Announcement from Orkney Live Wire regarding Orkney Rock Festival 2020

We have, along with everyone else, been closely monitoring the unprecedented situation that has unfolded this year regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and unfortunately, after committee discussion and following the ever changing UK and Scottish governmental advice along with advice from Public Health, we have made the hard decision to cancel this year’s festival. As you can imagine we are absolutely gutted we can't go ahead.

This decision hasn’t been taken lightly but it is the right one to make. We feel under the current situation regarding Covid-19 that it just wouldn’t be possible or responsible for us to continue with the festival with the uncertainty of whether our venues (the local pubs) will be fully open with regards to physical distancing and the challenges it will bring in social circumstances for the foreseeable future and it would be unfair to put pressure on the acts, venues and staff alike to go ahead. This coupled with the ability to travel freely to and from the Orkney Isles and the health and safety of all the performers, audiences, bar staff and those that volunteer their time to help in the running of the weekend has helped make the difficult decision to cancel.

As always we are ever grateful for the support we have had from our venues, the musicians and acts, those who have provided accommodation, raffle, food, transport, sponsorship, tattoos & face paints, advertisement, time, laughs, hugs and more over the last 6 festivals, without it we could not have made it this far, our Rock Festival family and friends are amazing!

We are hoping to go ahead with our 7th Orkney Rock Festival the first weekend in September 2021 (3rd to 5th) although this will depend on the ever changing circumstances and how the current situation plays out so keep some time free and we’ll be looking forward to getting our hugs and laughs with you all then!

In the meantime, we would like to try putting on a ‘virtual rock festival’ if possible. Let us know who your past favourite acts were, share clips and photos of previous rock festivals with us that you would be happy for us to use. If you are a previous act and are up for being interviewed or have any footage you are happy to share let us know, message us through our email [email protected] and we will see what we can pull together for you.

Sending love, 20 second physically distanced hugs 🤗 and best wishes. Stay safe from all at Orkney Live Wire 🤘x

Keep in touch with us on Facebook, click the fb logo at the top of this page.

26th June 2020




A message to everybody who applied to play this year!

Thank you for applying, we have more applicants this year than we ever have had before- to the extent that we still haven't manage to choose!

We are very conscious we said we'd get back to you by the end of January, and apologise for the delay. If you can just hang on for a week or so yet, we hope to complete the reviewing and voting by the middle of February now.

Thanks for your patience
- The Orkney Live Wire Committee

Updated 5th February 2020



The 3rd to the 6th September 2020- put those dates in your diaries right now.

Arrange to get your car MOT'd - you won't be needing it. Cancel any non-essential procedures. 

Orkney Rock Festival VII is coming. 

Updated 18th November 2019



What a great festival we have just had. Best crowds, great vibe, great bands, more families, new young bands, lots of raffle tickets sold. The weather was crap but who cares, we all rocked.

Thanks to all the bands, venues, sponsors, volunteers, attendees... everybody made it what it was, and it's a credit to all of us, and Orkney. 

So let's do it all again next year. Dates to be confirmed very soon.

Meanwhile TAKE OUR SURVEY and tell us how you thought it went, or how we can make it better. 

Also post your pictures and videos to our Facebook page- click the Facebook icon in the topbar to find it.

Updated 4th September 2019




Revised Sunday MoHo schedule- see below.

Don't forget we also have great music on the go in Helgi's (Finn Philips, Ray O'Neill, and Johnny and Gemma) until 15.45, and an all ages schedule in the Sound Archive from 14.00 - 18.45 (Bonxie, Bryttania, Sheer, Angersay, and DeLorean Unplugged)

Still t-shirts and raffle tickets available.

A share of proceeds from the raffle will go to the Orkney Kidney Patients Association, and the collection money in the MoHo today will go to Alex Fender's electric wheelchair fund.

Updated 1.40pm on Sunday 1st September 2019



Our Shetland friends the Dirty Lemons have become the Broken Lemons and unfortunately can't play the Main Event, so please note the revised schedule below.

We hope to have some Acoustic Lemons at the MoHo tomorrow, keep an eye out for details. Meanwhile their MoHo slot will be filled by NEAR DEAF EXPERIENCE, thanks for stepping in, looking forward to it.

Updated 12:00 31st August 2019



Plan your weekend and scheme with your pals now. Have a good time, all the time.

Added 22nd August 2019



Available from

£20 for adults £10 for under 18s and under 12 are absolutely free!

