Every year, between January and March, Shetland’s dark winter nights are brightened by a season of spectacular fire festivals.
Organised and run by local volunteers primarily for the enjoyment of the communities involved, these Up Helly Aa festivals now attract an ever-increasing number of visitors from all over the world at a traditionally quiet time for tourism.
As part of our ongoing Promote Shetland marketing activity we capture and promote these festivals in a wide variety of ways. We deliver a co-ordinated, multi-channel marketing campaign, combining PR, video, social media, live broadcasts and web content.
A key part of our strategy is to go beyond covering the just the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, which is undoubtedly the biggest and most well-known of these festivals. The live broadcast of the evening procession of the Lerwick event is hugely popular, but we also seek to shine a spotlight on the many other similar events which take place all around the isles, each with their own unique character.
By promoting all of these events, not only do we show visitors what Shetland has to offer over winter, but also illustrate the strong community spirit of the islands, appealing to people seeking to move here for a better and more connected life.
We launched our activity for 2020 early in January with the release of our new fire festival season teaser video – a cinematic trailer summarising what Up Helly Aa is and what it means to the communities of Shetland.
We also run and manage the uphellyaa.com microsite, updated regularly with fresh content covering the year’s activities. On Up Helly Aa in Lerwick we broadcast live on Facebook and share the latest happenings via Instagram and Twitter. This year, we can expect more of the same, with hopefully more people than ever tuning in from around the globe to witness the spectacle of Shetland’s Up Helly Aas.
Commenting on NB’s coverage of this year’s fire festivals, managing director David Nicol said: “The work we’ve been doing to promote Shetland’s fire festival season over the last couple of years has been hugely rewarding and enjoyable. It’s very satisfying to be able to reach significant new audiences using social media, and it’s great to see that people all round the world are genuinely amazed by the existence of these unique festivals.”
Main header image courtesy of David Gifford