Shetland Songwriting Festival, a weekend of songwriting workshops and concerts meant to take place on Shetland in September, is moving online.

After a successful first year in 2019, the weekend of songwriting workshops has no choice but to move online as festivals and gigs across the country are cancelled or postponed.

Burgeoning songwriters will have the chance to explore the tools of songwriting - including song structure, lyrics, melody, meter, song subject, and collaboration.

According to singer-songwriter and Festival Director Jenny Sturgeon, the aim of the festival is “to spark ideas in a relaxed, friendly and encouraging environment”, and is open to everyone from complete beginners to experienced songwriters.

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She said: “I was holding out to see whether we might be able to do it in person again, but because everything is so uncertain, we decided to commit to doing it online.


“The response has been great so far, and I think it has really opened it up to a lot more people.

“The idea is that it is an immersion experience for participants, who get four workshops led by two amazing songwriters and excellent communicators.

“The great thing about it being online is that people can take part from anywhere.”

The festival, taking place online over 19-20 September, will involve 11.5 hours of workshops, a Saturday concert ticket and access to the Sunday “sharing session”.

Festival participants are invited to learn and develop thanks to guidance from some of the very best UK songwriters and tutors.

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Hannah Read, the Brooklyn-based Scottish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter and award-winning songwriter, fiddle player and banjoist Rowan Rheingans will be leading the 2020 online workshops.

Organiser Jenny Sturgeon is also urging those who might struggle to attend the festival because of financial reasons to apply for the four bursaries on offer this year.

Two fully-funded places, as well as two partially-funded places will be available.

Sturgeon said: Now more than ever there are financial difficulties for lots of people, particularly in the arts sector, so the idea was to open up the festival and make it more available to lots of different people.

“It’s open to anybody to apply, and I’m just asking people to send me 100 words on how they would benefit from the fund."

You can find out more about Shetland Songwriting Festival 2020 here.