The 8th Perthshire Amber Festival was a true triumph! A post-festival Letter from Jenny (Jennifer MacLean - Festival Director)
"Since tickets first went on sale back in April we watched as one concert after another, in towns and villages all over Perthshire sold out. We're really pleased to announce that, in a year that has seen many festivals and events in crisis and with financial doom and gloom all around, we have managed to achieve more than a 10% increase in our attendance figures and have doubled the number of 'festival-goers' since we became a 10-day festival in 2007. We are proud that our festival, completely organised by our family along with a dedicated and talented team from many different parts of Scotland and the world, has grown a reputation for being welcoming and friendly, encouraging of aspiring musicians and presenting a high quality and appealing programme. There were so many layers of Perthshire Amber in 2012 and so many 'experiences' and friends (musical and otherwise) that I'd like to hi-light.
The main concerts were all wonderful experiences and we were thrilled with all the musicians and venues this year. From Edwina Hayes at the Opening Concert in Caledonia Hall, Ross Ainslie Trio in Aberfeldy Town Hall, Julie Fowlis in Blair Castle and Tim Edey in Dunkeld Cathedral to the stunning Strings and Choirs Concert and Friends Concert in Perth Concert Hall there was a musical excellence and variety of style that sustained an real excitement for audiences throughout the full 10 days!
The concept of the Amber Afternoon Concerts, which was developed this year, meant musical adventures with amazing artists like Duncan Chisholm and Bruce MacGregor (and stunning afternoon teas!) in smaller and sometimes very unusual venues in different parts of Perthshire. Our sincere thanks to all the musicians and venues as well as to the members of the local food initiative "Love to Eat" who provided delicious baking for each afternoon concert.
The early evening Cabaret Amber, hosted by Gina Macleod and Alan Jordan, presented top quality musicians and drew larger audiences than ever before and the three afternoons of Open Mic (hosted by Ewen Sutherland) were totally mobbed! There is so much musical talent out there, just needing a good venue with great sound and a welcoming audience … and our festival team is proud to be able to bring it all together!
The friendly Celtic Music Radio team were again involved in broadcasting to a wider radio audience, while our own Butterstone.tv filmed and live streamed the evening concerts to a an ever growing global audience!
The Decorated Wheelbarrow Procession was again a great 'welcome to Dunkeld', with skilfully made and imaginative entries processing behind the pipe band and really enthusiastic crowds lining the streets and filling the cross. This has become a wonderful community event that just seems to put a smile on the faces of all who are involved.
The Big Tree Morning Walks (in collaboration with Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust) and other outdoor activities as well as the new SongBus routes were all really appreciated and enjoyed and we were so lucky to enjoy glorious autumn colours and great weather for the duration of the festival. So many contributed to The Big Knit and the Amber Harvest which have become an important part of our festival..it's great to see people really enjoying being able to give of their time and skills (or the food that's in their cupboards) in a quiet kind of way. We know it's appreciated by the charities we support.
Our 'techie team' excelled itself with the provision of great lighting, sound, filming and photography during the whole festival. They and every other member of our festival team worked tirelessly to make sure that the festival experience was a good as it could be for all those who joined us from near and far.
Thank you to all who helped us to make Perthshire Amber - the Dougie MacLean Festival 2012 such a memorable experience!"