What are the opening times?
Union Terrace Gardens – 6.30pm – 10.00pm (last entry 9.30pm)
St Nicholas Kirk – 6.30pm – 9.30pm (last entry 9pm)
Marischal College – 6.30pm – 9.30pm (last entry 9pm)
Do I have to pay?
The main light festival is free! Some fringe activities may incur a charge but you will be made aware of this before participating in these events. Our conference and music programme are ticketed events.
What should I wear?
Spectra is mainly an outdoor festival. As it’s February (and Scotland!) we’d recommend warm and waterproof clothing. Sensible footwear is a must too.
How long will it take me to view the event?
It can take between 1 to 2 hours to view all the installations at each site (perhaps a bit longer at our bigger sites Union Terrace Gardens and St Nicholas Kirkyard) but don’t worry – you have 4 days to view the festival! How long it takes to participate in the interactive installations will also depend on the crowds each night. Please be aware that some of our sites will be operating a one way system to ensure the safety of all our attendees. A number of our installations are interactive and will be busy so queuing systems are in operation. We will aim to minimise waiting times where possible, but we ask that you are patient at busy times.
Why is Spectra different from other events?
Spectra is a wonderful sensory experience for all! Sensory experiences help to create a stimulating learning environment for all ages that is adaptable and encourages learning by way of observation, perception, knowledge and participation!
What is the best way to get to the festival?
We highly recommend you use public transport or the Park and Ride services from Kingswells and Bridge of Don, all of which have drop off and pick up points on Union Street. All festival sites are located on or within a few minutes of Union Street. First Bus and Stagecoach can help plan your journey.
Is there parking provided?
There is no event parking at any of the Spectra Festival venues. However, public parking facilities are located at:
Bon Accord Centre / Harriet Street
Union Square Shopping Centre
NCP on Shiprow
Are all sites accessible?
Yes, all venues are accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.
Wheelchair access to Union Terrace Gardens is available via the Denburn Viaduct North Gate which can be accessed via His Majesty’s Theatre loading zone behind the theatre. The nearest disabled car parking spaces would be on Union Terrace or within the Denburn car park.
Access for wheelchairs and buggies for St. Nicholas Kirk is available from Union Street or Upper Kirkgate.
Will the event be cancelled in the case of bad weather?
In the case of extreme weather please follow us on social media for any updates. Find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or use the Festival hashtag – #SpectraABDN. Further information can also be found at www.spectraaberdeen.com.
Where are the nearest toilets?
Toilets can be found at Union Terrace Gardens and St Nicholas Kirkyard.
Is there catering at the event?
We also have a few offers with local restaurants for discounted food. Keep an eye on our social media channels for all food and drink offers!
Can I bring my own food and drink?
Yes, but no alcohol is allowed.
Is Photography allowed?
Yes! We encourage photography at Spectra and we also have number of platforms where you can upload your images! Upload your spectacular images to social media using the #SpectraABDN hashtag or tag us in the photo! Our handle for twitter, instagram and Facebook is spectraaberdeen. We also have a Flickr group too!
For the more professional photographer out there, please be aware that at busy times you may not be able to use a tripod. If in doubt ask a member of spectra staff or steward.
Where can I get information on the artists and displays?
We have an information point at Union Terrace Gardens and also ‘Ask Me!’ staff as part of festival team on site who are happy to provide information . However, this site is your best source of info! All installations/artists have a full listing page and you can search in a number of ways. You can do it off the main menu by venue or you can use the search function at the bottom of the page.
What should I do if my child gets lost?
Spectra is an extremely popular and busy event. We encourage all parents/guardians to keep a close watch on young children at all times. However, we know that at a busy event its easy to lose sight of someone and children can be easily distracted! Our recommendation would be to tell your children that if they get lost to find an Event Steward. Event Stewards will be wearing high visibility clothing and should be easily identified in the venue. Parents and carers should immediately report a lost child to an Event Steward with a description of their appearance and clothing.
If you have young children, we’d also recommend adding parental information on the child’s person – a wristband, on clothing or a piece of paper with names and contact numbers.
Is there a lost or found items?
Any items found will be kept at Union Terrace Gardens for the duration of the festival and handed to Police Scotland after the event. Valuable items will immediately be handed to Police Scotland.
Do I need to bring a torch?
Each festival site will have altered public lighting. This is carried out to enhance the effect of the installations. However, health and safety is important at any public event and there will be additional low level lighting in place to enable paths and stairs to be seen safely. If you wish to bring a torch to assist you, please only shine on the paths or stairs to aid your movement around the site.
Will it be safe with reduced lighting?
There will be security within each festival site to ensure it is a safe and fun event for all! If you have any concerns at any venue, please find a member of the security team for assistance. Aberdeen City Council staff, Event Stewards and Spectra support staff will all be recognisable by their High visibility uniforms. Please adhere to the designated paths and suggested routes at all times as our older sites have uneven pathways. Lighting levels are safe but limited due to the nature of the festival.
Will there be strobe lighting?
There may be certain installations that use strobe lighting or similar effects. Please speak to event staff at each festival venue for advice on installations which may affect you.
What happens if I need medical assistance when at the event?
There will be British Red Cross medical staff moving around within each site, please contact them directly or a steward for any assistance.
We ask that you are respectful of the surroundings at our sites, particularly at St Nicholas Kirkyard.