Programme announced for Aberdeen’s first-ever Dolphin Festival

RSPB North East Scotland

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Bottlenose dolphin

Full details of line-up for four-day festival on 25-28 April to celebrate “amazing marine wildlife” is revealed.

This year Aberdeen will host its very first Dolphin Festival thanks to funding from ScottishPower Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and support from organisations and individuals across Scotland.

DolphinFest aims to celebrate the amazing marine wildlife around Aberdeen and the North-East coast especially the bottlenose dolphins which are seen regularly from Torry Battery and aims to encourage people to help protect it.

The four-day event will take place in four locations around Aberdeen launching on 25 April with a special talk by wildlife cameraman and photographer Doug Allan. This will be followed by a Science Day at the University of Aberdeen, a Family Fun Day at Duthie Park and a Day of Action at Torry Batttery. Dolphinwatch viewing will take place at Torry Battery throughout the festival too. The full programme will be available from 21 March at

Sadie Gorvett, RSPB Scotland’s Dolphinwatch Community Events Officer, who is organizing the festival said: “I am very excited and honoured to have organised the very first dolphin festival in Aberdeen. We live in an amazing part of the world, where we can see bottlenose dolphins in the middle of a city! I hope DolphinFest will showcase the incredible opportunity to view and help protect bottlenose dolphins and the marine environment locally. There are so many amazing organisations involved in the festival which is testament to the importance of partnership working in helping protect nature. I am excited to announce the full programme of events and hope that it encourages even more people to get out and enjoy the wildlife right on their doorstep, because we are privileged to have it.”

The DolphinFest launch takes place at the Beach Ballroom on Thursday 25 April, where special guest speaker, Wildlife Cameraman and Photographer, Doug Allan, will be celebrating some of the incredible marine wildlife seen around Aberdeen. Tickets for the launch event must be booked in advance via the Aberdeen Performing Arts webpage. Ahead of the launch, there will be a special civic reception for invited guests emphasising the support there is for celebrating and protecting marine wildlife in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council Operational Delivery Convener, Councillor John Wheeler said: “Dolphinwatch has been going from strength to strength since it started so it’s fantastic the RSPB has added a festival to the event this year. We are extremely lucky in Aberdeen to be able to watch these beautiful mammals so close to the shore – to be able to spot them so near to the city is something quite unique in the UK, if not Europe. We look forward to welcoming even more residents and visitors to our beautiful city to come and watch and learn about dolphins in their natural habitat.”

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 Corals. 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.

Then on Saturday 27 April, there’s a day of family fun at Duthie Park, where a range of organisations are offering games and activities along with an inflatable whale roadshow by The Whale Workshop and a bespoke marine-themed escape room by The Locked Door. There will be inspiring talks from a selection of young speakers and a special live performance by Big Noise Torry’s Dolphin Orchestra too. Tickets for the escape room must be booked in advance via the Aberdeen Performing Arts webpage.

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.

Katie Dyke, Policy Officer for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Shorewatch Programme are excited to be a part of this event. We have worked with Dolphinwatch at Torry for the last seven years and are very happy to join the celebration of these amazing creatures - dolphins. As part of the event Whale and Dolphin Conservation will give a talk on the Friday, encourage visitors to play our interactive and hilarious dolphin games at the family fun day and run surveys (Shorewatches) from Torry over the weekend. A Shorewatch is a survey which is done by our dedicated volunteers regularly throughout the year. The information collected from these surveys show us important areas for whales and dolphins so we can protect them from threats.”

Throughout the festival, Dolphinwatch viewing will take place at Torry Battery, with staff and volunteers there each day from 11 am to 5 pm, 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 site. Anyone interested in volunteering with Dolphinwatch viewing or the festival should get in touch by emailing or calling 01224 624824. 

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 or (#RSPBDolphinwatch; #DolphinFest; #DolphinsABDN).

Last Updated: Wednesday 20 March 2019

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