Everything you need to see at this year’s Spectra festival

Spectra, Scotland’s magical festival of light, is nearly upon us. Each year the festival brings a spectacular programme of free works by some of the world’s leading visual artists, studios and companies to transform the Granite City with light, sound, and eye-catching visual art.

Inspired by the theme of ‘Home’, this year’s programme will once again light up Aberdeen’s dark winter nights for residents and visitors of all ages.

The city centre will be taken over by some amazing interactive sculptures and installations, from the towering otherworldly visitors of Fantastic Planet to This is Loop’s hypnotic tunnel of light and sound Pulse, and Limbic Cinema’s spectacular circadian light sculpture Circa.

Artwork Fantastic Planet Photo Credit Parer Studio Image 5

Image credit: Parer-Studio

Iconic city-centre landmarks will be lit up by new work from projection art-specialists Illuminos, while Union Terrace Gardens becomes a spellbinding city garden filled with the illuminated plants, insects and animals of Nature Nocturnal and the giant, musical, jellyfish-like Luminosi Trees. The garden’s nearby archways will also host Visible Voices, a new animated projection created with local young people that infuses everyday objects with a twist of the surreal.

Luminosi Trees Leicester Dan Fox 37

Image credit: Dan Fox

Playful-types can make the most of Illumiphonium, a fun and spontaneous outdoor music-making experience consisting of more than two hundred illuminated chime bars, Meanwhile Sound Intervention’s whimsical Projector Bikes will be popping up around town improvising and interacting with audiences with delightful digital animations inspired by Aberdeen and the spirit of home.

There’s even live performance to enjoy, with Fusion Youth Dance Company premiering a new piece inspired by the Fantastic Planet visitors in Marischal College Quad, and Spectra’s resident storytellers spinning tales in English, Scots, and Doric, inspiring visitors of all ages to think about the comforts of home, wherever it may be.

Pulse CREDIT TO Alan Hayes

Image credit: Alan Hayes

Visitors can also add a little something to their evening by supporting the businesses across the city centre that are staying open into the night to offer the opportunity to warm up with a hot coffee or a bite to eat, or even an ice-cream for the hardy and warmly dressed.

Spectra takes place in Aberdeen city centre from Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 February 2023. For top tips on making the most of your trip, including special deals at local restaurants and cafes, and for festival updates visit www.spectrafestival.co.uk.

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All information is correct at the time of publishing, we recommend that you check opening times and information for individual places before visiting.