Aberdeen’s very first dolphin festival launches tonight with a special talk by renowned wildlife cameraman
The much anticipated DolphinFest and Aberdeen’s first-ever dolphin festival, is a celebration of the incredible variety of marine wildlife around Aberdeen and the North-East coast, especially the bottlenose dolphins seen regularly from Torry Battery, and aims to encourage people to help protect it.
Thanks to funding from ScottishPower Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and support from organisations and individuals across Scotland, DolphinFest will run for four days at four locations across the city.
The Festival launches tonight (25 April) at the Beach Ballroom with a bespoke talk celebrating the incredible marine wildlife around Aberdeen and the North-East coast. Guest speaker, BBC wildlife cameraman and photographer, Doug Allan, will share footage, photographs and personal stories of his experiences with some of these amazing animals. Tickets for this special launch event should be booked in advance via the Aberdeen Performing Arts webpage, although any remaining tickets will be available for cash purchase on the door at £10 per person and £7 for RSPB members.
The launch event will be preceded by a private civic reception for invited guests as a celebration of the reputation Aberdeen now has as one of the best places to see dolphins and as a thanks for all their support in helping to grow awareness of this.
Following Thursday’s launch, the next three days of the festival will include a Science Day at the University of Aberdeen, a Family Fun Day at Duthie Park and a Day of Action at Torry Battery. Dolphinwatch viewing will take place at Torry Battery throughout the festival too. Click here to download the full programme or visit rspb.org.uk/dolphinwatch .
Sadie Gorvett, RSPB Scotland’s Dolphinwatch Community Events Officer, who is organised the festival said: “I can’t believe it’s finally here. DolphinFest has been so much fun to organise and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for making it possible! I hope the festival will inspire people who may not know much about the marine environment to get involved and enjoy it. I want those that already love it to feel a sense of community and know that there are so many people who are just as passionate as them and want to make a difference. There are so many things you can get involved with over the four days, so I hope to see as many people as possible at the events!”
Friday 26 April brings a Science day at the University of Aberdeen Zoology Museum, where a range of talks will be held throughout the day and evening along with a screening of award-winning documentary, Chasing Coral. People can discover more out about the astonishing culture, behaviours and communications of dolphins, what threats are causing harbour seal and seabird declines and the vast array of weird and wonderful life in the North Sea. For the younger audience, the Zoology Museum will be holding 30-minute drop in sessions, where families can get hands on with some of the museum’s collection.
Saturday 27 April is a day of family fun at Duthie Park, where a range of organisations are offering games and activities. There will also be an inflatable whale roadshow by The Whale Workshop with life-size dolphins and a bespoke marine-themed escape room by The Locked Door. On top of that, there will be inspiring talks from a selection of young speakers, including local litter-picking legend Thomas Truby, and a special live performance by Big Noise Torry’s Dolphin Orchestra. Tickets for the escape room should be booked in advance via the Aberdeen Performing Arts webpage but remaining tickets will be available on the door for cash purchase.
Eight-year old Thomas Truby, founder of The Rubbish Club, who is speaking at the festival said: “I am really excited to attend DolphinFest, it’s going to be a great event. I’m looking forward to having the chance to talk all about The Rubbish Club and why I want to clean up our planet. I love all marine life, especially turtles, but I love dolphins too. I can’t wait to learn more at DolphinFest.”
Francis Moore-Colyer, Big Noise Torry Musician, who will be delivering a live performance with the Dolphin Orchestra at the festival said: "Being based in Torry, we at Big Noise feel a close connection with the waters around Aberdeen; it's a wonderful idea to have a DolphinFest and to increase awareness of marine wildlife here. It will be our privilege to be a part of this story as we perform at the Family Fun Day, using our musical skills to present our own story and to help increase awareness. Creating a piece like this and expressing ourselves to others in this way is the whole purpose of making music, so it will be a joy!"
The festival will conclude on Sunday 28 April at Torry Battery, with activities to help people get closer to marine wildlife and get involved in helping to protect it including guided walks, rockpooling, a beach clean and a chance to learn more about Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Shorewatch programme. In addition, a demonstration of the incredible work of marine mammal medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue will showcase how they help stranded marine mammals.
Jennifer Smith, from Surfers Against Sewage, who will be leading the beach clean on the final day of the festival, said: “It’s so wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of an event aimed at inspiring young minds to be environmentally conscious! Dolphinfest is going to be a really fun family-friendly event that invites everyone to take part in conservation and marine wildlife appreciation – what better way to celebrate the fantastic ocean environment surrounding Aberdeen! "
Throughout the festival, Dolphinwatch viewing will take place at Torry Battery, with staff and volunteers there each day from 11am to 5pm, to help visitors spot and learn more about the bottlenose dolphins that call the North Sea their home. Over the four days of the festival, special guest artists Fresh Paint will join the team to create some marine-inspired wall art influenced by local children. This will be revealed on Sunday 28 April.
Dolphinwatch viewing is now in its seventh year and has evolved over time into a very popular seasonal event which brings both locals and tourists to the iconic Torry Battery. The team will be on-site every Thursday to Sunday after the Festival until the middle of August.
Dolphinwatch is a project funded by ScottishPower Foundation and The National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by RSPB Scotland in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Keep up to date at facebook.com/RSPBNorthEastScotland or twitter.com/RSPB_NEScotland (#RSPBDolphinwatch; #DolphinFest; #DolphinsABDN).