Haddo Arts Festival 2021

7-19 October 2021

We celebrated our 10th anniversary Festival with a sound and vision spectacular composed of images and music from Festivals past and present, projected onto the front of House House on the evening of Friday 8 October, before moving online for a thrilling programme of performances recorded at Haddo earlier in the summer.

2021 Haddo Arts Festival Poster

Haddo Arts celebrated the 10th anniversary Haddo Arts Festival with online events broadcast between 9 – 16 October and visual arts exhibitions and events on site at Haddo from 8 – 17 October.

We programmed a virtual Festival again in view of the uncertainty over the possibility of staging a live Festival in October, with Jamie MacDougall once again our Festival host.

All performances and the Harvest Festival Service were recorded at Haddo during June, July and September. The four events taking place in the Hall were recorded in front of a socially distanced audience.

Two concerts postponed from 2021, The Bach Players “All Bach” and Steven Devine & Kate Semmens “Songs to the Fortepiano”, were included in the programme. We commissioned a film of Chekhov's one act play, “The Proposal”, from young, Aberdeen-based, professional theatre company Ten Feet Tall. We were delighted to welcome international pianist Joanna MacGregor who gave both a recital and the David & June Gordon lecture, and acclaimed Scottish traditional music group, The Whistlebinkies.

We continued our longstanding links with the North East Scotland Music School through the violin and piano recital given by Jenna Stewart and Ben Marsden. David and June Gordon Organ Scholar, Anthony White, recorded an organ recital on the Willis organ in the Chapel.

Feedback from the performers was overwhelmingly positive about the venues at Haddo, the quality of Haddo Arts’ welcome and organisation, and the sheer joy of performing live again after so many months of lock down due to the pandemic.

Continuing Covid restrictions also affected the delivery of this year’s instalment of the Song for Haddo. Each of the three participating primary schools came to Haddo separately to rehearse and record one song, accompanied by McOpera’s professional musicians, and then experience a tour of Haddo House to see some of the special places which inspired the music. Unfortunately, Covid restrictions meant that we were unable to bring the secondary school instrumentalists to Haddo. Thanks to the flexibility of our funders, we were able to postpone the secondary school masterclasses and rehearsals to 2022 and we anticipate a full live performance of A Song for Haddo: A Place to Play during the 2022 Festival.

It was particularly pleasing to collaborate with Haddo Country Forum Ltd and Love with Light Portraits as well as the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) in extending the Festival into the Country Park through the Art in the Park exhibition of work by Sarah Calder in the Pheasantry and photography trail of Haddo portraits linking the Park and the House. These tied in very well with the special “Experiencing Collections: Haddo in a Different Light” tours run by the NTS during Festival week.