Thursday, 27 November 2008

Festival creates new supporters scheme

Individual Giving

The Festival Stars scheme has been created to acknowledge the contribution made to Aberdeen International Youth Festival by individual donors.

Support from private individuals is crucial in enabling the Aberdeen International Youth Festival's exciting work to continue. Core public funding accounts for approximately 25% of our income and we have to raise at least £150,000 annually over and above our other earnings.

Your donation will help assist the international arts companies take part in the Festival and will also enable the Festival to continue its education projects creating opportunities for local young people.

As a Star donor, you will be acknowledged on our website and in print, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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Festival Stars

You can become a Festival Star by making a donation to the Festival. Named stars start at £100, rising to £1500 for a Diamond Star.

Diamond Star £1,500
Emerald Star £1,000
Ruby Star £500
Crystal Star £100

Star support is cumulative, so you can work up to becoming a Diamond Star by donating ever year.

If you would like to become a Festival Star and join our group of highly valued individual supporters, please contact us at:
Aberdeen International Youth Festival
35 Regent Quay
AB11 5BE
Tel: 01224 213800
Or donate through the website at

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The Big Give

Donate to Aberdeen International Youth Festival on 1st December, and The Big Give will match your donation.

The Big Give have a £1million fund to give away, and will match any donation made through their website, until the money has run out. Even £1 will make a difference to AIYF and help secure the future of the Festival, and if you are a UK tax payer and gift aid your donation this means the Festival will also receive an additional 28p per pound.

Visit and click on the charity search option to find Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Festival musicians nominated for awards

Young traditional musicians from the Aberdeen International Youth Festival are in the running for a host of prestigious awards.

Daniel Thorpe, from Inverurie, is in final round of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award 2009, having made it through the semi finals in Coulter last month.

Daniel has been involved in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival for 8 years, taking part in their Traditional Music School and then becoming a member of the Festival’s Trad Big Band, Ceòl Mòr. Daniel was also chosen by the AIYF to represent the North East at the International Festival for Emerging Artists in London. Daniel was involved with many groups including the Garioch Fiddlers and studied traditional music in Plockton before graduating with honours from the RSAMD. He is now performing with ceilidh band 'Heuch' and his own trio, Tyskie, which he formed with fellow students at RSAMD.

Bodega, the young, five piece band who taught on the Festival’s summer school this year, have been nominated for “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” at the Scots Trad Music Awards . Members of the band were originally pupils at the Splore, before graduating to Ceòl Mòr and now teaching on the course.

Bodega won the BBC Radio2 Young Folk Band award for 2005/06 and have since gone on to release two CDs. Bodega are: Gillian Chalmers (from Fraserburgh), pipes and whistle; Ross Couper, fiddle; Tia Files, acoustic and bass guitar; Norrie MacIver accordion, guitar, djembe, vocals; and June Naylor clarsach and piano.


The Splore (Monday 27 July - Friday 31 July) is a week long trad music summer school held as part of AIYF. The Splore offers classes in fiddle, whistle, guitar and percussion for students aged 12 - 16, with tutors from leading young trad bands.

Ceòl Mòr is the Aberdeen International Youth Festival's young traditional big band, made up of some of the most most promising young musicians from Scotland and overseas.
They perform original and innovative arrangements of traditional Scottish songs and music as well as original work exploring the margins between traditional music, jazz and contemporary classical music. They perform at the AIYF, and have guested at the Trad Music Awards, the Arts & Business Awards and at Celtic Connections.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Festival is worth over £1 million to NE economy

An economic impact study of the 2008 Aberdeen International Youth Festival found that it is worth more than £1 million to the local economy.

The study shows that festival has a £1.2m impact and directly or indirectly supports the creation of 25 full-time equivalent jobs in the North-east.

Based on the annual funding grant from Aberdeen City Council to AIYF, the return to the city and wider area is more than nine times on the initial investment through ticket sales, accommodation, transport and general spend in shops and restaurants.

The study also showed that the festival had a 98% audience satisfaction rating of good or very good. More than 40% of those who did not live locally visited Aberdeen solely to attend the festival. Some 89% of the audience said that they planned to come back to next year’s festival.

The 2008 festival welcomed more than 1000 participants from 14 different countries. They took part in more than 85 events across 30 venues during the 10 days.

It attracted more than 8500 audience members as well as many more at the major free events on Tartan Day and Festival in the City.

There were participants from Switzerland, USA, Hong Kong, Brazil, and China, Some 80% of the young participants indicated they would like to visit Scotland and the North-east again in the near future.

The 2009 festival is already taking shape. Applications from as far a field as Israel, Canada, Spain and Zimbabwe will bring a wide range of orchestral, new music, choral, dance, theatre and visual arts to Aberdeen and the Shire. The 2009 festival will take place between 29 July and 8 August.

