Aberdeen’s Festival of Light wins double at Festival of the Year Awards

SPECTRA 2017 – Aberdeen’s spectacular festival of light – has won Large Event of the Year and Team of the Year at The Drum Scottish Event Awards 2017.

The announcement was made at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last night (Wednesday 11th October).

Last year, SPECTRA was nominated for three awards eventually walking away with Festival of the Year 2016.

SPECTRA is produced by Curated Place for Aberdeen City Council, supported by Event Scotland and Creative Scotland, and sees local and international artists creating spectacular light installations across the city center each February.

The 2017 festival highlights included CLOUD by Canadian artists Caitlyn r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret, an interactive sculpture featuring 6000 incandescent light bulbs; Les Araignees by Group LAPS, a light installation filling St Nicholas Kirkyard with stick figure spiders which came to life with a spooky musical score. The festival also welcomed BAFTA award-winning artist Seb Lee-Delisle and his Laser Light Synths installation to Marischal College

In only its fourth year SPECTRA was nominated in the categories for Festival of the Year, Cultural Event of the Year, Large Event of the Year and Team of the Year and was up against long-established events including the Illumination Harbour Festival of Light from the Scottish Maritime Museum; HebCelt from the Hebridean Celtic Festival Trust; the Glasgow International Comedy Festival; and P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea.

Now a firm fixture on Aberdeen’s cultural calendar, this year’s festival was enjoyed by around 65,000 visitors across 4 days, almost double the attendance of the 2016 festival.

Participatory workshops involved Aberdeen schools as well as professional development for local artists and students. Art and culture hub Seventeen hosted children’s’ workshops, lluminating Geometry, where SPECTRA Artist in Residence Jenny Dockett taught participants how to create LED lanterns. Participants work from the Secret Cities Aberdeen, Cityscapes and Archive workshops and Photoshop Masterclass were also on display throughout the 4 days.

New to the programme in 2017 was the addition of fifth site, St Nicholas Centre Roof Top Gardens. The Gardens were converted into a live music stage, produced by True North Festival in collaboration with Aberdeen Performing Arts, and saw local bands and performers entertain the crowds.

Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson Councillor Marie Boulton said “It is fantastic to have the growing success of SPECTRA recognised with another win from the Scottish Event Awards for the second year running.

“To win this award against such strong competition is an incredible example of how our staff, volunteers and our arts partner Curated Place work together in delivering such a unique festival for the people of Aberdeen and beyond.

“Although still relatively young as a festival, SPECTRA 2017 is proving to be an extremely popular event year on year and we are delighted that it has been embraced by our audiences.

“Our vision for SPECTRA is to be a signature cultural event for the region and further afield, which would showcase what Aberdeen can offer as a contemporary city with a strong events programme combined with cultural heritage.

“I would like to congratulate the teams responsible for delivering such a successful festival and look forward to seeing what SPECTRA 2018 can deliver.”

Andy Brydon, Director of Curated Place said: “Once again, we are extremely proud to take home the Large Event of the Year and Team of the Year Awards as it reinforces the impact that SPECTRA has as a Cultural event.

Our close partnership with Aberdeen City Council has strategically grown SPECTRA from a small, local arts event into one of the stand out major cultural events of the North East. To date we have attracted more than 110,000 visitors to the event, doubling our footfall with each outing.

The programming is diverse mix of large-scale public realm light art accompanied by more intimate, artistically challenging and thought provoking work resulting in a festival that is accessible as well as introducing audiences to art they will never have seen before.

“SPECTRA 2018 is already shaping up to be our biggest and best festival to date with an extended music programme and the return of the Catalyst conference".