February is a good month to be in Shetland. There are a great many events to enjoy to while away the winter nights, including several community fire festivals!
Ultima Thule by Lucy Woodley is an exhibition in Bonhoga Gallery which tells the story of migrants who seeking a better life and flee from war and persecution. It runs from Friday 24th January until Friday 24th April 2020 and is well worth seeing!
The Bressay parkrun is a fun free timed 5k walk / jog / run at 09.30 every Saturday (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th February 2020). It’s open to all ages and abilities on an island which is a seven minute ferry ride from Lerwick. Register here before your first visit.
On Saturday 1st February 2020 at 19.00 there will be a Burns Supper Night and Peerie Dance with haggis, whisky, drams and dancing in the Skeld Public Hall. You’ll hear a traditional address to the haggis and vegetarian options, and a choice for the bairns will be available.
Full Tilt are a dynamic new folk band from Shetland, and they (Alan Small, Gemma Donal, Manus McGuire and Brian Nicholson) will be putting on a brilliant concert at St Colomba’s Church, Lerwick at 19.30 on Saturday 1st February 2020 – don’t miss it!
For fantastic live traditional music with a twist head along to The Lounge Bar on Saturday 1st February 2020 at 21.30 to hear Brian and Colin Live.
Following on from Junior Up Helly Aa on Monday 3rd February 2020 in the Sound Hall there’s the Junior Up Helly Aa Hop 2020. Starting at 18.30 and open to P7, S1 and S2, for a £2 entry fee there will be a buffet, live ceilidh music and a visit by the Senior Jarls Squad.
On the Friday 7th February 2020 it’s the Nesting & Girlsta Up Helly Aa. This is a fire festival for all the villages of Whiteness and Weisdale. Just under 300 guizars take part in the first rural fire festival of the season and the galley is taken to a burning site on the sea.
Around the World in 80 Days: An Evening with Mark Beaumont is a talk with films and photos from cyclist and adventurer Mark. It takes place on Friday 7th February 2020 at 19.30 in the Mareel and covers smashing the circumnavigation cycling World Record twice, capsizing in the middle of the Atlantic and many more amazing and inspirational stories. Tickets cost £16 and £14 for concessions.
In the Muckle Roe Hall on Friday 7th February 2020 there will be a superb concert by The Norman Willmore Quartet. This group blend Scandinavian and Appalachian folk music with free jazz. Head along to hear their distinctive sound, starting at 19.30.
4 of Scotland’s finest fiddle players; Bethany Reid and Jenna Reid from Shetland, and Lauren MacColl and Anna Massie from the Highlands have joined forces to weave a tapestry of melodies. Their group RANT, will be playing the Mareel on Monday 10th February 2020 at 19.30 and are not to be missed!
Following on from last month’s successful launch, Soup and a Show is a brilliant way to spend a lunch hour. Tickets cost £7 and include soup, bannocks, tea/coffee, and a 40-minute show from local comedians. This monthly event takes place on Thursday 13th February 2020 at 13.10 in the Mareel, Lerwick.
Uyeasound Up Helly Aa takes place on Friday 14th February 2020 on Unst. There are just under 200 guizers and two galleys! One is a decorative galley, used for the parade. The second is a burning galley; set on fire on the beach at the Shalder Taing, Uyeasound.
The Jellyman’s Daughter are Scottish duo Emily Kelly and Graham Coe and their music is a blend of bluegrass, post-rock, folk and soul. They’ll be live at The String at 19.30 on Friday 14th Febraury 2020.
On Wednesday 19th February 2020 at 19.30 the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Award winners (for Album of The Year in 2018) Breabach will be playing in the Mareel. They’ll be playing traditional songs and contemporary tunes inspired by global politics and the natural world.
Northmavine Up Helly Aa is on Friday 21st February 2020, and is a fire festival for Eshaness, Hillswick, North Roe, Ollaberry and Sullom. As well as a burning galley, in Northmavine a sailing galley is constructed, and the Jarl Squad take to the water if conditions are favourable!
Kinky Boots: The Musical was filmed live at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End and features songs from pop icon Cyndi Lauper! It will be screened in The Mareel Cinema at 13.45 on Sunday 23rd February 2020.
Antigone, Interrupted is a re-imagining the Greek tragedy of Antigone for contemporary audiences performed by Scottish Dance Theatre. It’s an intimate solo work, performed in the round, which can be seen in the Mareel on Thu 27th Feb 2020 at 19.30.
On Friday 28th February 2020 Bressay Up Helly Aa takes place on the island opposite Lerwick. There are around 100 guizers who take part and the burning of the galley takes place on ground near the Old Manse. There are celebrations in the Bressay Hall afterwards.
Also on Friday 28th February 2020 Cullivoe Up Helly Aa takes place on the island of Yell. Here the galley is led from Cullivoe hall to the marina. There it is set set alight and floated out to sea. Celebrations take place after in the local hall, and in the school.
Finally, on Saturday 29th February 2020 Norwick Up Helly Aa takes place in Norwick, Unst making it Shetland’s most northerly fire festival. There are around 100 guizers and the burning site is on lovely Norwick beach. The North Unst Public Hall is the venue for celebrations, skits and a supper dance for many hours later.
We hope that you have a fabulous time in Shetland in February!