Jan 132017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

The local business community has expressed its support for the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which helped boost trade during the festive period.

Spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, hundreds of thousands of people visited the winter wonderland over the five weeks it was open.

Organisers have received positive feedback from visitors, artists, craftsmen/women as well as local business owners, who commented on increased footfall through their doors and a rise in sales.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village is exactly the type of event which is needed to drive increased footfall and dwell time in the city centre. It was our ambition, along with our partner organisations, to build on the success of last year and create an even larger festive event.

“It was brilliant to see the public get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy everything the Village had to offer. We have also been pleased with the response from the businesses in the city centre, a number of which have been in touch with us to comment on the positive difference they noticed throughout the festive period in terms of increased footfall. It was a key aim of ours to achieve a knock-on effect for local businesses, which further emphasises the tremendous benefits of big events like this in Aberdeen.”

Julie Haig, owner of Haigs Food Hall, Schoolhill, said:

“We were delighted with the footfall the Christmas Village brought to Aberdeen city centre and our business. It created a real buzz in the city and it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the Christmas Village.

“We are looking forward to seeing it back again this year and would like to give a huge thank you to Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council for all of their hard work making this event happen.”

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village has once again been a tremendous success and we are delighted to have worked with our partners to provide what has become a mainstay of the city’s events calendar.

“Running alongside the village, Aberdeen City Council also brought the Christmas Tree Maze to Union Terrace Gardens and the response from the public was fantastic.

“By coming out and supporting these attractions in numbers, people have demonstrated they will support bright, engaging and innovative events and that provides great confidence as we seek to build on the foundations we already have in place.

“We are planning for a bigger, better and busier programme of events for 2017 than we have ever had before in Aberdeen. There are a number of major dates in the diary already and more to follow.

“Aberdeen City Council is looking forward to working with our many partners in the year ahead, investing in events and facilities, as the city’s role as a cultural hub and tourist destination continues to grow.”

Mr Watson added:

“This year we were also happy to offer stalls to up to 30 hugely talented local artists and designers to give them a platform to sell their products. It was fantastic to see their presence being enjoyed by the public.

“We would like to thank everyone who visited and enjoyed the Village, the stallholders and our staff and partners for all their hard work. Our talented team will continue to work hard to bring projects to fruition that will enhance the city centre and drive footfall. We are always looking to build on our successes and in doing so we take on board all constructive feedback. We are very excited about our current plans, which include the globally renowned Nuart street art festival in the spring.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Dec 062016
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

aberdeen-christmas-village-festive-fun-day2

Lord Provost George Adam with Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired.

North-east charities, community groups and people with additional support needs enjoyed a free festive event in the heart of Aberdeen today.

Aberdeen Inspired, which delivers the Aberdeen Christmas Village in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, laid on a special Festive Fun Day and invited guests to enjoy the winter wonderland in a relaxed atmosphere.

Now in its second year, the Festive Fun Day attracted groups from Rosie’s social enterprises, Children First, Aberlour/Families First, Kaimhill School Rainbow Room pupils, Hazlewood School and Befriend a Child, to name but a few, who got into the Yuletide spirit at the attraction on Union Terrace.

They were treated to the rides, a session on the ice, free snacks and a soft drink in one of the marquees, where a disco took place all day.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re proud to host the Festive Fun Day at Aberdeen Christmas Village and it’s great to be able to give something back to good causes in the city and beyond.

“We were delighted with the response from charitable organisations and groups across Aberdeen and the wider north-east, the uptake has been fantastic once again this year.

“It’s been wonderful to see our guests smiling and enjoying themselves throughout the day and I hope they have lots of happy memories from their visit.”

The Aberdeen Christmas Village is open until Sunday, January 8. Union Terrace is closed until Sunday, January 15 to accommodate the village, with a number of traffic measures in place until then. For more information visit: www.aberdeenchristmas.co.uk/plan-your-visit

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates.

It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and drive footfall to the zone.

More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Dec 062016
 

With thanks to Julia Heys, Marketing Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

In light of its continued collaborative work, a group of 10 major North-east festivals has again announced its shortlisting for a national art award.

Aberdeen Festivals, a group formed to bolster the festival product on offer in the region, has been shortlisted for an award at the upcoming Arts & Business Awards 2017.

The shortlist recognises the group’s collective work with local destination management organisation (DMO), VisitAberdeenshire, in positioning the region as an exciting, culturally diverse, place to visit.

