Jun 082017

Aberdeen’s Very Own Music Festival Returned for its Third Year, and Aberdeen Voice’s Craig Chisholm was there to review. Photos by Craig Chisholm.

With no T in The Park planned this year what are Scottish music fans supposed to do for their Summer festival fix?

Well, for residents of the North East, the answer was right on their doorstep as Enjoy Music returned for its third and, arguably, most successful year.

Boasting headliners such and Chase & Status, John Digweed and the legendary Primal Scream the festival moved up a league and proved not only was it here to stay but that it was also ready to expand and become a fixture of the festival circuit.

Unfortunately, however, things do not always go without a hitch.

A minor issue of missing toilets caused the opening of the festival to be delayed a couple of hours.

But times of hardship can bring out the best in people and it’s to the eternal credit of the organisers and their team that they managed to not only get things back on track but also not drop any of the acts from the bill.

Credit must also go to the bands performing on the main stage in the afternoon as they truncated their sets slightly to accommodate all acts and give everyone their time in the limelight.

Kicking things off are Aberdonian rockers The Ruckus who deliver a short set of, as they describe it, “no nonsense guitar driven rock n roll” and as far as descriptions go that’s certainly one that describes things perfectly.

Afternoon slots are also performed by Montrose band Emerald Sunday with their indie and britpop influenced rock and hugely popular local cover band FUBAR who provide some technically impressive renditions of Queen and AC/DC among others.

The hard rock takes a back seat for a while after this and gives way to the more soulful and funk sounds of FaR.

Led by the striking and powerful vocalist Fifi Greasly the band prove the perfect sound to an afternoon in the sun.

The same also applies to the magnificent Ransom FA. Mixing the urban sounds of hip hop, grime and trap the Aberdeen based crew pull of a short but energetic and forward thinking set to an obviously impressed crowd.

But, unfortunately, the sun doesn’t last and, as is customary at music festivals in Scotland, the heavens open.

It rains during sets by The Complete Stone Roses and acclaimed local indie band The Little Kicks.

That doesn’t stop the crowd from enjoying them however – The Complete Stone Roses pull off a pretty good approximation of their Manchester heroes.

The Little Kicks, led by frontman Steve Milne, perform an infectious and memorable set in support of their latest album, Shake Off Your Troubles.

The rain does however provide an unexpected bonus for bands and DJs playing in the tents as a lot of the crowd take shelter.

The Retro and Alternative tent has an eclectic bill that combines acoustic (Mark Buchan, Peterhead’s Marc Culley and others), the melodic Byrds and britpop influenced rock from Keith band The Carousels and hip hop from local rap legends SHY & DRS.
The retro part of the day is provided by a quite compelling performance by Bob Wyper in his guise as Rod Stewart, which goes down a storm in the packed tent as he runs through Rod’s big hits as the actual storm rages outside.

Also performing some covers, albeit in a unique style, are young band Gleadraich.

Hailing from Carnoustie the band perform songs by Blondie and The Undertones and many more with the added attraction of a bagpipe player taking centre stage, mimicking the vocal parts of the songs in most cases. It’s an unusual and entertaining concept that wins them over new fans of all ages.

The night in the tent is rounded off by a set by Ransom FA’s official DJ, Nojan and a set by Aberdonian alternative rockers The Cappolos.

Festivals aren’t just for grown-ups though, and Enjoy has catered for the kids as well – a whole section of the field is set aside for them which has slides, football challenges, colouring in walls, Disney princesses and Marvel Superheroes casually walking past. A family tent provides such entertainment as hip hop dancing for the eager kids. 

In the middle of it all is a Wrestling ring manned by Wrestlezone Scotland. There is a constant crowd packed  around the ring (not all of them children either!) as the Wrestlezone boys and girls provide action packed entertainment throughout the day.

There must have been a few parents pestered afterwards to get tickets to Wrestlezone’s Aberdeen Anarchy event at the Beach Ballroom on the 10th June once they’d seen this performance.

Back to the music however, and for those that prefer dance beats to electric guitars, two venues are available on site.

The TLF & Rondevue wigwam is steady all day with the crowd appreciating sets by a talented DJs such as Danny Reid, Tim Haux and Flexi.

It’s the perfect place to chill out in the sun and appreciate the day.

The Digital Love & Majestic Tent is the bigger of the dance stages and it proves immensely popular throughout the day to clubbers.

By the time that dance titan John Digweed takes the stage for a two hour set the tent is rammed with the faithful who witness a peerless set from the legendary DJ.

Closing off the Main Stage are the two biggest bands of the night.

Primal Scream are, as usual, a breath-taking live act. Their 75 minute set contains a few choice cuts from their latest album – 2016’s Chaosmosis – such as 100% or Nothing, Where The Light Gets In and Golden Rope as well such classics as the southern fried boogie of Jailbird, the laid back dubby grooves of Star, and the psychedelic dance classic Slip Inside This House.