The main event is the only place to catch all the visiting bands and there are local acts to be announced! Keep an eye on our Facebook page too:

Full schedule, merch details and band profiles to follow here, and on Facebook.

Added 9th August 2019



Deadline for visiting bands now passed...

The application deadline for 2019's visiting bands has now passed, and the deliberation must begin. But if you are a local act and fancy playing, there is still plenty of time to get in touch for pub gigs at the 2019 Orkney Rock Festival, running from 29th August to 1st September- see here for contact details.

Added 19th December 2018

Same time next year?

We're up for it. See below.

If you want to remember when the Festival starts, just note that the Main Event is three weeks after the County Show. So the first night is three weeks after the Dounby Show, i.e. three weeks after the Thursday before the second Saturday in August. What could be simpler?


Added 7/9/18

If you weren't there, you missed it

Whew! What a weekend! Kirkwall certainly knows the Orkney Rock Festival happened, the buzz the whole weekend was fantastic. 

After we decompress, we'll be in touch about our post-festival survey, which we'd appreciate if you can fill in. First though, lets say thanks.

Thanks to all of our fantastic visiting acts, The Sea Atlas, Crooked Little Vein, 1968, Bitter Divide (who drove from Andover and back to headline - respect!), Portalooth, and Counterfall, and of course also our friends from Shetland, Ten Tonne Dozer, Throat Locust, Forgotten Sons and DeLorean.

Thanks also to our brilliant local bands and volunteers who contribute so much to the festival, not least loaning us their gear, and their expertise! Our Sound People are the soundest of people. 

The whole idea behind it was to stimulate the local rock scene, and with new bands (and especially new young bands) performing at the festival for their first time this year, it seems to be working. Our longer established bands just keep getting better too- what a standard of music we have here.

The pubs and venues and our sponsors, Northlink and The Orcadian, are essential partners and we are very appreciative of their ongoing support. We also are greatly appreciative of everybody who donated raffle prizes, and we'll giving you a shout out on the Live Draw on Wednesday, and listing here and on the website.

Thanks to Sinclair Office Supplies, A Yarn, and The Orcadian Bookshop for selling our tickets, Trek and Travel for t-shirt printing, John Kemp's for embroidery, and Kerry Cooper for design.

And to all the people who come to the gigs, go to the Main Event, put money in the buckets and buy raffle tickets, thank you most of all. The Festival is the sum of its parts and you help make it happen too, you are part of the family.

Let's do it all again next year.

The Committee

[Pictured: Orkney Live Wire commitee and volunteers plus Main Event bands after Saturday's Main Event]

Added 3/9/18


2018 schedule

Download the schedule as a pdf here

Check out the visiting bands here

NB Bless are unable to travel up, so their place in the programme will be taken by... Counterfall

Added 29/8/18


Check out the visiting acts!

Find out all about our stunning visiting acts on the newly updated 2018 Visiting Bands page. I'm excited about the festival just having created the page, can't wait to feel the floor shake when these bands are playing live in front of me. Don't believe me? Check them out.

Festival schedule and tee shirts at the printers, local band profiles in The Orcadian tomorrow, it's getting close. Check back here regularly in the run up to see what's new.

Added 1/8/18


Orkney Live Wire is a group of music enthusiasts who aim to promote and support live music in and around the county.

Orkney Live Wire rallied together in the summer of 2014 to organise Orkney's first Rock Festival, held in early Sept 2014- the festival was a massive success showcasing local artists and along with visiting acts from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Shetland and inspired the organisers to continue in their promotion of live music throughout the Orkney Islands.

Upcoming events

As well as the Festival. Orkney Live Wire promotes gigs throughout the year, notably on County Show night, at Halloween, the New Year, and other times the fancy takes us. Keep an eye on our News and Events pages for what is coming up.

This year saw the fifth Orkney Rock Festival taking place over 3 days from 30th August-2nd September- more details on the pages for 2018 Festival.

PA Hire

Any profits are wholly reinvested in encouraging live music in Orkney. We've invested in a PA, drum kit, and bass and guitar cabs to make it easier to organise gigs and attract visiting bands.

The PA is available for hire, with or without sound engineering. Find out more here.

Social media

We have pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube that we want to make more of - they are linked to in our banner, above. Help us by taking picture and videos and posting them on our pages, and tag us using #orkneyrockfestival and #orkney_livewire

And link to us and cross post our pages and events using the AddThis sidebar on the left.

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