Media release:

Shetland Arts’ flagship music event Fiddle Frenzy received two nationally important accolades this week.  It has been nominated for Event of the Year in the Scottish Traditional Music Awards and, with the publication of the Scottish Arts Council’s artistic evaluation, it is sited as one of the best music and cultural festivals in Scotland. Fiddle Frenzy’s high standards and professionalism were also reflected by the unusually high rating in the point scoring section of this document.

2008 was Fiddle Frenzy’s fifth year.  The fiddle school with a cultural festival showcases the best of Shetland’s traditional musicians and tutors, helping revive and teach traditional Shetland styles and compositions. It regularly attracts students from Japan, USA, Germany, Bermuda, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland and Australia, as well as from across the UK.  Shetland’s Young Fiddler and Young Traditional Fiddler of the Year each receive a scholarship to the school annually and this is being expanded to bring in aspiring young players from across Scotland to work together on an intensive study programme in 2009.

The sixth Scottish Traditional Music Awards ceremony is scheduled to be held in Glasgow’s atmospheric venue The Old Fruitmarket on 6 December when the winners of each category will be announced. Winners are selected by the general public and votes can be cast online until 21 November at

Many Shetland acts and events such as the Folk Festival and the Accordion and Fiddle Festival have been nominated in past years and received fantastic voting support from the Shetland public and fans of traditional music across Scotland. Shetland Arts would like to encourage everyone to get behind the youngest of Shetland’s traditional music festivals and vote for it.

The Scottish Arts Council evaluates many events but it is rare for such high praise to be given. Marie Fielding, SAC specialist adviser, visited the 2008 event observing classes, the club and concerts, speaking to tutors, students, organisers and visitors, and on every category of her evaluation Fiddle Frenzy scored “good” or more often “excellent”.  The document was published on the Scottish Arts council website on Friday 31 October.

Event organiser Richard Wemyss said he recognised the fact that all Fiddle Frenzy’s visitors invest significantly to come and study fiddle in Shetland. Many bring their partners and families and stay for at least ten days taking up the cultural tour and concert options that are on offer and they all expect very high standards. Shetland Arts’ aim is to live up to all these expectations providing the individual attention that a cultural experience event like Fiddle Frenzy aspires to. “We are all working hard to make Fiddle Frenzy the best Fiddle School in the UK”, he said.  Richard also thanked the tutors, the advisory group, and the community hall committees who go out of their way to welcome our visitors, and the Shetland Arts Events team for their constant dedication to every little detail, ensuring that each visitor gets a unique musical and cultural experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

To read the evaluation go to link on For further information contact Shetland Arts, T 01595 743843,

Notes to editors: Shetland Arts Development Agency will receive £156,803 from the Scottish Arts Council towards the cost of foundation funding for 2008/09 to support its role in promoting and developing the arts in Shetland and assisting individual practitioners to achieve their creative potential.

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