Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Free at the Dee brought some of pop music’s biggest acts to Aberdeen

The fans enjoyed free concerts in Aberdeen from 1997 to 2007.
The fans enjoyed free concerts in Aberdeen from 1997 to 2007.

They were the free music concerts which brought the likes of Girls Aloud, McFly, Charlotte Church, Belinda Carlisle and Beverley Knight to Aberdeen.

The list of who performed was a who’s who of Britain’s pop culture of that era including the one-hit wonders and the Z-list boybands who disappeared without trace!

Northsound delivered its first major outdoor event 25 years ago when Free at the Quay took place to celebrate the arrival of the Tall Ships in Aberdeen.

Some of the fans enjoying the music back in 2002.

Northsound held music concerts in Aberdeen almost bi-annually from 1997 to 2007.

Free 2000 at the Queen’s Links was followed by Free at the Dee at Duthie Park in 2002, 2003 and 2005 before moving the event to Hazlehead Park for Free 2007.

We have opened DC Thomson’s archives to take a look back at the biggest music event in Aberdeen which attracted crowds of 40-50,000 people.

Will you spot yourself bopping along to Gareth Gates or Darius Danesh?

Gareth was the star turn in 2002

These two young fans were waving the flag for 2002 Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates.

The first Free at the Dee happened in 2002 to celebrate the 21st birthday of the station.

Screaming teenagers danced the day away in soaring temperatures to favourites Gareth Gates, Darius Danesh, Hear’Say and the Sugababes.

Gareth Gates was box-office back in 2002.

Dance act Soda Club kicked off the show before Hear’Say took to the stage.

After their performance, band member Noel was presented with a cake to mark his 22nd birthday which he decided to share with the Aberdeen fans.

Gareth Gates at the Free at the Dee event.

The fans saved their biggest cheer of the day for Gareth Gates who sang his debut single Unchained Melody and number one smash Anyone Of Us.

Speaking to the audience, he said: “Thank you, Aberdeen. Wow, that was loud.

“I love you all.”

Darius performed for the first time in 2002.

Darius Danesh, who was reunited with fellow Pop Idol competitor Gareth Gates, performed his self-penned debut single Colourblind.

He said: “There’s something I can’t quite describe about Scottish crowds. It’s all good fun and I’m having the time of my life. Every morning I want to pinch myself. I’m so lucky to be doing what I’ve always dreamed of.”

Heidi Range was blown away by the enthusiastic Aberdeen crowd.

Sugababes performed three songs live for the Aberdeen crowd – including their number one hit Freak Like Me.

The girls were delighted with the crowd’s response.

Heidi Range said: “It was absolutely amazing out there. Everyone was singing along – they knew every single word.”

Girl power in 2003

Kimberley Walsh had to carry her own bags at Duthie Park back in 2003.

Around 40,000 revellers enjoyed a top class show in 2003 from acts including Liberty X, Girls Aloud, David Sneddon, Darius and Lisa Scott-Lee.

Giant screens at the side of the Duthie Park stage ensured all fans had a perfect view of their chart-topping favourites.

Girls Aloud were a hugely popular headline act.

The wet and chilly weather during the early part of the afternoon failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of fans, many of whom came prepared with umbrellas.

Girls Aloud sang three hit singles to their fans including their number one Sound Of The Underground.

Nadine said: “We couldn’t believe the fans – it was a brilliant atmosphere. It’s our first time in Aberdeen together as a band.

“The crowds up here are amazing – there’s nothing better.”

Cheryl Tweedy singing on stage during the girl band’s set.

But Darius was the real show-stopper of the afternoon.

As he arrived on stage before crowds of screaming fans he told them: “You look beautiful. It’s great to be back in Aberdeen.

“You give me a great feeling in my stomach.”

A young fan makes sure everyone knows that he is here to see Darius performing.

Billy Crawford and Lisa Scott-Lee performed their hits before Scottish favourite David Sneddon took to the stage.

The Fame Academy winner said: “It was pretty mental out there. There’s just something special about a Scottish crowd – they are 10% extra mad.”

Fame Academy winner David Sneddon was another big favourite with the crowd.

Sneddon won TV’s Fame Academy with 3.5 million votes.

Soon after, he scored a number one hit with self-penned track Stop Living The Lie.

Eighties favourites Hue & Cry and Dr & The Medics closed the show with a string of hits including Looking For Linda and Spirit In The Sky.

Getting to the Church on time

Charlotte Church performing in 2005.

The 2005 event attracted around 55,000 revellers to see acts including Rachel Stevens, Charlotte Church, Lee Ryan and Belinda Carlisle.

McFly pulled out of the open-air gig just two weeks after it was announced they would appear because of commitments to a charity single.

The noise was almost deafening in parts of the park as Charlotte Church launched into her first hit single, Crazy Chick, and the thunderous reception continued as she sang her second single, Call My Name.

Lee Ryan performed solo songs in a leather jacket.

It was Lee Ryan who caused hearts to flutter among the women in the audience.

Rowetta, the former backing singer with the Happy Mondays who shot to fame on the last series of The X Factor, impressed many in the crowd with her rendition of Oasis’s Stop Crying Your Heart Out.

Earlier, Glaswegian newcomers El Presidente rocked their devoted army of fans with their last release Without You and their new single, Rocket.

The fans were loving every minute of the afternoon.

Rachel Stevens performed songs from her latest solo album at the event.

Fairground rides, stalls selling food and drink, and some early sunshine entertained those more interested in soaking up the atmosphere than listening to the music.

Stars, police and organisers praised fans for making the event a massive hit.

Fans at the Free at the Dee in 2005.

But little did the fans know that was the curtain call for Free at the Dee.

There was to be a new name and a new venue.

That’s my goal?

Fans go mad for the MacDonald Brothers.

Free 2007 evolved from the Free at the Dee event.

The decision to move to Hazlehead Park was made following discussions with Aberdeen City Council and Grampian Police.

Soul diva Beverley Knight and X-Factor winner Shayne Ward performed at the event which included a performance from McFly following their miss in 2005.

Songstress Amy Macdonald on stage in 2007.

X-Factor contestants The MacDonald Brothers and Scottish singer Amy Macdonald also appeared on stage during the free concert back in 2007.

The MacDonald Brothers got a warm welcome from fans who waved Scotland flags throughout the set.

Singer Brian said: “We couldn’t even see the back of the audience, because it was so massive. What a great day.”

McFly singer Tom Fletcher playing guitar.

The moment thousands had been waiting for was the arrival of McFly.

They galloped up and down the stage, waving manically and pulling faces.

The audience sang along to every word of their number one hits.

Beverley Knight entertains the packed park.

The biggest highlight was a box-office set from Beverley Knight.

Performing with Prince was one of many highlights in a career that began with the release of The B-Funk in 1995, hailed as one of the outstanding British soul albums.

The soul queen proved she was the real deal with a sensational performance!

Shayne Ward wows the crowd.

X-Factor winner Shayne Ward sang new material and his number one hit That’s My Goal.

Backstage Shayne said: “There’s no better feeling than hearing an audience like that singing along to every word. The crowds in Aberdeen are always brilliant.”