Aberdeen Festivals

A major new cultural initiative was launched in Aberdeen in September 2014 called Aberdeen Festivals.

Made up of nine of the city’s most successful festivals, the collective has joined forces to work together promoting Aberdeen’s distinctive festivals at a local, national and international level.

The festivals that make up the new cultural driving force are: Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Arts Across Learning Festival, May Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF), the Fifty Plus Family Festival, TechFest, North East Open Studios (NEOS), DanceLive and sound Festival.

It has also been announced that the group has secured a major sponsor as international energy company, Statoil, confirmed its support of the exciting new scheme. This partnership marks a major investment by the leading Norwegian energy company and underlines its commitment to the local cultural community in the city. It is also part of the company’s wider strategy to support arts, culture and community within the regions in which it operates.

Some main aims of the group includes to increase the profile of the festivals, bolster audiences and strengthen the sector through increased national and international awareness around the cultural vibrancy of Aberdeen and the surrounding region.

The collective represents everything from music to visual arts, science to dance as well as youth and over fifty’s programmes.

Festivals are such a strong cultural offer for the region that in the next month alone five major member festival events will kick off including TechFest, Fifty Plus Family Festival, North East Open Studios (NEOS), DanceLive and sound.

The official launch took place at Aberdeen Art Gallery where Philip Deverell, director of strategy at Creative Scotland talked about the national importance of festivals to the cultural and economic life of Scotland, and Professor Pete Stollery, Head of Music at the University of Aberdeen and Chair of the sound Festival, spoke about the positive local impact of the events on residents and visitors to the region.

Aberdeen Festivals is funded by Aberdeen City Council and Visit Aberdeen, the local destination marketing organisation.  Steve Harris, temporary chair of Aberdeen Festivals and chief executive of Visit Aberdeen said:

‘This is a fabulous new way for the region’s festivals to work together collaboratively to promote this city’s very distinctive and unique festivals offer.  We’ve seen this model of festivals working together in Edinburgh, Fife and all over the UK and so it’s a significant step change for festivals in the North-East to work together in this way.  We believe that by harnessing all that’s great about these events, the festivals will have added capacity to promote to wider audiences and add to the cultural vibrancy and profile of the city locally, nationally and internationally.  At Visit Aberdeen we very much look forward to working alongside our festival partners to ensure that visitors to the city are aware of some of the exciting events that these festivals programme throughout the year in Aberdeen.’

Head of Communications, Statoil Production (UK) Ltd, Ola Morten Aanestad said of the new initiative: ‘It’s very exciting for us to be involved in this major new cultural collective that will deliver real benefits to the local community and support new talent in music, dance and the arts.  The North-east of Scotland is a vibrant region to live and work and our commitment to the local community, the festivals, the cultural life of the citizens of Aberdeen and our staff makes this a wonderful concept to be involved in from the outset.  We are delighted to be a part of this innovative new partnership.’

As well as joint national and international promotion and marketing of the festivals through the Aberdeen Festivals group, the collective is also looking to add to the cultural and creative profile of the city, ensuring that residents that live and work in the North-east are offered the best possible opportunities to engage in the city’s exciting and diverse festivals.

The group will also look to attract more visitors to the region through increased promotion of the distinctive festivals that take place throughout the year.


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