Founded after a public meeting to gauge public interest in 2009, the festival was immediately hugely popular, with the initial idea for one hall soon scrapped for the current set up of five halls located in the South Mainland areas of Gulberwick, Cunningsburgh, Sandwick, Bigton and the Ness. Each take it in turns to provide a Jarl from the area.
With help from the Lerwick and Delting Up Helly Aa Committees, SMUHA came to life, and the first festival was held in 2010. Halls were organised, the galley and trailer built, torches made, a procession route and burning site set out, marshals found, programmes printed and a whole host of health and safety regulations dealt with to create what is a much-loved festival.
Activities on the day take the same format as in other areas: the Jarl Squad visit schools and care homes in the South Mainland, although those in Lerwick are included due to the close ties many involved in the community have in the town.