logo Aberdeen & NE of Scotland Music Festival

Not to gain a prize or defeat a rival, but to pace one another on the road to excellence

History of the Festival

Aberdeen’s oldest and original music, drama and dance Festival began life in 1909 and is still very much alive today.

Sir Edward Elgar
Sir Edward Elgar

The Festival was founded by Stanford Terry, Professor of History at Aberdeen University in order to encourage music-making and performance in the north-east of Scotland. Professor Terry had met Sir Edward Elgar at other similar Festivals in the south and Elgar was invited to the first Aberdeen Festival and arrived at Stanford Terry’s Pitfodels home via the then Deeside Railway Line from Aberdeen Joint Station for its inauguration.

The Festival adopts the motto of Sir Henry Walford Davies “Not to gain a prize or defeat a rival but to pace one another on the road to excellence”.

The Festival is run entirely by volunteers and relies on entry fees, fundraising and sponsorship to continue to offer performance opportunities to musicians, singers and actors from the North East and beyond.

The Festival takes place each year in the first week of June, in halls throughout the city. The Festival is not just for the performers. All events are open to the public and audiences are warmly welcomed.

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