The band close off their set with four of their absolute classics – Loaded, Country Girl, Rocks and Movin’ On Up before departing the stage to appreciative and ecstatic audience. The bands next Scottish performance is as special guests to The Stone Roses at a sold out Hampden Park in a few weeks so it’s a genuine thrill and a commendable coup to the Enjoy organisers to have them perform in a much more intimate outdoor setting.

In another coup of a booking, Chase & Status take the stage for a DJ set of high energy dance and rap.

Credit to the crowd at this point too.

After over 9 hours of music they are still packed at the front and “giving it large” for their set which the faithful clearly never want to stop.

But eventually it must end, and as the crowd depart after the last acts they must already be looking forward to next year’s event – and possibly making a mental note to take a rain jacket next time, just in case.

How the promoters top this year’s event remains to be seen. But one thing for sure is Enjoy Music is only going to get bigger and better as it goes on.

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Jul 112016

animals-176860_960_720With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Duthie Gardens will host a Butterfly Identifying and Recording Workshop this Wednesday.
Anyone interested should book now to secure a place on this workshop (Wednesday July 13, 10am to 3pm) to find out how to identify and record butterflies in your area.

Participants will spend the morning indoors at the Duthie Winter Gardens learning about butterflies, then go for a walk in the gardens in the afternoon.

Please bring your own packed lunch and suitable shoes and clothing for the outdoor session.

This workshop is led by Butterfly Conservation Scotland Staff and is part of the Urban Butterfly Project.

Loss of habitat, use of pesticides, weather, climate change are all having an impact on the butterfly and moth populations of Scotland.

Conservation is key, and everyone can do their part to help butterflies. Leave a corner of your garden with long grass and plants that butterflies use. Learn more on this course.

For more information visit the Urban Butterfly Project

To book one of the few remaining spaces, contact amcclusky@butterfly-conservation.org or call 01786 459 811.

Aug 102015

duthie-park-bandstand-featWith thanks to Dave Macdermid.

This month’s 5th Friends of Duthie Park Open Day is just six days short of being on the 100th anniversary of one of the largest events ever held in the park.

On the 22nd August 1915, during World War One, no fewer than 26,000 people, a significant proportion of the city’s population at the time, crammed into the park at sixpence a head for ‘Gala and Heather Day’, an event held to raise money for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Included in the attractions were a musical drill by a team of ladies, displays of physical drill by a squad from the Gordon Highlanders, exhibition dances and a motor cycle gymkhana.

Fast forward one hundred years and, as Friends Chairman Alan Amoore explains, there are similarities between the event then and the forthcoming Open Day on Sunday 16th August, which is being held in association with Aberdeen Sports Council.

“While I’m not sure we’ll manage to get 26,000 through the gates, our nominated charity for this year is the Archie Foundation, which is of course is based at ARI. In addition, we’ll have dancing demonstrations, fitness drills, vintage vehicles and lots more including wrestling, horse and cart rides, Aberdeen FC Community Trust, The Paul Lawrie Foundation, the Bon Accord Silver Band and much more. And while it cost 6d to gain entry a century ago, our event is completely free, so not everything has gone up in price.”

The full running order for the event, which takes place between noon and 4 pm on Sunday 16th August, is as follows:

Bandstand – Noon – 2 pm; Bon Accord Silver Band

Stage – Noon – Bokwa with Jodie; 1 pm – Zumba & Powerhoops with Elma; 2 pm – Sharon Gill School of Dancing; 2.30 pm – Airyhall Dancers; 3.15 pm – Granite Beat.

Park Area – It’s A Knockout; Horse & Cart Rides; Bouncy Castles; British Military Fitness Obstacle Course; Wrestlezone Scotland; Aberdeen FC Community Trust ‘Speed Cage’; Paul Lawrie Golf Foundation; Paddle Boats, Vintage vehicles; Face Painters; Stalls; Spree Media; Refreshments.

Winter Gardens – Spike the Talking Cactus; McPuddick.

Apr 042014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.


Left to right: BP employees Lindsay Smith, Bridget Phimister, Tim Smith, Linda Hodgson. Newsline Media limited.

Staff from energy giant BP have been hard at work in Aberdeen’s Duthie Park, planting hundreds of new Pony Park trees as part of their support for the Friends of Duthie Park.

BP is an enthusiastic supporter of Duthie Park and, in addition to purchasing trees on behalf of the ’Friends’, sponsored last year’s annual Christmas Concert, staged within the Winter Gardens.

Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications & External Affairs at BP, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support the great work both Aberdeen City Council and the Friends of Duthie Park are doing to restore the park to its former glory. In time, the trees we have sponsored and planted will make a real difference to visitors’ experience of this area of the park.”