The valuable relationship is in the shortlist to win the ‘Placemaking Award’.

Angela Michael, Festivals & Culture Director at VisitAberdeenshire commented;

“We are delighted to have our hard work recognised on such a high-profile scale. The shortlisting reinforces the work this group has undertaken to promote Aberdeen as a culturally distinctive place.”

She continued;

“The successes of this campaign have shown through each of our festivals significantly increased profile and many have reported considerable audience growth. Aberdeen Jazz Festival saw an audience increase of 40% whilst 35,000 people attended Spectra in 2016, compared to the 10,000 that visited in 2015. VisitAberdeenshire’s support, expertise as well as market entry has been pivotal to this.”

The partnership between Aberdeen Festivals and VisitAberdeenshire saw, for the first time, Aberdeen being promoted as a cultural destination. The group, with the DMO’s support, collectively undertook substantial marketing campaigns locally, nationally – across Scotland, as well as London and Newcastle, and internationally – predominantly in Norway.

Steve Harris (pictured), CEO of VisitAberdeenshire and Chair of Aberdeen Festivals added;

“Our collaborative work with Aberdeen Festivals is going a long way towards profiling this region for something other than industry. One of our core goals is to reposition Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in the minds of our audiences as a creative place, whilst marketing it as a region of cultural prominence. We have already seen great success in profiling the region as a cultural destination and we look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership over the coming years.”

The Arts & Business Scotland award ceremony, which celebrate the most creative and innovative partnerships, will take place on Thursday 23 March 2017, in Glasgow.

Aberdeen Festivals is a cultural initiative representing 10 member festivals and is sponsored by Statoil, and supported by VisitAberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Council. For more information visit www.aberdeenfestivals.com. VisitAberdeenshire is the destination marketing organisation for the region of Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, further information can be found at www.visitabdn.com.

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Nov 252016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

kadriIt’s not often that someone lands their ideal job, but for Kadri Soerunurk her dream of being part of a major cultural festival has become a reality.

Rising through the ranks of the Sound Festival, which finished it’s 2016 programme in early November, Kadri began her journey as a volunteer and is now an integral part of the team that organises the festival every year.

And after enjoying the success of this year’s festival, Kadri has even more cause for celebration – her stellar efforts have been recognised with a nomination in the Regional Rising Star category of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

Moving to Aberdeen from her home in Estonia in 2010, Kadri enrolled at Robert Gordon University to study Events Management. As part of her degree, she had to gain at least 100 hours of work experience in events each year – a challenge which she completed in part by working at the Belmont Filmhouse.

But it was a chance encounter with a Sound Festival brochure in a coffee shop that led her onto the path to her dream career.

Kadri (29) says,

“I saw a flyer for the Sound Festival in 2010 and instantly knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. Even if I hadn’t needed to gain experience for my course, I would still have applied to be a volunteer. I got in touch and was offered a front of house role for the 2011 festival, taking tickets and handing out programmes.

“I missed the 2012 festival as I was studying overseas in Limerick, but in 2013 I came back and became more involved with the running of some of the festival events. Every year from then on, my duties increased and I became more involved in the organisation of the festival until I was offered a full-time position on the team.”

The only full-time member of staff on the four-strong Sound Festival team, the position of festival co-ordinator was created when the organisation restructured and Kadri jumped at the chance to embrace this new opportunity.

Kadri explains,

“My work is very varied and no two days are the same, which is perfect for me. Sometimes I’m updating the website and social media, and then the next day I’ll be co-ordinating school workshops which run throughout the year outside of the festival weeks.

“Throughout the festival, I liaise with all the artists and ensure they have everything they need, co-ordinate the logistics of all the rehearsal space required, and make sure everything is where it needs to be in the venues. I also look after the volunteers – having started as one myself, I know how important it is to keep them up to speed.”

Throughout her time with the Sound Festival, Kadri has had many amazing experiences. Her highlight of 2016 was the Freedom o(r) Speech event at ACT Aberdeen which saw musicians from Scotland, Belgium and Norway come together – along with actor Simon Callow – to create a unique performance. Seeing it all come together, she says, was a proud moment.

But one of Kadri’s greatest adventures with the Sound Festival allowed her to travel across the globe. She explains,

“Sound commissioned an opera in 2012 – The Garden – which had toured a bit in London and Berlin. Last summer, it was performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Made in Scotland programme, and after seeing the show a promoter from Shanghai wanted to bring it to China in 2016.

