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Visitor Numbers triple as Aberdeen festival hailed a huge success

17/02/16

Tens of Thousands turned out to see world-class art installations illuminate Aberdeen at the weekend.

The city centre became a playground full of swirling lights, playful art, ghostly illuminations and magical exhibitions of digital innovation.

SPECTRA – Aberdeen's Festival of Lights – attracted just over 35,000 people last weekend, a dramatic rise on the previous year when visitor numbers reached 10,000.

Friends and families braved sleet and snow over the weekend to experience stunning visuals and play with the more creative digital pieces.

Organised by Aberdeen City Council, the festival has grown significantly in size and stature since its inception in 2014.

This year, the festival moved from just one site to four key locations around the city centre.

Visitors followed a trail to view installations at Marischal College, Union Terrace Gardens, Seventeen on Belmont Street and St Nicholas Kirkyard – taking in much of Aberdeen's historic architecture.

Many of the 20 original works were created by artists who had displayed in Scotland for the first time in celebration of the 2016 Scottish Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Aberdeen City Council Convener of Education and Children's Services Councillor Angela Taylor said: "This year, SPECTRA proved to be a cutting-edge festival which has linked culture, science and history together.

"Both interactive and inspiring, the festival has led the way in showcasing the best of what Aberdeen has to offer as a cultural destination.

"Despite this festival being a new concept for Aberdeen, we have listened to feedback from visitors and have made it bigger and better than ever before with great success.

"SPECTRA certainly created a real buzz in the city, with those who attended having nothing but praise for the event."

At Marischal College, clusters of people were in awe of the impressive 3D projection mapping by Double Take Projections.

The shifting shapes, colours and figures running across the entirety of Mitchell Hall told the stories of some of Aberdeen's most noted historical scientists.

At St Nicholas Kirkyard, crowds were mesmerised by the futuristic light sculpture, Light Wave Power by Paul Friedlander, which displayed rapid movements of light and kinetic energy that furiously changed colour.

On entering the Kirkyard, visitors were immersed in eerie light scenes surrounded by smoke. Wabi Sabi, a creation by visual artist Ulf Pedersen, proved to be very popular as it projected the 900-year-old burial ground in a mysterious new light.

Thousands also visited Union Terrace Gardens to hop, skip and jump across The Pool which was sponsored by Aberdeen Inspired. This installation, by artist Jen Lewin, comprised of 40,000 LED lights which could be seen from high above the garden and was played with by both adults and children alike.

Water Light Graffiti also had large audience's queuing to create graffiti with water pistols, paintbrushes, water spray, their fingers or anything damp.

Creator Antonin Fourneau has received global acclaim for his interactive piece and has previously showcased in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Japan.

The event organised and spearheaded by Aberdeen City Council and Curated Place was supported by Event Scotland and forms part of the2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.