We know that some people look at a map, see Aberdeen in the north-east corner of Scotland and think that it’s somewhere beyond the back of beyond where they’ll be unable to enjoy all the arts, crafts, music, theatre and cultural events that are available in ‘big cities’.
As we’ve already demonstrated in previous blogs, such views are, well, to be blunt, completely wrong. Aberdeen, despite the fall in the price of oil (which has actually had the benefit of reducing house prices), is still a rich, diverse and vibrant place to live, work and enjoy the good things of life.
This most notably manifests itself in the range of different types of festivals we have every year. Tens of thousands of people enjoy and take part in these events. It’s not just music: dance, science, arts, youth and architecture (amongst others) are all featured every year in the north-east of Scotland’s thriving festival scene.
So much so, there is actually a grouping, called (somewhat obviously!) Aberdeen Festivals, which consists of 10 festivals whose organisers have come together to promote and develop their various, distinctive offerings. Space doesn’t allow me to go into too much detail, but perhaps the best known of these is the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, which has its roots in the International Festival of Youth Orchestras, first held in St Moritz in Switzerland in 1969. The Festival ‘moved’ to Britain in 1973 and established itself in Aberdeen for the next five years, during which time it began to incorporate other art forms, and in particular dance, jazz and choral music. In 1979 it was decided to base the Festival permanently here and the following year it was renamed the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. From then on it has gone to strength and attracts thousands to the city to take part, watch and listen to some of the most exciting young talent in the world.
Other festivals under the Aberdeen Festivals umbrella include The Jazz Festival (held earlier this year, in March), True North, which will be held between 23 to 25 September 2016 and celebrates the local, north-east singer-songwriter traditions, covering a wide array of music from ballads to contemporary song, and Techfest, which runs throughout the year and promotes the extremely important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to a wider audience.
In addition to those described briefly here, there are festivals around music, dance, sound and light (the latter in the stunning Spectra Festival, held in February this year). I trust I’ve whetted your appetitive and if you did think that Aberdeen and north-east Scotland is a cultural desert (as if you ever would!), then that’s certainly not the case now. If you want to find out more about Aberdeen Festivals, why not visit their website, here.