Grampian Escapes and Tours

Festivals & Events in the North East

SPECTRA Aberdeen

Cultural events in Aberdeenshire


Vivien Rae, Owner of Evoke Marketing and Events Volunteer/Organiser.

In this episode we are speaking with Vivien Rae who has spent years volunteering in groups and on committees providing events in and round the Portsoy area of Aberdeenshire.  We are very lucky to have a wide range of activities and events in the county, and in pre-covid, there was always somewhere to go in the summer months.  We talk with Vivien about some of the festivals and events we have enjoyed in the past and why they are great for maintaining our heritage but also opportunities to expand our horizons with some of the new ones.

We also speak about how this year, many events will more than likely go on line where possible.  As we come to terms with doing things differently for the foreseeable future, there are also positives to come out of it.  Such as by hosting some of our events online, more people will be able to participate and we can more easily share our culture with those from around the globe.

Listen to the podcast by clicking the link below.

Going Digital

One of the festivals we have enjoyed in the past is Granite Noir, a book festival like few others.  This book festival celebrates all that is Crime, Intrigue and Mystery written by renowned authors from Scotland, Scandinavia and North America. The festival which runs from the 19th of February until the 21st of February hosts several online author talks and presentations from writers such as Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Jo Nesbo.  Fancy your sleuthing chances try the Murder at the Museum event and escape game where everyone has to work together. If you want to know more visit the Aberdeen Performing Arts Website, or why not hear Stuart MacBride talk about the festival.  No tickets are required for the author talks, these are free and streamed on the website. What is not to love!  We would encourage you to consider making a voluntary donation to the Aberdeen Performing Arts Centre if you can, this can also be done via their website. (Thank you!)


Friends at the Inverurie Whisky Shop offer regular virtual tastings online. Book in advance and you will receive a sample box delivered to your door in time for the guided tasting, often hosted by the ambassadors of the distilleries.  This way you learn about the making of the whisky, what makes the dram special and you can do it while wearing your slippers!  Shipping is likely to be to the UK only.

The Spirit of Speyside Spring Festival will be held from the 28th of April until the 3rd of May.  Usually a very busy time in the heart of Scottish Whisky country but now made even more accessible by going virtual. The full programme of events will be announced on the 11th of March and tickets will be available from the 16th of March.



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The City of Aberdeen Gin Distillery also offers fun virtual Gin tastings. There are several different tasting packs to enjoy all with expert guidance of the head distiller. City of Aberdeen Distillery is owned and run by two friends, Dan and Alan. The distillery opened its doors in December 2019,  proudly reviving Aberdeen’s lost distilling heritage. The last distillery (Strathdee Distillery) closed its doors way back in 1941 – a pause of almost 80 years.


The wonderful True North Music Festival was held virtually in 2020, it is not known as of yet what the plans are for this year but it is a possibility that some if not all will be done so again.  The good news for those of us who love music, the event can still be seen via the True North Facebook page.

The Scottish National Opera have made several performances available on their website. You can listen and watch performance of Hansel & Gretel, Cosi Fan Tuttie and the Narcissistic Fish. We cannot lose ourselves in the drama and performance of being in the Theatre, but thanks to the Scottish National Opera, we can cozy up with a blanket and a good class of wine and watch their performance from our sofas.


It is probably a bit early in the year for most organisers to have made plans for their events and festival.  One thing we can be fairly confident with is 2021  is unlikely to be very much different to last year.  So as we learn more about what is happening this year, we will update this page to include more information of events and festivals which have moved online.








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Jacqueline van den Akker

Jacqueline van den Akker

Jacqueline is the owner and lead guide for the business. Together with the team, they create wonderful tours and experiences for visitors working in collaboration with other independent business in Aberdeenshire to show the best of the Northeast of Scotland.

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