AIYF artistic director Stewart Aitken said: “We were delighted with the findings of the report which helped confirm what a lot of people have believed about the festival.

“Even with the difficult economic climate an event such as the Aberdeen International Youth Festival can bring economic benefit to the area thorough cultural engagement.

“I hope we can build on these findings for 2009 festival and increase the impact and benefits the festival has for the population of the North-east, especially through more participatory opportunities for local young people.”

The study was conducted by EKOS Ltd and funded by Event Scotland. Nearly 400 people took part.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Festival in The City

Last Sunday was the first ever Festival in the City. The idea behind this brand new event was to bring AIYF out onto the streets. With seven stages set up across the city, there was plenty of chance to see groups like Tamana Pioneer Steel Orchestra, Shenzhen City Dancing Team and the Jamie Safiruddin Quartet.

The Seven Stages were set up in Union Terrace Gardens, Trinity Mall; Academy Courtyard; Provost Skene’s Gardens; St Nicholas Church Yard; John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Each stage saw a variety of acts ranging from festival participants to local Aberdeen bands. The Evening Express said that the “street performers wowed the crowds”.

The day was a great success with many people enjoying the chance to sun themselves while listening to the delights that only AIYF can offer. The weather held off…just only those remaining at Union Terrace Gardens – which went on after for a couple hours after the other venues – got a bit wet. The rest of the day was flooded in beautiful sunshine.

So overall a great day which gave everyone the chance to experience something new – not just that afternoon but in the evening as many people who hadn’t heard of the Festival before went on to attend shows later that evening.

Festival in the City was supported by BP & Event Scotland

Monday, 4 August 2008

Festival in the City

Yesterday was the first ever Festival in the City.

Festival in the City was a free award for the whole of Aberdeen to enjoy...and enjoy it they did. Starting at 1pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon, 7 stages across Aberdeen played host to a wide range of performers including local bands,

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Start Of AIYF 2008!

And it’s begun. The 36th Aberdeen International Youth Festival has started. Over the next two weeks there will be Opera, Dance, Steel Drums and much much more. With over a thousand participants from a number of countries this promises to be a truly world wide festival.
And what a way to start. John Godber’s Teechers, is a school-based comedy written from the point of view of three students, Salty, a bright and fresh-faced school-leaver; Hobby, a shy girl and Gail Saunders, a loud mouthed, bossy girl who is full of enthusiasm. These three friends then spend the next hour performing a play about their final year of school – with all the names change to protect the innocent of course!
It is this that makes the show stand out from so many other things. Between the three of them, the actors play up to twenty characters – with often only basic costume changes taking place. The characters of Mr Basford, for example, is created through the use of a fake nose and glasses combo that you only ever really see in cartoons. All three actors play their multiply parts with great skill.
However, AIYF is not all about one play, there are more coming just around the corner. West Lothian Youth Theatre present their civil war torn future of central Scotland (Lemon Tree Studio, 31st July & 1st August) or perhaps you’d rather hear the Jazz sound of NYCOS at Holburn West Church (31st July)…or go to and look through all our shows!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Photo of the week

Joel Sebunjo, who will be playing at the Blue Lamp, Aberdeen Music Hall, Universal hall Findhorn and the Acorn Centre Inverurie, as part of Festival 2008.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Later.. at the Lemon Tree

For the first time AIYF, in partnership with Foyer Music, will be holding late night sessions - ”Later…at the Lemon Tree”.

From Thursday July 31 the late night festival session will showcase the best of up and coming, home-grown and international talent. An eclectic programme of blues, indie rock, jazz, fusion and world music acts will give audiences an opportunity to experience a diverse range of music and see something different. Line up includes:

Thursday 31 July
Egdar Prais
The Chair
The Condiments (

Friday 1 August
The Fortunate Sons (
Fuse[d] (

Saturday 2 August
Jamie Safiruddin Quartet (

Sunday 3 August
Kukadan (
Joel Sebunjo

Tuesday 5 August
X Certs
Onion Terror
Dan Against the World

Wednesday 6 August
Qristina and Quinn Bachand
The Hijacks
Static in the City
Copy Haho

Thursday 7 August
Sorren Maclean Band (
Cast of the Capital (http://www.myspace com/castofthecapital)

Friday 8 August
The Little Kicks (
Right Hand Left
Headlight (

Saturday 9 August
Dot J (
Sunrise not Secular (
Action Group

Plus:(dates to be confirmed)
The Elizabeths
The Marionettes
Y’all is Fantasy Island

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

AIYF takes over Lemon Tree for two weeks of new music and theatre

The recently reopened Lemon Tree is to become the home of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival for the duration of the 2008 event.

The Lemon Tree will become the Festival Hub, a location at the heart of the city at which festival goers can have lunch, see shows, buy tickets and find out about what the festival has to offer.

