Media Release: Launch of Findhorn Bay Festival today – a spectacular six-day celebration of the arts and culture

Julie Fowlis FBA 10 (amended JF). Phot credit - Paul Campbell

Unexpected spaces and scenic locations at the Findhorn Bay Festival, a spectacular six-day celebration of arts and culture taking place in the heart of Moray in September

THE second Findhorn Bay Festival was launched today by festival director, Kresanna Aigner.

From Wednesday 21 – Monday 26 September, Morayshire will play host to a range of arts and culture events showcasing artists of local, national and international renown during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The biennial Findhorn Bay Festival is a spectacular six-day celebration taking place in the heart of Moray and includes a vibrant mix of theatre, music, dance and visual art as well as FREE events including the popular annual community event, Culture Day Forres.

The festival will open with a stunning concert from award-winning Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis, who will perform in the historic St Laurence Church in Forres. She will be joined by Moray flautist and Uilleann piper and composer, Calum Stewart and the Nairn Gaelic Choir. The festival will close on a magnificent high with Scottish Opera’s new production of Donizetti’s sunny comic opera The Elixir of Love.

Music has a strong role in the festival with sets from Randolph’s Leap and James Yorkston with special guest hobo-chic, singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and gramophone impresario, Duke Special.

Traditional folk legends, Old Blind Dogs and global brass band, Orkestra del Sol, are set to delight festival goers and, straight from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Mairi Campbell’s Pulse is definitely on track to heal some cultural wounds.

Described as “Hayseed Dixie on speed with a serious chunk of funk”, enjoy an evening of bluegrass-funk interpretations with Scotland’s finest acoustic mash-ups band, The Banjo Lounge 4.

A welcome addition to the programme is Wine, Women and Song starring the fabulous Bevvy Sisters supported by Andrea Turner and Too Many Kooks.

For the whole six days, the festival will have live music sessions for everyone to enjoy. Findhorn Bay Festival also welcomes its first ever young musician-in-residence – local musician, Michiel Turner will be making guest appearances at a number of events including, ‘A Chance for Young Talent to Shine’ and at many impromptu gigs. He’s been described by BBC Radio Scotland as “The future John Martyn.” – not a bad accolade for a 19 year-old.

Best known for his celebrated street pianos work, Play Me, I’m Yours, UK artist, Luke Jerram, makes his Scottish debut with Glass Microbiology, a sculptural installation within the library at Brodie Castle. From New York’s Metropolitan Museum to The Museum of Glass in Shanghai, his glass sculptures have appeared in museums and galleries around the world.

Moray is home to a wealth of artists, from musicians, film-makers, dancers and performers to photographers, comedians, novelists, storytellers and poets. The Festival will be complemented by some of these artists, including Highland dance companies, Plan B who will choreograph a piece alongside Duke Special and an opportunity to see Dudendance Theatre’s new installation performance The Lady Vanishes.

Moray-based Wildbird will work with local people to create short films and portraits that bring a glorious vibrancy to the ordinary (and extraordinary) acts of everyday life within their communities resulting in work that will be part-Warhol, part-Banksy.

The theatre programme includes the award-winning writer, actor and mountaineer John Burns. George Mallory comes back to life by Burns in his stunning one-man performance Mallory: Beyond Everest. Vision Mechanics’ highly-acclaimed Drift will be in-situ on the golden sand dunes of Findhorn Beach.

For children, the wonderful Indigo Moon Theatre retells the story of Jungle Book through puppetry and shadow theatre. Festival goers young and old will also enjoy some comic encounters with the tumbling, stumbling silent clown Mr H. And get your dancing shoes on and pa de bas along to the Festival Family Ceilidh with music provided by local octet, The Boatshed Ceilidh Band.

Join professed Macbeth ‘nut’ Cameron Taylor, co-author of On the Trail of the Real Macbeth, on a vintage bus tour of the key battle sites and discover the true story behind the day that changed Scotland’s history forever.

Comedy comes in the form of Barbara Nice – best known for her performance as Holy Mary in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere.

One of Scotland’s leading developers of street art and physical theatre, Conflux, has joined forces with young people from across Moray to daze and delight festival goers with a cornucopia of fantastical street theatre performances. Set loose in the heart of Moray, local recruits will beguile its audience with a whirlwind of eccentric walkabout performances.

In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the festival will host a programme of architecture, design and innovation-led events, exhibitions, talks and tours all set in unexpected spaces and scenic locations.

It will showcase a series of exhibitions, installations and tours spotlighting Moray’s important contribution to the country’s built environment. There will be a special focus upon green innovation taking place at Brodie Castle with a number of events highlighting ground-breaking conservation and environmental projects and celebrating our built environment through a number of lighting events and installations including a first for Scotland – Guerrilla Lighting events and tours in Forres and Findhorn.

London’s Science Museum will be on standby to answer all the questions you wanted to know about electricity and magnetism as they take you on a highly-charged journey through the science and history of electricity.

Forres is home to Glasgow School of Art‘s Institute of Design Innovation. The Festival will link with some of its alumni and present, as part of Design for Health and Wellbeing, chaired by Jim Tough, chief executive of the Saltire Society, a number of exhibitions including one from recent graduate, Sophia Sheppard.

Other exhibitions include 2020VISION – the most ambitious photography based conservation initiative ever staged in the United Kingdom and Ian Cameron’s Transient Light – recently voted as ‘Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year’.

