Aberdour gets set for a feast of festival fun

The team that has organised the Aberdour Festival 2016
The team that has organised the Aberdour Festival 2016

The quiet village of Aberdour is set to be transformed into a hive of activity when this year’s festival gets under way.

It’s time for the 33rd annual Aberdour Festival, which begins tomorrow (Friday) and will run across ten days, finishing on Sunday, August 7.

The Aberdour Art Festival group will get things started with a number of exhibitions before the opening celebration takes place at the festival marquee from 9.30pm until midnight.

There you can enjoy a welcome glass of fizz and take in music from the Jennifer Ewan Band.

Then on Saturday the Festival Parade will take place after the crowning of the new festival king and queen, going through the village down to Shore Road and onward to Black Sands where the Beach Day will kick off.

Caroline Cavell, director and secretary for the festival, says a whole lot of planning goes on behind the scenes and it would not take place without the help of villagers.

“We have a committee of eight but we get a huge amount of help from lots of people in the village,” she said. “Planning goes on all through the year really.

“We take a bit of a breather after the festival has finished – people have a break and go on holiday! – then coming up to Christmas we ramp it up again and start planning what the next festival will look like.”

Caroline says that input from members of the public is vital when thinking about what sort of festival people would like.

“We start to think what acts we want to put on, what were the good and bad points of the previous year’s and what lessons can we learn,” she said.

“We take on all the comments we receive so that we put on the best festival that we can.

“It goes much wider than just us though, lots of people get involved and all are doing it voluntarily.

“For example, the Donkey Brae race needs lots of marshalls and we’ve got a long list of people who have volunteered to do that.”

The famous seven-mile race will take place on Sunday at 1pm and eager runners have until noon on the day to register.

Also on Sunday is the Village Market and Fun Day which will feature more than 50 stalls, making it one of the busiest days.

Along with the organisation of the festival there is also a lot of fundraising to be done and Caroline says the committee has tried new ways of finding money for 2016.

She said: “This year we have got charitable status and are now a limited company. That’s a big change for us and has been a huge help.

“Trying to fund the festival is difficult and we rely on the goodwill of local people who are just fantastic and we really appreciate all the help we get,” she said.

Another innovation is a new ‘Friends Of The Festival’ scheme which offers two different memberships to the festival.

A standard membership costs £20, which will get members a car sticker, wristband, listed on the festival website and free entry with free glass of fizz on opening night.

The 100/100 membership costs £100 and includes all of the standard package as well as free entry to all evening marquee events, advance table booking and an invite to the ‘Thank You’ event.

“It’s just a different way of trying to raise funds,” Caroline says. “Any funds at all that we can get in advance it really helps.”

With a huge variety of activities taking place in a packed programme, the committee has worked hard to make sure that there’s something for everyone regardless of age or interests.

“I think that there’s something for all ages, from toddlers to the retired,” Caroline said. “There are lots of things happening for kids but then we have things like tea dances and talks.

“Market Day and Donkey Brae are a big part of the festival and bring a lot of people to the village, but now we also have Beach Day and if we get good weather, what could be better than building a sandcastle on the beach?

“This year for Beach Day we’re going to have a Prosecco tent so that the adults can have a drink while the children play.

“The whole day is going to be geared around family.”

For those who like something a bit more lively, there will be plenty of music to enjoy.

Caroline says: “There are lots of different musical acts playing at Bands By The Sands.

“It’ll start off more gentle in the afternoon with acoustic acts playing then will build up to rock bands at night.

“We don’t just focus on one particular age group – we want to appeal to everyone so hopefully we’ll get a good turnout across the week and people will come and support us.”

For a look at the full programme and to find out details on how you can become a Friend of the Festival go to the website www.aberdourfestival.org.