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Events In Unst

There is always something going on in Unst and visitors are welcome to participate in most events.

If you would like find out about other events on Shetland please visit http://visit.shetland.org/events

Regular and Recurring Events

Unst Music & Dance Club (UMDC)

Focusing mainly on music, these nights take place weekly and visitors are always welcome to listen or take part. You can catch the UMDC in Saxa Vord Lounge Bar and we usually try and arrange this on Thursday, but please contact us to check:


Peerie Dances

Peerie Dances are held every fortnight on Unst in June, July and August. “Peerie” is small in the Shetland dialect, and in this case it means that the dances are intimate, sociable affaires with warm and welcoming atmospheres. Visitors of all ages and abilities are always made extremely welcome and there are plenty of locals on hand to demonstrate the steps and guide people through the dances. Once bitten you will be completely smitten – they are great fun.


"Foy" translates roughly as gala or feast – though they can be musical feasts as well as gastronomic – and they are very popular in Shetland.

Chief among them is the Johnsmas Foy. Johnsmas originally marked the arrival of the Dutch herring fleet in mid summer (see History), a hugely important event in the Shetland calendar.  Today, the Johnsmas Foy is Shetland’s festival of the sea – a celebration of Shetland’s connections to the sea and also of its food, crafts and culture, especially musical culture. It lasts from the 20th to the 29th of June and is a major celebration throughout Shetland. See the Johnsmas Foy website for details.

Foys take place in other parts of Shetland, including Unst. Details to follow.

An Up Helly Aa in UnstUp Helly Aa

Shetland’s Viking fire festivals. The largest Up Helly Aa in Shetland takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January each year and is the biggest fire festival in the world. Up to 1,000 Viking “guizers” march through the streets in full costume with flaming torches before ritually burning a longship; after which its party time with music, dance….and much, much more.

Unst has two of its own:

Uyeasound Up Helly Aa

Celebrating the approaching spring, a Viking “Jarl” (earl) leads his guizers through the streets before the ship burning on the shore, followed by the compulsory celebrations to follow! It takes place in mid-February

Norwick Up Helly Aa

The Norwick Up Helly Aa takes place a fortnight later, in early March, and is the most northerly in Shetland 

Unst Fest

Provisional dates for 2012 are 12th - 22nd July

This week-long event is great for the whole family.  With a variety of events planned there's everything from bannock workshops, fishing, guided walks, live music  and much more.  Details for the 2012 event will be confirmed soon.

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers markets, focusing on the finest of locally grown produce, are held once a month and are an excellent opportunity to buy the freshest of food and to meet the island’s people.  

Angling Competitions

Unst Angling Club holds competitions throughout the season – both loch and sea angling.

Sailing Events

Sailing is another very popular pastime and regattas are held throughout the summer – in both conventional dinghies and in Shetland yawls.

Village Hall Chip Nights 

Fish & Chip Nights are regularly held in village halls on Sunday evenings. Local volunteers fry the fish and chips - and a range of other foods besides - and the bar is also open. Very popular with locals, this is a great opportunity for visitors to mix and experience another side to island life.