Artist, Lisa Shaw, explores the interplay between art, nature and technology. She is part of the Biomatrix Water team who are creating a biosculpture on the pond in Brodie Castle and, for this installation, Shaw will use this as her inspiration to create a series of paintings.

Culture Day Forres returns for a fourth year – a FUN, FREE family day out, jam-packed with exciting exhibitions and performances and lots of have-a-go activities. The day will see the streets, parks, shops and public buildings of Forres come alive with a carnivalesque explosion of art, music, film and dance, talks and tours and much, much more!

Festival director, Kresanna Aigner, said: “The Findhorn Bay area of Moray provides an inspiring backdrop of beautiful pine woodlands, miles of sandy beaches and historic coastal villages, and is home to many talented artists.

“In 2016, we celebrate our Creative Place win and will showcase artists of national and international renown all set in unexpected spaces and scenic locations. The perfect combination for a festival in Scotland!”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director for Moray Speyside, said: “From textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design, Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is shining a spotlight on our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems.”

She added: “The wide-ranging Findhorn Bay Festival programme announced today celebrates a wealth of exciting creative talent whilst strengthening Scotland’s outstanding portfolio of prestigious arts and cultural events. We are delighted to be supporting the dedicated themed year strand as part of this year’s festival – from built heritage to pioneering innovation, light installations to informative tours, the 2016 festival presents a fantastic opportunity for visitors and locals to experience the vibrant personality of Moray Speyside.”

David Oxley, area manager, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Culture is a vital part of the economic mix of Moray, and events such as Findhorn Bay Festival bring new visitors to the area, provide an opportunity for volunteers, showcase the fantastic area we live in, and importantly provide an economic boost to Moray. Highlands and Islands Enterprise is delighted to support the festival in its second major week-long offering.”

Phillip Deverell, director of Strategy, Creative Scotland, said: “Findhorn Bay Festival is a spectacular celebration of arts and culture, and one of the many projects in the area that makes Forres and the surrounding area a deserved winner of the 2015 Creative Place Award.

“Places and quality of life are transformed through imagination, ambition and an understanding of the potential of creativity. The 2016 festival presents a programme of exceptional artists of national and international renown, and work that is very much connected to its place and landscape.”

Ewen Mackintosh, chief operating officer from local whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail and owners of Benromach Distillery, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Findhorn Bay Festival.

“Our Benromach brand is targeted at consumers who have a curious mind, who wish to seek out something that little bit different. We feel our match with the arts and opportunities to work with the Findhorn Bay Festival, provides access to this type of consumer.”

Full programme details and ticket sales available from the festival website

The Findhorn Bay Festival is made possible with generous support from the following: EventScotland in celebration of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Creative Scotland, Moray Council, Moray Towns Partnership, National Trust for Scotland, Berry Burn Community Fund, Gordon & MacPhail, Tornagrain, Adam Family Foundation, Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation and the Saltire Society.


For further information, interviews and photographs contact:

Wendy Niblock – National PR
m: 07961 814834 e:

Claire Doughty – Regional PR
m: 07846 1450050 e:

Samantha Fraser – assistant
m: 07843 842 890 w: 01309 673137 e:

Images and video:

The Findhorn Bay Festival Launch Advert can be viewed here:

The Findhorn Bay Festival Programme Highlights video can be viewed here:

A selection of images from the programme launch is available here:

Please credit images as indicated in the filenames

Notes to editors:

Full programme can be found on our website:

Tickets can be purchased online via
Phone (TicketSource): 0333 666 3366
Please note when booking tickets you will be redirected to the TicketSource Box Office and that a ticket booking fee and administration charge will apply.

Facebook: @findhornbayarts

Twitter: @FindhornBayArts

Instagram: Findhorn Bay Festival

Findhorn Bay Arts

The Findhorn Bay area of Moray provides an inspiring backdrop of beautiful pine woodlands, miles of sandy beaches and idyllic fishing villages, and is home to many talented artists, including musicians, film-makers, dancers, performers, photographers, comedians, novelists, storytellers and poets, all of whom produce work which reflects and celebrates the landscape and culture in which it was created.

Based in the ancient market town of Forres, Findhorn Bay Arts is a non-profit organisation and company limited by guarantee, which is passionate about promoting this beautiful part of Scotland as a place for outstanding arts through the delivery of high quality arts events and projects.

Through events such as Culture Day and the biennial Findhorn Bay Festival, it aims to showcase and nurture the creativity of the area’s residents, whilst attracting high-quality artists and productions to the area. It is also proud to be part of Scotland’s National Youth Arts strategy, ‘Time to Shine’. IGNITE: Moray Youth Arts Hub aims to open up a range of exciting routes for children and young people to connect with creativity and explore arts in Moray.

In 2015, Findhorn Bay Arts won a much coveted Creative Place Award by Creative Scotland.

2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity. The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will run until 31 December 2016. It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.

Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed fashion, textiles and design sector. The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, supported by partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Festival accommodation partner:

Findhorn Bay Holiday Park is offering discounts for Festival ticket holders.
20 per cent discount for rentals booked between 11 July and 25 September and ten per cent discount for all tent and tourer bookings, valid with proof of ticket purchase for at least one PAID event at time of booking/check-in.

For further details see

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