them, you will have to contact us directly using the Telephone, Telefax or email address at the top of this page. Alternatively, you may use the form on our Contact Us page with the reference "Taste of Shetland" at the top of your enquiry.

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Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival

The annual Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival, normally held early to mid October, brings together the best of traditional music from Shetland, Scotland and beyond for a weekend of concerts, suppers and dances.
We are offering, to direct bookings only, a special discounted rate of £45 for a single room (or double room for sole use) or a double room at £55 for a couple. These rates are NOT available via "on-line" booking sites and, if you wish to take advantage of them, you will have to contact us directly using the Telephone, Telefax or email address at the top of this page. Alternatively, you may use the form on our Contact Us page with the reference "Fiddle and Accordion" at the top of your enquiry.

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Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year

Shetland's fiddle playing heritage is alive and well and this fiercely fought competition, open to up and coming young fiddle players aged 16 and under, proves it. Previous winners read like a fiddle players who's who.
They don't have a website but you can check out their Facebook page for more detail.

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Lerwick Lifeboat Open Day

Always a popular event for locals and visitors and well supported by Northlink Ferries, our SAR Helicopter and all the other local services. There is loads of stuff going on and it's a great day out.
Why not check their facebook page

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Lerwick Midsummer Carnival

The dates vary a little from year to year but, if your visits coincides with the carnival, enjoy the relaxed and happy party atmosphere.

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Bergen - Shetland Yacht Races

Keen sailors will be interested in this one as they watch the harbour fill with a large variety of visiting yachts of all classes.
We would like to suggest that both the Queens and Grand hotels, being very close to the harbour, are perfectly situated, comfortable "shore bases" for visiting yachtsmen and their passengers.

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Shetland Fiddle Frenzy

Organised and run by Shetland Arts, the Shetland Fiddle Frenzy is a 5 day festival packed with workshops, concerts, sessions and masterclasses celebrating the Shetland fiddle Style.
The next Festival will run from 18th - 22nd July 2019 and early booking of accommodation is advised.

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UnstFest is a week of fun events on Shetland's most northerly island of Unst. Activities from previous years have included: Cooking for bairns, Rollerwheels (skates, scooters and bikes at the leisure centre), a Teddy Bear Hospital where you can get your best pal mended, Fire Station open night, a Stone Skimming Championship, a guided walk to Hermaness and the UnstFest Summer Carnival.

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Shetland Nature Festival

Shetland has a wild magic all of its own. This land of sea and sky is bubbling with natural wonders and the chance of a surprise encounter lies around every headland and over every hill.
Run by Shetland Amenity Trust, the Shetland Nature Festival encourages everyone to get out there, explore and enjoy the world around them

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Shetland Agricultural Shows

As you would expect from a largely rural community, Shetland has a number of well supported agricultural shows that run through the summer months.
Voe Show – 4th August 2018, Walls Show – 11th August 2018, Cunningsburgh Show – 8th August 2018, Unst Show – 25th August 2018 and the Yell Show – 1st September 2018
It's not just farm animals and tractors, there is a lot of entertainment as well and, each and every one of them is a great fun day out for visitors who would like a taste of Shetland

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Lerwick Shopping Week

Lerwick Shopping WeekOrganised by Living Lerwick Ltd and held in the 2nd week of August each year, this week long event aims to promote the diversity of local businesses and attractions feature special discounts, competitions and live music along "Da street".

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Shetland Boat Week

Held mid August, Shetland Boat Week offers a range of maritime activities to enjoy.
These include talks about the history of fishing and shipwrecks in Shetland, boat trips and demonstrations of traditional skills.

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Da Big Bannock

Officially Shetland’s daftest festival, Da Big Bannock takes place in Northmavine and every year raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

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Mind Your Head Fun Run & Walk

Mind your Head is a Shetland charity formed to promote mental health positively.

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Another fine effort by Shetland Arts Trust. Shetland’s annual film festival is curated by celebrated film historian Linda Ruth Williams and film critic Mark Kermode, alongside our own Kathy Hubbard. It features a feast of film screenings, lectures and panel discussions involving national and international film industry professionals and film academics.

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Sponsored by Shetland Arts Trust, Shetland’s book festival welcomes writers of local, national and international renown and features a mix of readings, writing workshops, and book signings.

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Shetland International Guitar Festival

The Shetland Guitar Festival, held bi-annually, is dedicated to the memory of Peerie Willie Johnson, who invented a jazz-influenced accompaniment style of guitar playing. Visitors to the festival can expect concerts, educational events and the chance for guitar enthusiasts to meet some of the world’s finest musicians.

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