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Media release:

The 2009 Shetland Guitar Festival will take place between Friday 18th and Sunday 20th September with concerts in Unst, Lerwick, Brae and Bigton, educational events in schools throughout Shetland and the Classic Guitar Show and Trade Fair on Sunday 20th in Islesburgh Centre.

Known locally as the “Peerie Willie” Guitar Festival, the Shetland Arts event is dedicated to the memory of the late Peerie Willie Johnson, the highly regarded Shetland guitarist who pioneered the jazz influenced accompaniment style now prevalent in traditional Shetland music. Willie was influenced by the jazz musicians he heard on the radio as a young man, particularly guitarist Django Reinhardt, and this years festival has a “Gypsy Jazz” theme as tribute.

The festival gives audiences a chance to experience world-class performers playing a variety of styles on one of the world’s most popular and versatile instruments. As well as the visiting artists, the festival line up boasts some exceptional local players and young up and coming musicians.

Visiting artists

Visiting artists include: Lulo Reinhardt, great grandnephew of the late great Django; Itamar Erez, an Israeli guitarist, pianist and composer; Brian Gore, an American steel strung acoustic player; and Havana Swing, a Scottish ‘Hot Jazz’ quintet featuring three guitars, double bass and clarinet. Visit the Shetland Guitar Festival page for more information.


On Friday 18th in the Garrison Theatre, Lerwick, Lulo Reinhardt, Itamar Erez and Brian Gore will play a range of solo, duet and trio pieces. The three guitarists are currently on tour together under the International Guitar Night moniker, a project that aims to bring together interesting and innovative guitarists to exchange musical ideas, highlighting the virtuosity and diversity within the world of acoustic guitar. Young local guitarists Adam Johnson from Brae and Jonny Polson from Lerwick will support them.

The festival will also be heading north to Baltasound Hall on Friday 18th where Havana Swing will perform their trademark brand of ‘Hot Club de Paris’ inspired jazz. They will be supported by last year's Young Fiddler of the Year Maggie Adamson accompanied by well-known local guitarist Brian Nicholson, and young Unst guitarist Megan Burns who recently won over the crowds with her performance at UnstFest. The concert will be hosted by Unst based comedian and guitarist Sandy Nelson.

Then it’s south on Saturday 19th to the Bigton Hall where Lulo Reinhardt and Itamar Erez will headline, with support from Norman Goudie and Friends, a band rumoured to include prominent local musicians and jazz stalwarts Jack Robertson and Drew Robertson.

In Lerwick on Saturday 19th, in the opulent surroundings of Lerwick Town Hall, audiences will have another chance to see Havana Swing perform, supported by Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson.

Also on Saturday 19th, in the Long Room of Busta House Hotel, there will be a special acoustic performance by Brian Gore and Shetland Young Musician of the Year, singer Erin Sandison. The two musicians have been collaborating on songs by exchanging musical ideas across the Atlantic via the Internet and the Busta concert will be the first time they have played together. They will be supported by Adam Johnson and Jonny Polson.

All concerts except the Garrison Theatre will have bar facilities and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.


Tickets costing £12 (£10 concessions) for all concerts are available from festival sponsors High Level Music, 1 Gardie Court, Lerwick, 01595 692 618 and Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre, Lerwick - 01595 745 555. Box Office customers can buy tickets by credit card over the phone and collect them at the venue.

Classic Guitar Show and Trade Fair

As part of this year’s festival, the first Shetland Classic Guitar Show and Trade Fair will be held on Sunday 20th September. The show will feature a range of guitars including vintage, historically significant, hand made and unusual instruments. The trade fair will give visitors a chance to try out guitars, amps and effects pedals from manufacturers including Skyinbow, Moon Guitars, Ibanez and Fender. There will also be workshops hosted by artists performing at this year’s festival and an open stage concert to allow Shetland's aspiring young guitarists to take to the stage and show off their skills. To exhibit guitars or perform on the open stage contact Bryan Peterson at Shetland Arts on 01595 743 843 or Brian Nicholson at High Level Music on 01595 692 618

There will be a £2 entry charge payable at the door.

High Level Music and the Research Fishing Company sponsor the Shetland Guitar Festival

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