Alyth Creates and so much more, 26-28 May

May 22, 2017 by Perthshire Creates

‘When one door closes another door opens’, this was certainly true in the case of the new Alyth Creates, a 3 day festival of art, music, heritage and the outdoors, which runs from Fri 26 – Sun 28 May.

With the closure of Angus Open Studios and keen to find ways to generate a new opportunity, local artists Jonathan Mitchell & Lesley Garside approached Alyth Arts & Crafts Guild with the idea of an inclusive Alyth based event which would both promote local culture and creativity, local businesses and showcase the energy, diversity and the community of Alyth.

Work began at the start of the year to pull together a programme of events and activities with the aim of providing a warm Alyth welcome and experience as well as appealing to a wider audience.

Local businesses, groups and organisations were very keen to support Alyth Creates, including The Barony – an outdoorsy tourist information centre, bicycle shop, mini climbing centre and coffee shop, who have organised various events including an Alyth Cycle. The Cateran’s Common Wealth was keen to get involved, incorporating heritage and creative events into the weekend, with a guided walk to Barry Hill Fort, a talk about Pictish settlements in the area, and their artist in residence, Deirdre Nelson organising a community ‘Stitch the Trail‘, as part of an ongoing creative project.  Other interesting suggestions included the offer from George Annan from Perthshire Brass, to organise a high calibre music concert including McKay & Stout with Catriona McKay on harp and Christ Stout on fiddle. Alyth based Classic Restorations offered to organised a display of their immaculately restored classic cars, and hotels volunteered themselves as venues. Alyth Creates had started to become a reality.

Spread over 16 venues across Alyth, many events are free to attend including a number of art exhibitions, open studios and The Artists & Makers Fair, showcasing the creativity of some extremely talented artists, makers and designers.  There’s a varied programme of workshops for every level of creativity including ceramics, jewellery and willow weaving and has attracted bookings from visitors from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling.  The full programme can be viewed on the Alyth Creates online festival brochure.

Local business sponsorship has come from the Drumderg Community Fund, organiser Jonathan Mitchell has provided prize money for the rather unusual Wild Boar Hunt and other funds which have helped came from the Perth 2021 Creative Communities Fun (CCF).

The development of Alyth Creates has been met with huge enthusiasm from the public, whilst also building a great feeling of unity and pride in a small town, a spirit which was evident 2 years ago at the time of the devastating floods.  There are plenty more ideas & suggestions which the organisers would love to see develop for future events.

An opening ceremony is planned for 10am at the town hall, everyone visiting, taking part are all welcome and they’re hoping to have a guest appearance from Robert the Bruce to do the honours!

Follow the Alyth Creates Facebook Page for regular updates on the 3-day event.

Whilst visiting the area, pop into the local Alyth Museum, which has a snapshot of the farming and work life of a bygone Alyth, including an exhibition of the work of local Blairgowrie photographers, D Wilson Laing (on until 25.6.17). From 1st July a new exhibition A Story of the Cateran Trail in 100 Objects opens in partnership with Cateran’s Common Wealth. The exhibition is the outcome of a campaign to crowdsource ideas for 100 objects that tell the story of the Trail’s history right up until the present day. Local residents and visitors were asked to propose people, places and objects that they believe tell an important part of the story of this part of Scotland.

Another of the Cateran’s Common Wealth projects is The Story Box, recently launched in the town square, an innovative community-led oral history archive, The Story Box contains more than 100 stories, songs and poems about the town’s present, it’s past and even it’s future.  Housed in an iconic red telephone box, the archive tells remarkable stories of the people of Alyth from pre-history, through to the present day and into the future.