Rebooted youth festival returns
Young talent on show as Granite City’ s cultural extravaganza gets under way
Visitors from around the world were welcomed to the inaugural Aberdeen International Festival of Youth Arts yesterday as organisers hailed the talent showcase.
The performers gathered in Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Hall for an opening event attended by family members, councillors and AIFYA sponsors.
The ceremony provided teasers for many of the festival’s shows, including an energetic dance by Australian dance troupe Ulysses.
And to celebrate the festival’s international scope, the Madison Boy Choir from Wisconsin sang the anthems of all nationalities present, including Russia, Ukraine, the USA and Italy.
The ceremony proved to be emotional for festival manager Amanda Macleod, who was involved with the AIFYA’s highly successful predecessor.
Funding was withdrawn by city councillors for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) in November, who instead backed a new £100,000 Year of Young People Cultural Award programme.
The festival was reborn as AIFYA with support from the Aberdeen Multicultural Centre.
Ms Macleod told the ceremony audience: “The heart of the world today is you young people. You have brought a bright and vibrant energy to the city of Aberdeen.
“The team faced a huge setback when the decision to close the beloved AIYF was made but we are here today to preserve its legacy.
“I am so excited about the future of AIFYA and I thank you all for coming.”
The festival has already overcome hurdles, including a flooded Lemon Tree that saw several weekend shows cancelled.
The Aberdeen Mela, due to be held at Westburn Park, on Saturday was also cancelled.
All shows will be rescheduled with details released soon on the AIFYA website.
The 10 day gathering will celebrate the talent of young people, with shows not only in Aberdeen, but Portsoy in the north and Brechin to the south.
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.”
For more information on the festival, visit www. aberdeeninternationalfestivalofyoutharts.co.uk