STRANGE DAY #13 : Up Helly AA


A pagan fire festival, Up Helly Aa is a tradition that comes to us from Scotland’s Shetland Islands. From January 21st through 27th,  we will celebrate the Viking in all of us with glasses of Blackmail – a sessionable Northern-style Milk Stout. On the evening of January 26th, we will be joined by musical guests Beledrone – a unique mash-up of Balinese Gamelan and Scottish bagpipes. Oh, and we might burn something too! So dust off your kilt and join us for an evening of revelry in support of a great cause – the return of the sun!

7:30 – 9:00pm

A Free Beer to those sporting a kilt.


Puffs of breath mist the cold air as a lone horn signals to the crowd of torch-bearing men. Old ballads & the sound of thousands of stamping feet accompany a massive Viking longship as it’s dragged through dark streets. The procession ends with the longship’s torching and is followed by uproarious celebration until the wee hours. This pagan fire festival ends Yuletide feasting and symbolizes the rebirth of the sun.

Let’s honour our inner Viking with a glass of ale and a toast to our fellows: “Drink hail! I drink & good luck be to you!”


Vancouver’s Beledrone is an eclectic ensemble of Scottish highland bagpipes, Balinese processional gamelan, solo voices (Ukranian bilij holos or “pure voice”) and chorus, forged by a Western classical “new music” sensibility into a seamless blend of musical traditions.


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