Aberdeen’s popular “festival of light” Spectra will not be held this year- with the council “refreshing” plans for the event ahead of its return next year.
Iconic locations such as Union Terrace Gardens, His Majesty’s Theatre and St Nicholas Kirkyard were illuminated with dramatic projections, luminous sculptures and even musical colour-changing see-saws at the fourth event last year.
Some 91,000 people attended the spectacle – with the city’s culture spokeswoman, Marie Boulton, hailing the festival for getting “bigger and better” “year on year”.
Last April, council chiefs announced a new decade-long strategy to enhance culture in the city.
But last night it was confirmed the festival would not be returning this year due to the contract elapsing – though officials confirmed they hope to bring it back in 2020.
Last night, Ms Boulton said: “The three-year contract for Spectra ended in 2018 and Aberdeen City Council has taken the opportunity to consider how we might develop the event in a sustainable manner and increase its international stature in the years ahead.
“The next Spectra festival is expected to take place in 2020, dates are to be confirmed. Feedback from previous events are being used to shape proposals for refreshing and enhancing Spectra to build on its popularity. We look forward to sharing details as the plans are developed.
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“In April last year, the council approved a new 10-year strategy for culture, developed by a network of cultural organisations working across the city, and under the city centre masterplan’s Aberdeen 365 events plan remains committed to staging and supporting spectacular and inclusive events in the heart of the city.”
But representatives from across the city said they were disappointed the event had been dropped “suddenly and quietly”.
George Street and Harbour councillor Dell Hendrickson said: “The Spectra festival was a real asset to the city centre given its popularity. I’m sure people will be disappointed to learn it won’t be taking place this year.”
And Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Martin Greig said: “Spectra was appreciated by residents as a positive and inspiring initiative that brightened up the city.
“This has been suddenly and quietly dropped and will be much regretted.
“There has been no forewarning or consultation with the public.
“The failure to sustain this project is yet another indication of the chaotic decision making we have come to expect.”