Dancers descend on Aberdeen

Dancers descend on Aberdeen

Hundreds of people from around the world are descending on Aberdeen this weekend to attend the 61st Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festival (IVFDF), the UK’s longest-running folk dance festival.

The event is expected to attract students from as far afield as the US, Europe and South America, and residents of the northeast can also join the fun.

Liz Jones, coordinator of the event, said: “Every year the festival takes place in a different city and it has never been this far north.  

"This is a landmark for the festival and university.

"It will be the biggest event held in the Butchart since it became home to the Student Association.  

"The development of Butchart as a student venue allowed us to bring this unique event to Aberdeen.  

“There will be over 40 different dance and music workshops to choose from.  It is a chance to a bit of anything, from Tudor dance to American square dancing.”

Jennifer Banister (27) a University of Aberdeen student and IVFDF veteran said: “I was at last year’s IVFDF in Bristol and I am so excited that it has come to Aberdeen. The Balkan dances are terrific fun.”

From Saturday morning there will be workshops to discover or re-discover:

  • Scottish Dancing
  • Contra
  • Morris
  • Molly
  • Southern Italian
  • Breton Dance
  • Blues Dancing

A Morris tour will be conducted around Aberdeen from 10:30.

IVFDF will host four ceilidhs with live bands, 41 different music and dance workshops, a Morris tour, and two concerts.

Kicking off the weekend is the infectious sound of the Teesiders singing duo Megson, and later in the evening, Deadly Winters, a band of three brothers will bring their heartfelt and emotive story-based music to the stage.

On Saturday night the premier Scottish ceilidh band Clachan Yell will be performing along with a late-night blues band the MP and the Expenses.

Sunday will finish the weekend off with a truly unique experience. The Survivors' Ceilidh will begin in the at two in the afternoon with ‘scratch band,’ a spontaneous gathering of the musicians coming together. 

Jennifer said: “One of my favourite parts of IVFDF is the scratch bands. All weekend, in little corners and late into the night musicians just start playing and people start dancing. The atmosphere is amazing.”

On Sunday, the band will get smaller and smaller as musicians go home, until the event closes.

Weekend festival passes are now available to purchase online, costing £18 for unwaged and concession, or £28 for waged visitors. 

For further details, visit