Chairman of the Friends of Duthie Park Tony Dawson added:

“The support we receive from BP and others from within the private sector is really appreciated and makes a substantial difference within the park, which last year recorded record visitor numbers. Thanks to the efforts of BP and our other partners, I am confident visitor numbers will continue to increase going forward.”

The trees planted by BP staff included Oak, Scots Pine, Beech, Birch, Larch and Willow, all of which are native to Scotland.

Further information can be found at www.friendsofduthiepark.co.uk

Aug 272013
Douglas Craig Duthie Park

Douglas Craig (centre with rake), Tony Dawson (with sunglasses) and staff and volunteers at Duthie Park.

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Yet further improvements are set to be undertaken at Duthie Park after the Friends of Duthie Park received a substantial five-figure financial boost from the city’s Craig Group.
Founded and established for over 80 years in Aberdeen, Craig Group’s global shipping and energy services provide vital rescue and procurement services to offshore industry.

Douglas Craig, the company’s chairman and managing director said:

Duthie Park holds a special place in the heart of Aberdonians and visitors to the city, so we are very pleased to be associated with its revitalisation and the educational resource now available. My father and former chairman of the group, David, was a very keen gardener and it is fitting that our support includes horticultural enhancements.”

The money will be spent on winter bedding and rockery plants, new equipment for the park’s classroom, and to produce the first ever Friends of Duthie Park charity calendar.

Tony Dawson, the Friends’ chairman responded:

The Craig Group’s generosity is really appreciated and will enable projects to happen that otherwise would not be possible. Producing a Friends calendar has been on the wish list of our group for some time and will now be a reality for 2014. We’re sure it’ll prove very popular, particularly to the significant number of ex-pats who are located throughout the world and for whom Duthie Park holds special memories.”

The calendar, costing £6.99, will be available at DuthiePark, online and at selected outlets.

Duthie Park is among Scotland’s most popular parks, with over half a million visitors every year. It was bequeathed to the city in 1883 by Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie in remembrance of her brother and uncle. As one of the finest examples of late Victorian public parks it is included in Historic Scotland’s Inventory of Designed Landscapes and Gardens.

The recent restoration and reconstruction of several lost features was inspired by old written and photographic sources and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Aberdeen City Council. The restored DuthiePark was officially reopened on 30 June.


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Mar 142013

With thanks to Dave Macdermid

One of the objectives of the ongoing DuthiePark restoration project is to create, in conjunction with the Park Ranger Service, a natural wildlife area with frogs, ducks and swans which, it is hoped, will attract a variety of new visitors to the park can also be utilised for school projects.

To assist in this becoming a reality, the Friends of Duthie Park and Aberdeen Greenspace have organised for the Middle Lake to be planted with natural Scottish wildlife plants this Sunday, 17th March and are seeking volunteers to help with this exercise.

Duthie Park Outreach & Training Officer Arthur Gill commented:

“Members of the public are invited to join us on Sunday for what will be a different type of planting than that we normally tackle.  

“It will be muddy so wellington boots are a necessity.”

Anyone interested in assisting should come to the Middle Lake at noon this Sunday.  All ages are welcome!

Aug 172012

The BiG Partnership’s Dave Macdermid advises Aberdeen Voice readers on the upcoming open day and other developments.

Friends of Duthie Park host their second Open Day this Sunday having received a boost with financial support from influential local group ‘Aberdeen 1st’.

Commenting on the support, Friends Chairman Tony Dawson said:

 “While many of entertainers are giving their time for free on Sunday, it does cost a fair bit to stage an event such as this as we are so grateful to Aberdeen 1st for this wonderful gesture. Sunday will be a fantastic day and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind to us.”

Aberdeen 1st’s Jeanette Forbes added.

 “Aberdeen 1st is delighted to support the Friends of Duthie Park open day this Sunday.

“All those involved in Aberdeen 1st are determined to encourage the residents of Aberdeen to take pride in this wonderful City.  The work going on in Duthie Park at the moment will bring this area up to a tremendous quality which will be enjoyed by all in the future”

Sunday will see festivities running between 12 noon and 4 pm with musical entertainment from The Twa Pipers, Megan McQueen, and Leanne and Estrella,  plus horse and cart rides, football coaching with AFC, fitness demonstrations, children’s entertainment, gardening workshops and many other stalls and attractions.

‘Spike’ the talking cactus, the park’s most popular resident, will be there too, following his reappearance at last year’s open day after being absent for a decade.

Further information from:-


Jul 262012

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

The Friends of Duthie Park group is looking for a part time fundraiser to assist with ongoing funding to improve the park, following the completion of the current major restoration work.

This will see the return of many original Victorian elements.

