Don’t miss this unique and free music festival in Aberdeen

On the last weekend of November, a mini festival of free musical performances and workshops will entertain and inspire Aberdeen residents, visitors and students.


Inspired by local people and places, local musicians and singers worked alongside the University of Aberdeen Music Department and partner organizations to produce an exciting and varied programme.

This will be the fifth in the UNI-Versal series of mini-festivals. The aim of each has been to promote the people and stories of Aberdeen to local and international audiences and to provide wide public access to the historic campus of the University of Aberdeen.

From taking part in a traditional Scottish ceilidh, learning to ring church bells, or even playing Balinese gamelan, there really is something for everyone.

Aberdeen Music Festival: all the events

All events are free, just register in advance to reserve your place at the festival.


FRIDAY NOVEMBER 25

All things vile and terrible

Find out how some of the most beloved anthems incorporate outdated or offensive concepts and what we can do about it. Hear perspectives from musicology and divinity alongside creative contributions from student musicians. Singing is optional!

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at King’s College Chapel.

Pop-up coffee sessions

Enjoy live musical performances during the free festival.

Enjoy various performances by students from the music department while enjoying a coffee.

12:00-2:00 p.m. at MacRobert Cafe, University of Aberdeen; and Atrium, Institute of Medical Sciences Building, Foresterhill Campus.

Music and Gender Roundtable by Popgirlz Scotland

Popgirlz Scotland supports female/female-identifying/trans artists in the Scottish music scene. They will discuss inequalities within playlists and highlight press articles.

1:30-3:00 p.m.: James Scotland Suite (MR028), MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen.

Compline by candlelight

Aberdeen University Chapel Choir
The University Chapel Choir will perform as part of UNI-Versal.

Hear the ancient Compline service chants sung by the University Chapel Choir.

5:00-5:45 p.m.: King’s College Chapel.


SATURDAY NOVEMBER 26

Introducing Gamelan Talk

This short lecture introduces the concepts and foundations of Balinese music, focusing on gamelan gong kebyar and its place in Balinese culture and history.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Multimedia room, King’s College Conference Centre.

Come & Play: Atelier Gamelan

Musician playing gamelan gong kebyar in Aberdeen
Enjoy a lecture on gamelan gong kebyar and try out this fascinating instrument.

Whether you are a musician or not, take advantage of this opportunity to play the magnificent Balinese gamelan gong kebyar, the only one of its kind in Scotland.

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Studio on the first floor, Pavillon du Roi.

Ring sessions

St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen
St Machar’s Cathedral will host a bell ringing workshop.

Learn about the history of the ringtone and how it actually works, and take the opportunity to try it yourself!

12:00 p.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.: St Machar’s Cathedral, The Chanonry, Old Aberdeen.

Come & Play: steel pot workshop

musicians performing Steel Pans Workshop as part of the UNI-Versal music festival in Aberdeen
One of the workshops available during UNI-Versal allows participants to try out steel pans.

Try some Caribbean Steel Pans at a fun and relaxed event open to everyone.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Annex to the MacRobert building, (meeting point: Foyer MacRobert).

Dance of the Doric Dwarfs

Doric Dwams Dance of Citymoves Fusion Dance Troupe
Doric Dwams Dance is just one of the must-do free events of the weekend.

Originally commissioned for cello and spoken word, this evocative piece is performed by young contemporary dancers from Citymoves’ Fusion dance troupe.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Main hall, Pavillon du Roi.

The Outwith Ensemble: Playlist

A combination of professional performers and talented students will present a diverse selection of music as a stream of consciousness, brought together by a series of vignettes.

4.30 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Main hall, Pavillon du Roi.

18th century ceilidh

Dance the night away to the sounds of the University’s Early Music Ensemble playing period instruments. Let the caller guide you through the historic reels of the Scottish countryside, complete with some more modern dances.

8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. in the main hall, King’s Pavilion.


Pauline Black, Head of Music at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We look forward to welcoming locals and visitors from across the UK and around the world to our mini music festival as we celebrate the 525 years of world history of our university. Come join us as we weave our stories, sounds, patterns and reels of the past into our hopes for the future.

And remember, all events are free but you must book your UNI-Versal tickets online in advance to reserve your spot.

Gerald R. Schneider