Programme 2022

Welcome to the Festival! We’re back with a fresh new format, with events indoors, outdoors and online. You can hear about the frontiers of astronomy and genetics, you can walk on coastal paths or along streets with stories, you can find out about the latest developments in wave and tidal power from the people directly involved.

We go back in time to the forming of Orkney’s rocks from the sediments in Lake Orcadie, and we look ahead to routes to a sustainable future. There are stories of voyages in polar waters and ships on the salt roads. There are Cathedral concerts, a candlelight lecture, and papermaking by the sea.

If you come to visit us, you will be able to experience so much of Orkney, but if you can’t then you can still enjoy much online. So wherever you are, join us on a seven-day journey with views across familiar harbours and out to far horizons. We look forward to seeing you!


Fire on the Amazon, fire in the Arctic. Orkney’s rocks forming in an ancient lake. Dinosaurs with wings. The origins of the potato, and the origins of Orkney’s own grain. The days of early radio. The Caithness genius who invented the fax machine, and

Art & Film

Among the exhibitions, art meets geology in The Rock Cycle, and it meets poetry and natural history in When the Grass Dances, with a film too. Other films include island elements of Orkney and a filmed composition of drawing, painting and sound from the Ness of Brodgar excavations, evoking the physical existence of the dig, in a flow of voices and images.


The programme will include two concerts in St Magnus Cathedral. For one of them we’ll go back to the 17th century and hear music by Humfrey and Handel, Monteverdi and Vincenzo Galilei. There will be Buxtehude and Judith Weir too; and the music of

Walks 2022

Here is an opportunity for outdoor activity during the Festival. Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor of Wild Orkney Walks has put together a special programme of walks in varied parts of Orkney, to provide a range of hill views and coastal scenes.


We’re going out into the fresh air on various occasions this year, covering topics ranging from energy to archaeology. You can learn about wave and tidal power, see fuel cells, seek out a site where earls feasted, walk a route of rocks and sea

Special Events

There are several special occasions in the Festival that are parts of a true Orkney experience. On Broad Street in Kirkwall, in front of St Magnus Cathedral, on the Saturday afternoon there’s the Vintage Rally, where you can see cars and engines and tractors


We have a rich and varied programme for schools – two programmes indeed, one for primary and one for secondary. It’s thanks to the many organisations and individuals who have kindly provided funding for the various activities to come to Orkney and visit schools with no charge.