Skip to main content

NEWS – 18 July 2022

A scintillating September in store with triple festival delight in Aberdeen


Aberdeen Performing Arts today announces three exciting events which will hit the Granite City in September. Brand new festival Wonderland, the return of music festival True North, and a spectacular temporary pop-up venue called Wonder Hoose.

Wonderland has been produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of Culture Aberdeen which has been awarded funding through the UK Government Community Renewal Fund and Aberdeen City Council. It will see 12 artists and collectives produce 22 brand new art works which will be installed, displayed and performed across the city centre from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September.

Award-winning music festival True North returns from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September and will include notable performances from world music legend Nitin Sawhney, British art rockers Django Django, alongside a special evening led by soul superstar Mica Paris celebrating the music of the legendary Aretha Franklin.

Both festivals will feature performances in the spectacular new Wonder Hoose which will make the stunning surrounds of the Quadrangle at Marischal College its home from Thursday 8 to Sunday 25 September, and present a daily programme of music, comedy, theatre, dance and family shows launching on Thursday 8 September with Aberdeen’s own songwriting sensation Kathryn Joseph.

Aberdeen Performing Arts Director of Programming and Creative Projects, Ben Torrie said, “It is so exciting to be announcing three thrilling events in Aberdeen this September. Aberdeen is the place to be as we welcome global music stars, premiere 22 new artworks, and install a magnificent temporary venue within one of the city’s most iconic sites.

“Wonderland is designed by artists and creatives in the North-East and is inspired by people and place. It was dreamed up during lockdown to reanimate and re-imagine our city centre as part of Covid recovery. We invite people to join us in a celebration of our creative city.

“Two weeks later we are back with Aberdeen’s beloved True North festival, bigger and better than ever featuring world music legend Nitin Sawhney, Scotland’s Emma Pollock and Gentle Sinners, and local up-and-coming talent AiiTEE”

“And what better way to spend an Autumn evening than in our beautiful Wonder Hoose? We’ll be building a stunning pop-up venue in a unique setting with an amazing line up of artists and performers.”

Wonderland is a love letter to Aberdeen and will feature aerial dancers, soundscapes, films, art installations, an enchanted emporium, an urban garden and all for free. The festival will take place across the city centre in both outdoor locations and in surprising spaces including Union Street, Marischal Square, Broad Street, St Andrew’s Street, the Bon Accord Centre, the Rooftop Garden, St Nicholas Kirk, Shiprow, the Art Gallery, His Majesty’s Theatre and more beloved city sites.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The Wonderland festival is a fantastic way for residents and visitors to Aberdeen to enjoy the end of the summer and come together for an exciting array of live performances.
“As well as showcasing the region’s many talented artists and creative industries, it should also be a welcome boost for local businesses.
“The UK Government is supporting the festival with £306,000 as part of more than £2 billion targeted at levelling up communities right across Scotland.”

Councillor Martin Greig, convener of the education committee, said: “Wonderland is a great example of home-grown creative activity. The music performances and cultural experiences add a great deal to the quality of life in our city. The festival offers an exciting and prestigious
range of enjoyable events for all to enjoy. Funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund and the City Centre Recovery Fund is appreciated and will help make this weekend happen.”

True North returns for its eighth year with performances including A Celebration of Aretha Franklin by Mica Paris, and Nitin Sawhney at the Music Hall; At the Lemon Tree, alt rock band Django Django, Gentle Sinners featuring Aidan Moffat and James Graham, latino outfit Los Bitchos and the exuberant African Groove Machine. There will be a series of early evening gigs in the Wonder Hoose featuring AiiTEE, Emma Pollock, Honeyblood’s Stina Marie Claire and Michael Timmons and interactive family shows from CBeebie’s favourite YolanDa’s Band Jam and Sprog Rock.

Ben Torrie added, “We already have a stunning line up in place for this year’s True North which we couldn’t wait to share. We’re not done yet though – we are in conversation with a potential headline artist and still have our fringe events to announce. We are looking forward to what will be the biggest True North yet!”.

Wonder Hoose will bring a unique festival vibe to the Granite City for three weeks with a programme that includes folk favourites Saltfishforty, comedians Seann Walsh and Sara Barron, theatre production Tickbox, free local music nights, a stunning setting and the chance to relax and enjoy a drink.

Full details of each festival can be found at Tickets for True North and Wonder Hoose events go on sale on Friday 22 July (presale for Aberdeen Performing Arts Friends on Thursday 21 July). Wonderland events will be free to attend – the full detailed schedule will be announced soon.