“It was a fantastic experience, and a major operation to get everyone there. I had to organised travel, visas and rehearsals for all the performers. The production was presented as a kind of dinner-theatre in Shanghai, which also brought some additional challenges, but it was a great success and an amazing opportunity to visit a country I might not have had the chance to otherwise.”

Festival director Fiona Robertson, who nominated Kadri, says that she has quickly become an invaluable member of the team. She adds,

“As festival co-ordinator, Kadri is part of the external face of the Sound Festival, and she is already hugely respected and trusted by our partners and stakeholders.

“I have rarely worked with someone who is so young, so hardworking and so talented. She contributes more than her weight in gold both in her day-to-day job, and holds her weight against us more experienced staff members in ideas for the future strategic development of the organisation.”

Kadri will face competition from Gemma Cruickshank (VisitAberdeenshire) and Craig Rochester (Eat on the Green) in the Regional Rising Star category of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards. The award celebrates individuals under the age of 30 who have shown initiative and excelled in their tourism organisations.

The winners of each category category will be announced at an awards ceremony and gala dinner on November 25, 2016 at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, and many will then go on to represent the region at the national Thistle Awards.

For more information about the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, visit www.acsta.co.uk  

Follow the awards on Twitter @ACSTourismAward or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/acstourismawards

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Nov 172016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Aberdeen-Inspired1Aberdeen Inspired has secured three year deals with both Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s to manage the Aberdeen Christmas Village up to 2018.

The leading business organisation introduced the festive wonderland last year in partnership with the council and the family amusement firm, and has now committed to further delivery of the Yuletide event.

The Aberdeen Christmas Village will open to the public from November 25 to January 08.

The hugely popular ice-rink will make a return to the pocket park as part of the Christmas offering and has been doubled in size. Other attractions will include funfair rides, food vendors and an entertainment marquee as well as double the amount of market stalls offering a wide selection of goods.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Aberdeen Christmas Village this month, which will be even bigger and better than last year.

“Codona’s did a fantastic job in managing the event last year and we are pleased to have now secured a three year commitment up to 2018. Now this has been finalised we are looking forward to working with them and Aberdeen City Council to deliver a fantastic Christmas experience for Aberdeen.

“Work has now begun on the build and we can’t wait to see the festive heart of the city centre start to take shape. We have worked hard to offer something fun for the people of Aberdeen and create something they will really enjoy. As well as building on the offering of last year, we will be introducing some new aspects to the village in association with local groups and look forward to sharing details on that in the near future.

“Part of Aberdeen Inspired’s remit is to increase footfall within the city centre and the Aberdeen Christmas Village will help towards that, with the hopeful knock-on effect of bringing in benefits to local shops, restaurants and businesses. To achieve this aim, we need to support of the public and visitors to Aberdeen, so I would urge everyone to enjoy what is being offered on their doorstep and support their city centre.”

Union Terrace will be closed from November 18 in the evening to January 15 to accommodate the village, while the slip road between His Majesty’s Theatre and Union Terrace was closed from November 12 to allow construction of the open air ice rink to begin in the pocket park.

Deputy council leader Councillor Marie Boulton said:

“The Christmas Village was a major attraction last year and will be a popular part of the Winter Festival again. With work beginning on construction, we look forward to the opening of the village and are pleased to be working with our partners to deliver what is a fantastic addition to Aberdeen’s festive offering. For Aberdeen City Council the Christmas Village is part of a clear focus on ensuring a wide and varied programme of high quality events and attractions, both for the people of the city and with the aim of attracting visitors from at home and abroad.”

Alfred Codona, director of Aberdeen-based family amusement firm Codona’s, said: “We are delighted to have secured a deal with Aberdeen Inspired to deliver the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which was popular with locals and visitors alike to the city centre last year.

“At Codona’s we take great pride in ensuring fun and excitement for visitors to our attractions and we are looking forward to revealing more about our plans for the Village. This three-year deal will allow us to keep building on the event each year and we are looking forward to working with Aberdeen Inspired and other partners to bring together a festive experience on Union Terrace.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

For further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired visit www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Nov 102016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

aberdeen-comedy-festival-2It involved more than 65 shows, over 250 comedians and 25 venues throughout the city centre – all aiming to bring a smile and some laughs to the Granite City.
23 days later, the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival, organised by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Breakneck Comedy, drew to a close, with organisers delighted with the fantastic response from the North-east public.