Festival director Stewart Aitken said: “The reopening of the Lemon Tree has come at a great time for us and provided us with a focal point for the festival. It gives us the opportunity to create a place where people can come after the main concerts and see a wide range of music as well as giving us a great space to showcase some innovative and exciting theatre by young people. Hopefully our presence at the Lemon Tree will attract new audiences to AIYF as well as enable our core support to try something a bit different”

The Lemon Tree will be the venue for AIYF's late night concerts and new theatre including: West Lothian Youth Theatre’s Monsters; KY8’s Kinetic; Contacting the World and Garidge Theatre Company and Mitchell School of Drama’s Lottie.

For up to the minute information on AIYF at the Lemon Tree visit

Monday, 12 May 2008

Summer positions available at AIYF - recruiting now!

AIYF is now recruiting for 60 temporary and volunteer staff during the Festival.

The Festival has established an internship scheme to offer valuable experience of working within the events and performing arts arena. Summer internships are six week placements in:
Box Office / Front of House

Other positions include:
Pastoral staff for residential summer schools (dance and trad music)
Couriers (chaperones for participating international companies
Youth Team (runners)
Drivers (minibus, transit, Luton and 7.5ton)
Transport scheduler - manage the drivers and organising schedule etc
Proect Managers - Film Festival.

For further information and to apply please send your CV and a letter of introduction
to Jennifer Phillips at

Friday, 9 May 2008

Photo of the week

Sining Kambayoka at AIYF. Photo: Steven Rance
See more festival photos on flickr - why not add yours to our group and be featured as our photo of the week?

Monday, 28 April 2008

Last few places left on the AIYF’s Dance Summer School!

The Aberdeen International Youth Festival's Dance Summer School is proving to be more popular than ever, and there are just a few places left. The School is directed by Kenn Burke, former Principal Dancer with Scottish Ballet, and offers a valuable training experience in classical ballet, contemporary and jazz, with world re-nowned dancers and teachers. Dancers on the Performance Course will be offered the chance to dance on stage at His Majesty’s Theatre, at the AIYF’s Dance Gala in August.

Past students have gone on to dance with Northern Ballet Theatre, Jean Ann Ryan Productions, English National Ballet, English National Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Norwegian Ballet and Ballet des Jeunes.

The Dance Summer School was established 26 years ago and remains an important and unique course in Scotland. The school now offers:

Performance Course - An intensive two week residential course designed to offer students a valuable training experience in classical ballet, contemporary and jazz, with world renowned dance artists and teachers. The course includes the opportunity to work on and perform new choreography at the Festival’s Dance Gala at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Dance Course - For students aged 12+. This course offers intensive training in classical ballet and repertoire, contemporary and jazz.

Day of Dance - A free taster day for younger students. Dance teachers are welcome to come to the dance school and watch classes. Please contact us for more information.

Kenn Burke was appointed Dance Director of the AIYF in 1996 and has been running the Festival's Dance School for the last eight years.Fife-born Kenn trained in his hometown of Inverkeithing before joining Scottish Ballet's scholarship scheme. He trained at The Royal Ballet School, London and in 1975 joined Scottish Ballet.In 1988, he was invited to join the Hong Kong Ballet as Principal Dancer.In 1990 he returned to Scotland and was appointed Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet 2. Kenn went on to become Acting Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet. During his time with the company he has always maintained a close interest and involvement in the Dance School of Scotland and Scottish Ballet's Junior Associates.Kenn is now freelance and has most recently been staging Swan Lake with Galina Samsova for the Rome Opera House

Contact AIYF for more information and application forms.
Tel: 01224 213800

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Photo of the week

Scotland AIYF Jam.jpg
Originally uploaded by hadroed

Midwest Young Artists from the USA at AIYF. Photo: Josh Hadro

See more festival photos on flickr - why not add yours to our group and be featured as our photo of the week?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Opportunity for young singers

Aberdeen International Youth Festival today announces an opportunity for young singers to get involved in a special new project, working with Haddo Junior Choirs and the RSAMD, to present a performance of Britten’s Little Sweep at Haddo and in Aberdeen in August.

A first for Haddo Junior Choirs, AIYF & RSAMD

This special production, in partnership with the RSAMD to be performed as part of the 2008 Aberdeen International Youth Festival at Haddo House and in Aberdeen.

A wonderful opportunity has arisen for singers from Haddo Junior Choirs to work alongside Opera students and Music Director from the RSAMD, as well as a professional Theatre Director.

This will be a unique experience open to all singers aged 9-18. There will be soloists spaces as well as a large chorus of required, so there is plenty of scope for a large number to take part in this unique project.

There will be weekly rehearsals on Wednesday in Ellon from 16 April 2008, and daily rehearsals from Saturday 26 July until the performances on Wednesday 6, Thursday 7, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 August.

