Aberdeen’s Festival of Light wins Festival of the Year Award

SPECTRA 2016 – Aberdeen’s spectacular festival of light – has won the Festival of the Year Award at The Drum Scottish Event Awards 2016.

The announcement was made at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last night (Wednesday 05 October).

Aberdeen City Council in partnership with arts-led production company Curated Place delivered the four-night light festival in early February, pairing leading international artists with Scottish collaborators creating North-east’s most successful event.

In only its third year SPECTRA was nominated in the categories for People’s Choice Event of the Year; Cultural Event of the Year; Large Event of the Year and Festival of the Year, and was up against long-established events including the Turner Prize, which was held in Glasgow earlier this year; the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Underbelly Circus Hub); The Enchanted Forrest; the Glasgow International Comedy Festival; and The Royal Highland Show.

Now a firm fixture on Aberdeen’s cultural calendar, this year’s SPECTRA was enjoyed by 35,000 visitors over the course of the festival. Union Terrace Gardens, St Nicholas Kirk, Marischal College and Seventeen were transformed with spectacular interactive and innovative light installations created by international artists and local talent.

Participatory workshops involved Aberdeen schools as well as professional development for local artists and students at the Anatomy Rooms and Seventeen.

A range of vibrant images and videos were shared across social media by visitors to the event who enjoyed jumping in Jen Lewin’s Pool – a series of pressure sensitive pads filled with LEDs that were arranged in Union Terrace Gardens, and a host of other interactive works.

Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Jenny Laing said: “It’s fantastic. We wanted SPECTRA 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.

“To win this award against such strong competition is a wonderful accolade and testament to our vision. It also underlines the hard work of our staff and our arts partner Curated Place in delivering such a unique festival for the people of Aberdeen and beyond. My congratulations go to all involved.”

Deputy Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Marie Boulton said: “Although still relatively young as a festival, SPECTRA 2016 was extremely popular and we are delighted that it has been embraced by our audiences.

“I would like to congratulate the teams responsible for delivering such a successful festival and look forward to seeing what SPECTRA 2017 can deliver.”

Andy Brydon, Director of Curated Place said: “We are extremely proud to be winners in the Scottish Event awards as it recognises the hard work, creativity and vision of both Curated Place’s team and our close collaborations with Aberdeen City Council’s culture and events teams.

“With next year’s festival in development this acknowledgement has fired us up to deliver a bigger and better festival than ever before.”

As well as scooping the Festival of the Year award SPECTRA 2016 was also shortlisted for the Cultural Event of the Year and the People’s Choice awards.

SPECTRA will return to Aberdeen in February 2017.