Night after night of the festival, which was kindly sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, has seen people pack out city centre venues and enjoy a huge array of comedic talent.

From the sold out launch event at the Tivoli Theatre on October 14 featuring Tom Stade, Billy Kirkwood, Liam Withnail and Gary Little to the final show at Park Inn by Radisson with John Scott, Pearse O’Haloran, The Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III and Martin James Walmsley on November 5, more than 3,100 tickets have been sold during the laugh filled extravaganza, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The response from the public, local businesses and visitors to the Aberdeen Comedy Festival has been fantastic and we are delighted with the success of all the shows.

“It was ambitious to undertake to put on an event on this scale, which is already, in only its first year, Scotland’s third biggest event of its kind. We can’t thank our sponsors, all the venues that took part and the teams from Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy that have worked so hard to make it a reality.

“The great feedback we have received from visitors to the festival proves there is a big appetite for events on this scale in the Granite City and at a time when Aberdeen is going through a difficult period, it was great to see people enjoying themselves so much in the city centre.

“We are determined to carry this positive momentum forward and are excited to bring the Aberdeen Comedy Festival back next year.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“It has been great to see what a success the Aberdeen Comedy Festival has been and as a local business, we were very proud to support it.

“The festival really has brought the city together and it is a great incentive to encourage the public to enjoy everything the city centre has to offer. We can’t wait to welcome the comedy lovers back to have some laughs next year.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Oct 152016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

aberdeen-comedy-festivalA new comedy festival which boasts a host of stand-up talent is getting underway in the Granite City.

Comedy fans can choose from more than 65 shows from a fantastic line-up of comics during the 23 day Aberdeen Comedy Festival which will run until Saturday, November 5.

The laugh filled extravaganza, which is being sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, features more than 250 comedians performing at over 20 venues throughout the city centre.

These include Hardeep Sing Kholi, Phil Nicol, Junior Simpson, Carl Hutchison, Kate Smurthwaite and Carly Baker among many others.

The festival, which is sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, kicked off in style with a gala launch event at the historic Tivoli Theatre on Friday with Australian funnyman Tom Stade setting the tone for the event, alongside Billy Kirkwood, Liam Withnail and Gary Little.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We are delighted to be launching the Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which we are sure we will be very well received by the public.

“Both Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy have worked very hard to get to this point and it is fantastic to now be getting underway with events.

“At what continues to be a difficult time economically for the city, we are pleased to bringing some laughs to Aberdeen with the aim of also increasing footfall within the centre.

“It has always been an ambition of ours to organise an event on this scale. We also know we need the backing of the north-east public so hope people take this opportunity to enjoy the great variety of comedy that will be on offer.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“As a local business, we are delighted to support the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It is great to be involved in a new initiative for the North-east and hopefully this will encourage everyone to stay local in the city centre to enjoy what our great city has to offer.

“We look forward to welcoming all the comedy lovers to McGinty’s on Tuesday October 18 when Andrea Hubbert, Marc Jennings, Mark Nelson and Elaine Millar will be performing a free event from 8.30pm. We will also be serving the official festival ale ‘McGinty’s Barrel of Laughs’ throughout the festival.”

The festival programme has been put together by Naz Hussain of Breakneck Comedy. To buy tickets and for more information on the festival visit http://www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/

Tickets can also be bought in person at the Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com.

Sep 232016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

junior-simpsonTickets for a new comedy festival in the heart of the Granite City will be available to the public from Friday September 23.
Comedy fans can choose from over 65 shows from a fantastic line-up of comics during the 23 day Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which is taking place from October 14 to November 5.

The laugh filled extravaganza, which is being sponsored by local bar/pub McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, will feature more than 250 comedians performing at over 20 venues throughout the city centre.

Junior Simpson, Phil Nicol, Shazia Mirza, Allyson June Smith, Seymour Mace and local favourite Gus Lymburn have been announced as the latest comics to take part in the inaugural event, which will mark the first time Aberdeen has hosted a comedy festival on such a big scale.

Finding his humour in the everyday and humdrum with anecdotes of his world travels as a comedian, Junior Simpson has a boundless joy and exuberance that has audiences hooked with hilarity.

