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News / Countdown to Festival’s celebration of community

Countdown to Festival’s celebration of community

With less than one week to go until the 4th Findhorn Bay Festival, Festival Director Kresanna Aigner shares her highlights for the opening week and gives an insight into how much the Festival brings to the local region.

At the very core of the Festival and the lifeblood of a successful festival is its connection with people and community.

Over ten days, the Festival will bring not only a wealth of creativity to the area but also a huge investment. It is estimated that the overall festival contributes around £800,000 to Moray.

Boasting an impressive range of events, the Festival also showcases the range of local talent that we have on our doorstep. Festival highlights include Heal and Harrow, a concert based around the 16th and 17th Century Scottish Witch Trials with celebrated folk musicians Rachel Newton (The Shee, The Furrow Collective, Spell Songs) and Lauren MacColl (Salt House, Rant) paying a humanising tribute to these women.

Local musicians, Findlay Napier and Malcolm MacWatt are joined by Martin Simpson in what will be a stellar triple bill.

Brian Kellock and the Colin Steele Quartet pay homage to the Giants of the Jazz World and Festival favourite Karine Polwart join forces with Dave Milligan in what has been described as “an accomplished performance from two people who are master and mistress of their craft. Spellbinding.”

Other musical highlights include Grantown-on-Spey-based Hamish Napier and award-winning Scottish troubadour Dean Owens.

Two world premieres will include performance-makers Ben Harrison and Amy Duncan, combining their love of simple narratives with a strong emotional undertow. Findhorn- based dance-maker Sharon Took-Zozaya premieres Finding Petunia LittleTree, her new humorous, yet bittersweet, solo physical theatre and dance piece.

Local emerging artists play a huge part in the Findhorn Bay Festival

Five local musicians are collaborating with more established artists in Magnetic North Theatre Company’s Lost in Music, a gig-theatre show inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The young people aged between 16 and 24 years have been working with animateur, Marie-Gabrielle Koumenda, to develop their ensemble playing skills and to create an arrangement that will be played on stage for the finale of the piece.

Dance North’s Youth Company brings back its acclaimed Savage, an immersive dance theatre performance set in the stunning landscape of the Findhorn dunes. And, Beggar in the Heights, a band from Glasgow formed by emerging talent, and originally from Moray, Jacob Aigner-Reid and his creative collaborators. With influences in post-punk, trip hop and jazz, and channeling aesthetics from sampling and sound collage, the gig will be accompanied by specially created images and projections by audio-visual and multi-media artist Niki Cardoso Zaupa, live drawing by Jenna Fraser and a DJ set with Lewis Lowe.

Economic Benefit to Moray

Over £7,500 has been invested in local venues including six village halls, Forres Town Hall, the Universal Hall and many other unique spaces. During the Festival, Findhorn Bay Arts’ Combine to Create Small Halls Artists in Residency programme will culminate in a showing of the work of four creative practitioners who were paired with four rural village halls Rafford Village Hall, Edinkillie Hall, Dyke & District Village Hall and Findhorn Village Centre – to create a site-specific work in response to the unique narrative of the hall and its community. The culmination celebration event has been programmed as part of the Festival and will offer live music, food, art and more!

With over 100 artists participating in this year’s Festival and attendees from the region and further afield, over the next ten days, local businesses will reap the benefits of local spending through accommodation, bars and restaurants, taxis and shopping. The Festival alone has contributed more than £10,000 to local accommodation providers. In addition, there has been over £16k investment to support over 20 freelance staff.

Let’s show the world that Moray can punch above its weight in terms of having a good time. Come along and join in the celebration!

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As 2023 comes to a close, we would like to pause and reflect on some of our highlights from the last year.