Programme launched for 2018 May Festival

A popular three-day festival with over 100 events on offer will return to Old Aberdeen next month.

The University of Aberdeen’s May Festival is back for its sixth year from Friday,  May 25 to Sunday, May 27 and sponsored by Total E&P UK, the 2018 programme is jam packed with events encompassing themes such as science, Gaelic, discover, history and heritage, sport and, new for 2018, ‘Celebrate Youth.’

Aberdeen Alumnus and managing director of So Television, one of the UK’s most successful production companies, Graham Stuart will tell May Festival audiences about his showbiz journey from Aberdeen Student Television and Scotsport to the Bafta and Emmy award winning Graham Norton Show.

Also in the programme this year is Dr Elly Barnes MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of the charity Educate & Celebrate, an organisation that transforms schools, colleges and universities into LGBT+ friendly places. Elly has also developed the Educate & Celebrate Award, an accredited Best Practice Programme that hundreds of schools have accessed. At her event, Elly will share her experiences of how to deliver these transformations.

This year’s diverse WORD strand will celebrate The Year of Young People, 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage as well as featuring events commemorating WW! Poetry, LGBT+ film, and North-east writer and Aberdeen Alumnus, Nan Shepherd.

Programme regulars back by popular demand this year include the May Festival Tours, the Hall of Mayhem and the Produce Market.

Tours on offer this year include favourites such as the historic King’s College Chapel Tour, the Cruickshank Botanic Garden tour, as well as the opportunity to see around the University’s newest building, the state of the art Rowett Institute at Foresterhill. May Festival tours always prove extremely popular so early booking is advised, as spaces are limited.

On Saturday, Elphinstone Hall will be home to the May Festival Produce Market, with local companies including Ola Oils, Udny Provender and Salad Worx on hand to sell (and offer samples!) of their tasty goods. On Sunday, the same venue will be transformed into the Hall of Mayhem, which promises to be lots of fun with interactive and hands-on-stalls for all the family to enjoy. Mayhem makers can hunt for mini beasts, learn about DNA with Lego and find out more about some of Aberdeenshire’s local wildlife.

A dedicated Children’s Festival will also run on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May. Among other things, youngsters will be able to conquer obstacle courses, learn circus skills as well take part in events designed to help children and parents relax and manage stress.

University of Aberdeen Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, commented: “A University’s role is to enhance the cultural and intellectual life of its region, and I am extremely proud that the May Festival continues to be a highlight in the north-east’s cultural calendar.

“From its inception in 2013, the festival has gone from strength to strength, attracting thousands of visitors to our beautiful, historic campus. Of course, this is only made possible through the generous support of our partners and sponsors. We’re delighted that, once again, Total E&P UK have joined us as our title sponsor, and this partnership allows us to create a unique and diverse programme of events for everyone to enjoy.”

Sandra McLennan, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader at Total E&P UK commented:

“Total E&P UK is pleased to support the University of Aberdeen as it welcomes visitors to its historic campus to share and enjoy a unique learning experience.  The May Festival invites everyone to explore an array of activities designed to spark the imagination, satisfy curious minds and reveal fascinating discoveries.”

Tickets for the May Festival are available online at

Alternatively, bookings can be made in person by visiting Aberdeen Box Office at His Majesty’s Theatre, Rosemount Viaduct or by calling 01224 641122.