With his infectious energy and huge stage presence it is easy to see why Junior Simpson is a circuit favourite. Junior has performed in countless festivals and is looking forward to taking part in the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival.

The festival will kick off in style with a gala launch event at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen on October 14 as Australian funnyman Tom Stade sets the tone for the event.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“Both Aberdeen Inspired and Breakneck Comedy have been working incredibly hard on planning the Aberdeen Comedy Festival and we are delighted to have reached this point.

“At what continues to be a difficult time economically for the city, we are pleased to bringing some laughs to Aberdeen with the first comedy festival of its kind and it is great to get support from local businesses like our main sponsor McGintys. There has been a fantastic buzz since we launched the festival and we are sure there will be great interest in the wide variety of comedians and shows that will be on offer from Friday.

“The launch event at Tivoli is shaping up to a tremendous event and we are looking forward to kicking off the festival in such wonderful and historic surroundings. Our ambition with the festival was to source the best comedy for both residents and visitors to enjoy and we hope the public will take advantage of this opportunity to see a varied range of comedy in the city centre.”

Operations Director, Alan Aitken of McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, said:

“As a local business, we are delighted to support the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It is great to be involved in a new initiative for the North-east and hopefully this will encourage everyone to stay local in the city centre to enjoy what our great city has to offer. We look forward to welcoming all the comedy lovers and throughout the festival we will be serving the official festival ale ‘McGinty’s Barrel of Laughs’.”

Caroline Morgan, Theatre Manager at the Tivoli, said:

“The Tivoli is thrilled to be involved with such an exciting event and we are proud to be the Comedy Festival Gala Night venue. We know that audiences all over the city will have a great laugh and we hope it will bring new people to the theatre.”

The festival programme has been put together by Naz Hussain of Breakneck Comedy. Younger audiences will also get a chance to have some fun at a special show for kids, while anyone who has ever fancied their hand at comedy will have the chance with stand-up comedy workshops.

To buy tickets (from Friday September 23) and for more information on the festival visit http://www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/

Tickets can also be bought in person at the Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Sep 162016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

distilled-14

Speyside’s finest food and drink were the perfect mix at the first Spirit of Speyside: Distilled.

The first mini-festival drawing Speyside’s finest food and drink producers together in one central venue has been toasted a success, after hundreds of people turned out to ensure it got off the best possible start.
Organisers of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled are in high spirits after finding that mixing the region’s finest whisky with gin, beer and food went down a treat with audiences.

Large crowds of people flocked to Elgin – the largest town in the region –  where some of the region’s most coveted and iconic brands stood shoulder to shoulder with smaller producers growing in name and reputation to showcase the ingredients that make the region a delight for food and drink lovers.

Over three days, four sessions at Elgin Town Hall provided audiences a delicious flavour of Speyside.

As well as visiting different stand holders to sample food and drink, visitors could meet the people behind the products, including master distillers and brand ambassadors. There were a range of specialist masterclasses covering topics from cocktails to food pairings and there were new, rare and cask strength drams, and insights into the art of whisky, gin and beer making led by experts in their craft.

Billed as ‘one region under one roof’, the 30 plus exhibitors included a range of distilleries responsible for producing world famous brands like Aberlour, Benromach, Cardhu, Cragganmore, The Glenlivet, Glen Moray, Benromach, Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glen Grant. There were also craft breweries, gin makers, and specialists in shortbread, ice cream, soup, coffee and tea, bakery and tablet making and more.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled manager Pery Zakeri said:

“We had fantastic crowds and there was a great atmosphere. People turned out with their friends to enjoy a range of excellent flavours and they weren’t disappointed. It was a really relaxed environment and we had people from the local area who said that seeing all the food and drink businesses in one venue really brought home the range of great tastes there are in Speyside.

“Others travelled from further much afield including Canada, the USA, Norway and Germany in order to be part of our first festival of this kind and they equally enjoyed the experience.

“It was heartening to see the best of Speyside’s food and drink industry come together, from the big names in the drinks business that have a global following to smaller producers that may be less known outwith the local area.

“Whisky is of major importance in Speyside, but I think this festival has helped show that it is very well complemented by the gin, beer and food producers who joined us in showcasing Speyside’s local larder.”

The offer of free entry to anyone sharing a name with a Speyside distillery failed to find anyone with the same moniker to any one of the area’s 50 plus distilleries – not even a Glen Keith, Glen Grant or Tam Dhu.

