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This year the St Magnus International Festival is taking to the West Mainland for its Magfest strand.  The Festival will be building an impressive outdoor stage which will appear in the gardens of Skaill House and bring a relaxed, celebratory feel to the Festival weekend with three acts appearing on Saturday 23rd June.   Local talent will perform alongside international visitors and the evening promises to be rich with variety and good music-making.

Hadhirgaan, Kirkwall Grammar School’s ever-evolving band, will start the evening off and showcase the wonderful, talented youth of Orkney.  An eccentric, energetic and virtuosic band from Lithuania – Subtilu-Z – will be next on stage with their eclectic mix of cover versions and jazz/folk compositions.  They are a fantastically vibrant group with a line-up of two accordions, drums and birbyne (a clarinet-like folk instrument) and have toured all over the world with their zany brand of toe-tapping music.  The final act of the evening will certainly keep the toes tapping and stomping. The Chair brings together some of the finest musicians in Orkney and can be relied on to bring the house down. 

The Outdoor Stage will be placed in the gardens at Skaill House and will provide a lovely opportunity for the audience to bring and picnic and enjoy the long midsummer day as long as the weather holds.

Alasdair Nicolson , Festival Director said  “It’s very exciting to have an outdoor stage as part of this year’s event and to be able to present a mini representation of the bigger Festival with young people, local performers and international guests all on stage together.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds. Tickets are selling really well. Who wouldn’t want to sit outdoor near Skaill and Skara Brae listening to a great performance in the open air?”

Orkney talents, young and old, are further represented throughout the Festival. St Magnus Cathedral is the venue for the annual outing of the Festival Chorus whose members will be singing side-by side with the amazing choir Sonoro.  Another collaboration involves Orkney Rocks! and the Mayfield Singers working with the international star soprano Measha Brueggergosman and her band in a very special programme of spirituals and freedom songs.

Two uniquely-created Johnsmas Foys bring students from Kirkwall Grammar School and Stromness Academy to the fore as performers, composers and writers and promise revealing reflections of what it’s like to be a young person growing up in Orkney. 

Nicolson said “The Festival has always put Orkney’s talent on stage alongside all of the other events and I’m particularly looking forward to the work from both secondary schools.  The amount of talent locally that I have to drawn on never fails to amaze me.


There is no overstating the potent sense of place that underpins the St Magnus Festival
The Herald

St Magnus International Festival, 13 Albert Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HP

T: +44 (0)1856 871445


St Magnus Festival is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity No SC011666. Company Number SC073825.

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