As ‘Friends’ Chairman Tony Dawson outlines, there are potentially some tremendous opportunities for local organisations within the confines of the Park.

 “There are specific projects that do not come within the remit of the restoration work, including both winter and summer planting. Additionally there are initiatives we would love to be able to afford, such as the installation of a water harvesting system for the glasshouses, or the development of a Duthie Park smart phone application. The Friends also has its Annual Open Day which would, I believe, be an excellent community ‘fit’ for a local company, with this year’s event next month on Sunday 19th August.

“We have produced a selection of potential packages that could be available and what we are looking for is someone who could spend time speaking to local businesses persuading them to become involved, in return for a commission on any funds secured.”

Anyone interested in the position should, in the first instance, contact info@friendsofduthiepark.co.uk including full contact details.

Jul 122012

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Major restoration work that will see the return of many original Victorian elements to the North East’s most popular visitor attraction is progressing on schedule. And the ‘Friends of Duthie Park’ group is hosting its second open day next month.

Sunday 19th August will see festivities running between noon and 4 p.m.

As Friends Chairman Tony Dawson explains, there will be something for all of the family.

“Last year’s inaugural event attracted more than two thousand people and we will be looking to go one better this time around! I think most people are aware that there are major works going on at the park, without necessarily knowing the details. This will be an opportunity to see at first hand the progress that is being made as we’ll be organising tours during the afternoon.

“In addition, we’ll have plenty of entertainment, including live music throughout the afternoon, horse and cart rides, football coaching with AFC, fitness demonstrations, children’s entertainment, gardening workshops and many other stalls and attractions.

“And of course ‘Spike’ the talking cactus, the park’s most popular resident will be there too, after making his reappearance after a decade at last year’s open day.”

A full timetable for the day will be available on www.friendsofduthiepark.co.uk from the beginning of August.

For information contact Dave Macdermid on 07805 436988. dave.macdermid@bigpartnership.co.uk

Jun 072012

With thanks to VSA Fundraising Officer Claire McBain.

There will be something for everyone on Sunday (June 10) at Duthie Park between 10am and 4pm when the Celebrate Aberdeen weekend is rounded off with a huge family fun day.
Voluntary Services Aberdeen, the UK’s largest city social care charity supporting people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, is preparing to say a big thank you to those who have volunteered over the past year with its biggest ever fun day.

VSA Day, the charity’s annual fun day at Duthie Park, Aberdeen, sponsored by CNR, was established in 2007 to celebrate and thank volunteers, staff and supporters who have made a difference over the year and to highlight the significant work of VSA in the local community.

Kenneth Simpson, chief executive at VSA, said:

“I’m delighted to be hosting VSA Day for the sixth time, especially given the big jump in size this year.  We’ve doubled our stallholder numbers and attracted more entertainment than ever.  Visitors can relax watching musicians, dancers and cheerleaders or get involved with military fitness, zumba and yoga. 

“Aberdeen Football Club will be on hand to give budding soccer stars a tutorial and, as usual, our funfair and face painters will be out in force.  Shoppers will be satisfied too, whether it’s delicious cakes, sparkly jewels or pocket money treats they’re after.

“Our staff are firmly behind VSA Day and we’ll have a healthy turnout of stalls headed by our services.  Easter Anguston Farm will bring their popular farm shop and plants into the city while Craigton Grove, a residential setting where twelve adults with learning disabilities live as independently as possible, is bringing Aberdeen back to its childhood with a day of old fashioned races, like the egg and spoon.

“We’ve had turnouts of thousands in past years and expect even more this time – not just because of our increased offering but with Celebrate Aberdeen hitting town the day before, VSA Day will be the perfect way to bring the feel-good weekend to a close.

Elaine Michael, day care manager, runs several VSA services that will be represented on the day.  She said:

“It’s a great opportunity for us to demonstrate what VSA is all about.  Each service can make their cause stand out and explain to the public exactly what they do. 

Our Friends for Life club, an informal weekly youth club creating bonds between like-minded children with additional support needs, will hold a sumo wrestling challenge and Maisie’s Children’s Centre staff are busy baking for their homebakes stall. 

Each year we have a walkathon too; a gentle challenge for both mainstream children and those with additional support needs.  This year we’re adding an extra ingredient of fun with a fancy dress option.

“VSA Day is an ideal occasion for people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to have fun and support their local community at the same time.”

VSA is always looking for volunteers to help on the day.  VSA Day will be held on Sunday 10 June between 10am and 4pm at Duthie Park, Aberdeen.  Admission is free.  VSA, sponsored by Shore Porters, will also be part of Celebrate Aberdeen on Saturday 9 June.

For further information, photographs or to arrange an interview, please contact Claire McBain on 01224 358611 or e-mail claire.mcbain@vsa.org.uk