The mini-festival is an offshoot of the renowned Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which takes place around the first bank holiday weekend in May and organisers will now be shifting their focus to preparing for this major event which draws thousands of people from all over the world to Speyside for a five day celebration of the amber nectar.

The 2017 festival takes place from April 27 – May 1 at venues across Speyside, and while the full programme is still being worked on, will include talks, tours and tastings, heritage walks, a whisky school, whisky with food pairings, whisky menus and more. In all it is likely there will be around 500 events over multiple venues.

Sep 012016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Mark & DFP Ballater - Copy2

Mark Beaumont is getting on his bike to Ballater for the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale with David Fox Pitt of Wildfox Events

If you’ve been inspired by Team GB’s achievements in the Rio 2016 Olympics then get on your bike and head to Ballater which, with a bumper crop of top cycle events about to take place, has become the region’s self-styled home of cycling.

The Deeside village is gearing up for a series of cycling highs catering for all abilities –  from  families seeking a weekend of fun to competitive cyclists looking to be challenged on testing long distance routes.

The September cycling season kicks off with the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale which takes place on Sunday 18 September and has been endorsed by record-breaking long-distance cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont who has tested the 100 mile closed road route.

The Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival takes places over the same weekend, from 16 -18 September to complement the Etape, regarded as one of Scotland’s most scenic and challenging closed route cycle sportives and which starts and finishes in Ballater.

The 100-mile circular route takes participants on a traffic-free journey through historic Royal Deeside and Aberdeenshire, Moray’s Whisky Country, and back along the banks of the picturesque River Dee, allowing cyclists to take in the breathtaking scenery present throughout the region. For those who don’t feel quite up to the full distance, there are also 45 and 65 mile routes available.

A series of family-friendly events and activities are on offer over the course of the weekend, including a mountain bike skills circuit and a bike roadshow featuring weird, wonderful and wacky bikes from the past and the present, body zorbing and a climbing wall.

Those participating in the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale are encouraged to bring their families along to enjoy the festivities, including a family ceilidh, showings of cycling themed films and talks and presentations by Mark Beaumont and former Scottish Rugby captain Rob Wainwright and see what the rest of what Ballater has to offer.

The following weekend, on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September Cycle Highlands is running a demo weekend with guided rides and the chance to trial the latest Santa Cruz and Juliana bike models.

The busy month of biking in and around Ballater will be followed by a bespoke conference which is expected to further reinforce Cairngorm’s  growing reputation as one of the places to visit in the UK to enjoy the booming sport of mountain biking. The Scottish Mountain Bike Conference – Innovation Edition will be held from 17 to 19 November in Aviemore, recognising the region’s popularity for the sport, and including some of the programme being delivered in and about Ballater.

etaperoyale2-hill cimbRichard Watts, chairman of Ballater Business Association runs a specialist cycle shop in the village and says that after London 2012 Olympics there was a growth in Scottish cycling with the number of competitive events and female participants increasing.

He expects that the historic achievements of British cyclists competing Rio 2016 to also impact positively in take-up of the sport – and hopes that the Ballater region will see the benefits.

Mr Watts says:

“Riders from all over the UK, and overseas come to the Cairngorms to enjoy cycling in all its forms and who could blame them?

“Ballater is an ideal location from which to explore natural trails and various purpose-built centres and is surrounded by terrain suitable for all abilities.

“From easy forest trails to single-track descents cyclists can explore for an hour, day or week.

“The quiet roads and former railway, now the Deeside Way, give a spectacular window into local nature and history and there are offer and the stunning landscapes to enjoy.

“The cycling opportunities we’re able to offer in this part of the world, provide cyclists stunning landscapes to soak in on two wheels and are a real asset to the area.

“We hope to  reap the benefits of the success of Team GB’s cycling stars in Rio 2016 who are a real inspiration and may well  encourage others to to give cycling a try and to come and do so exploring our wonderful region on two wheels.”

The Royal Deeside Cycling Festival takes place from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 September in Ballater. Supported by EventScotland and official charity sponsor Marie Curie, the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale gets underway on Sunday 18 September, the cycle sportive covers 100-miles and an ascent of 2,996m. For more information, visit: www.etaperoyale.com

Further details of the Demo Weekend from 24-25 September is available at http://www.cyclehighlands.com/events/

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