A city youth arts festival has kicked off with an international showcase of talent – just months after the event lost its funding.
Performers from around the globe gathered yesterday in Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Hall for the opening of the Aberdeen International Festival of Youth Arts (AIFYA), which was attended by family members, councillors and sponsors.
The ceremony offered hints of what was to come in later festival events – including an energetic performance from Australian dance group Ulysses.
The Madison Boy Choir from Wisconsin also celebrated the international nature of the festival by singing the anthems of all nationalities present, including those of Russia, Ukraine, the US and Italy.
Festival manager Amanda Macleod, who had been involved in AIFYA’s predecessor, expressed her gratitude for the rebirth of the city’s youth festival.
City councillors withdrew funding for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) in November, backing a new £100,000 Year of Young People Cultural Award programme instead. The festival was reborn as AIFYA after support from the Aberdeen Multicultural Centre.
Amanda told those gathered: “The heart of the world today is you young people. You have brought a bright and vibrant energy to the city of Aberdeen.”
She thanked her team for “helping AIYF to rise from the ashes”.
The festival has already faced a number of challenges, with a flooded Lemon Tree forcing organisers to cancel several shows over the weekend.
The Aberdeen Mela, due to take place at Westburn Park on Saturday was also cancelled.
The shows are to be rescheduled, with details being released on the AIFYA website.
The 10-day festival will celebrate young talent all across the north-east – from Portsoy to Brechin.
Professor Margaret Ross, vice principal for people strategy at Aberdeen University, welcomed performers, saying: “This new festival brings people together to celebrate their creativity and ambition.
“Please make yourself at home in Aberdeen and enjoy your time in our city.”