For more information about how to take part, visit the website at or telephone the Aberdeen International Youth Festival on 01224 213800.

The Little Sweep - an opera for children and families

The Little Sweep is part of Britten’s ‘Entertainment for Young People’. It is a morality tale which finds young Sam sold into service as a sweep to two cruel masters. He is discovered and hidden by the children of a big house he has been cleaning. Will they be able to help him escape from his cruel employers?

The production is a full theatrical experience with lots of dramatic opportunities, choral singing and even an audience song or two. It is a great way of introducing young audiences to the conventions of opera with a simple yet affecting story with which they can sympathise and identify.

Photo of the week

North Shore Celtic Ensemble from Canada performing at Speyfest as part of AIYF 2006. Photo: scotsonhill (flickr)

See more festival photos on flickr - why not add yours to our group and be featured as our photo of the week?

Friday, 28 March 2008

Photo of the week

Festival Parade, 2005. Photo: Rob Cairns

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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Scottish Youth Theatre presents Geordie

AIYF are proud to be presenting Geordie - A new musical for Scotland, at the Festival.

Geordie tells the story of a boy from the Highlands who, in the face of adversity, overcomes his weaknesses to become a champion athlete and a young man to make Scotland, his mum and of course Jean back home, very proud. A tale of personal triumph with a distinctly Scottish flavour, this heart-warming musical story is adapted for the stage by David Cosgrove and Stuart Thomas, directed by Mary McCluskey and has been developed by members of SYT Productions, the youth theatre’s high profile performance group. This production was premiered in New York, as part of the Tartan Week 2006.

Special price tickets for families are available.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Photo of the week

Kutapira (AIYF) 7
Originally uploaded by longarmscotland

Kutapira at the Turriff Show, part of Festival 2007. Photo: Adrian Law

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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Marketing Opportunities at AIYF

The Festival has a wide range of opportunities to suit all types of organisation and budgets, reaching a diverse audience groups, including web, direct mail and email, including:
Advert in main Festival programme
Flyering opportunities, at events, in our programme, mailshots to list
Email - inclusion in our monthly e-newsletter
IInclusion in information packs for participants and delegates

Check our website for a list of marketing options ( We will also be selling advertising space on our website and are happy to offer space to local arts organisations / events at a significant discount.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Photo of the week

See more festival photos on flickr - why not add yours to our group and be featured as our photo of the week?

New initiative announced for festival 2008

Festival in the City
Sunday 3 August, 1 - 4pm
Free performances across Aberdeen City Centre.

One of the new initiatives for Festival 2008 will be our Festival in the City day. The Festival will bring performances from the International and Scottish youth acts to sites across the City Centre including open air venues and Union Terrace Gardens. A fun day packed with a wide range of free dance, music and street theatre events in the city centre.

(photo - Lucy Davies)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

New member of staff!

We are pleased to announce that Ruth McMillan will be joining the Festival as part time Administrator from the middle of March. Ruth has worked in broadcasting, as an opera agent as well as freelance for festival's including Rock Ness and the Tartan Heart Festival.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Ceol Mor gig a great success!

Review By Fiona Mackenzie at

FIONA MACKENZIE checks out the next generation of Scottish traditional music talent IMAGINE a younger version of The Unusual Suspects, say 25+ strong, mix in some of Harris Playfair’s commitment and musical passion, add a few exciting new commissions from Corrina Hewat, Dave Milligan and Aidan O’Rourke, and you have ‘Ceòl Mòr’ ...

An eventual by-product of the Splore event in Aberdeen and directed by Dave Francis, this is a large scale Youth Folk Orchestra, although right from the initial bars you’d be fooled into thinking it was more of a rock and brass orchestra, with some fiddles and clarsach along the way too. Donald Shaw’s ‘Harvest’ has set the pace for youth projects in the last few years at Celtic Connections, and it is encouraging that more exciting large-scale projects such as this are emerging to fill the gap for many young musicians who find themselves perhaps in between Fèisean and going professional. Encouraging, too, to see that the vocal aspect of the piece was not all left up to the female of the species. The commitment and enjoyment of the participants was hugely encouraging for the future of ‘traditional’ music.

Three new commissions were performed alongside some of Playfair’s arrangements, including Hewat’s vocal arrangement ‘Boy Fae Kelso’ and Milligan’s’ How did we get to here?’ Aidan O’Rourke’s magical piece will surely become a staple of the repertoire for large groups now. Solo opportunities for both vocalists and instrumentalists were afforded across the board, allowing each section of the ‘orchestra’ to shine at various points in the programme. The brass section lifted the arrangements out of the trad genre and into one all of its own at times, a sort of ‘jazzitional’, for want of a better word. The audience were baying for more. Great potential here for future development and plaudits to the directors for the logistical problems a project such as this must present.

Ceol Mor on Bebo: