Strathmore arts festival

Welcome to the stART Festival Website

stART (Strathmore Arts) is a constituted partnership of local people from across Eastern Perthshire and staff from Perth and Kinross Cultural and Community Services offering arts workshops and events in the local towns and villages using community premises. The aim is to offer high quality arts activities for young people in the local area, often using local artists.

Alyth Light Project

As part of the Alyth Christmas Lights switch on members of AYP put on a light projection display as part of the celebrations. stART organised for artist Kenny Bean to lead a photographic residency over a number of weeks with Alyth Youth Partnership in the small town and these images show some of their work

Alyth_Projection_450 (46K) Alyth_Projection_2_450 (21K)

stART 2015

stART Festival 23rd - 25th October 2015

stART 2015 took place over 3 days this October with over 250 people taking part in the activities. Local groups were also involved in the festival with Scraphappy, The Music Wednesdays, The Blethers and the Lyric Choir all taking part and volunteers from SCYD and elsewhere supporting the Festival by being marshals the events.

70 people from tots to grannies came to see Elite Falconry's Aerial display in Belmont Park on Friday night and then took part in an owl trail with torches through the woods followed by an evening of craft activities in the Kinloch Memorial.

On Saturday AYP members took part in a photography manipulation workshop in Alyth - a project that will continue into the winter and see the young people participating in the Alyth Christmas Lights Switch On. stART have been awarded a grant from the Drumderg Wind Farm Fund which will mean that photographer Kenny Bean will continue to work with the group in preparation for this winter celebration in Alyth creating images for a light projection/installation as part of the activity at the end of November. Kenny was out and about again on Monday night with the group experimenting with light in the town and creating some amazing images that will be on display as part of the winter celebration.

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Saturday afternoon kicked off at Blairgowrie Library with the Lyric Choir inviting audience members to join them in a rehearsal & performance session. This was great fun and hopefully the choir will have recruited a few new members along the way. The second stop on the singing trail was at SCYD's Wellmeadow Café where the audience were royally entertained by the versatile Music Wednesdays group who performed with guitars, ukuleles, voice and an even an accordion. The final stop on the trail was at the Angus Hotel where Christine Kydd performed traditional folk songs of the area and encouraged an enthusiastic audience to join her on the choruses. All in all a great afternoon of music and singing!

Emil Thompson and members of Scraphappy delighted and "frighted" their audience on a ghostly walk through Blairgowrie on Saturday night. Emil, a professional songwriter and storyteller, had worked with the group over the last month, researching the gruesome history of untimely deaths in and around Blairgowrie. The grim stories of Blairgowrie's early departed souls were recounted by members of the group and then set to music as Emil and his ghostly choir added a verse for each poor unfortunate, accompanied by a spooky chorus from the "Invisible Choir" as the Ghost Trailers progressed around Blairgowrie and made their way up the Hill Kirk. On entering the graveyard participants had to pass the gate keeper who made them promise to respect the departed and invited them to join voice with the choir for a final, eerie rendition of the song, followed by a welcome cup of hot chocolate to calm the nerves.

The Festival ended on Sunday with two more trails, one a treasure hunt through Davie Park and the second a History Walk and Talk led by local history enthusiast Kristin Barrett. A highlight of this fascinating journey was a visit to the old Rattray Church to visit the grave of the last boatwoman who ferried passengers across the Ericht before the bridge was built. A big thank you goes to the Blethers who put on a display of old Rattray photographs in the new Community Connect building and were on hand to offer insight into the stories behind the images. Tea and bacon rolls were provided for all those who took part - a great way to round off a very successful festival weekend.

Please click here to see stART 2015 Brochure and Programme

How long has the stART Festival been running?

The first stART Festival took place in September 2003, led by Kirsty Duncan and Kirstie Bailey, two cultural coordinators for Perth and Kinross Council. At that point, if anybody wanted to try a new arts activity they had to travel to Perth or Dundee. Among the activities on offer were animation, stage fighting and the construction of a labyrinth in Alyth aimed primarily at young people.

The second stART Festival took place over a single weekend in March 2005 and opened its doors to people of all ages. Building on the success of 2003, there was also Capoiera, Pavement Art and a fire sculpture with procession in Larghan Park.

stART 2007 was the third stART Festival, and was bigger and more successful than the previous festivals. It took place over a weekend in March, and 58 different workshops were on offer throughout the weekend. Just over 1,000 people took part.

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The fire sculpture from stART 2007 at the height of it's blaze!

You can see more pictures from the 2007 event here.

stART 2009 built once again on the success of previous festivals, and offered a wide range of participatory workshops which were enjoyed by all participants, as well as public events including a Festival Marketplace, a visit by the Travelling Gallery, and a march through Alyth with lanterns, ukuleles, skiffle band and the Beltane Drummers.

Further festivals have been held bi-annually. Visit Past Festivals pages to see details.

stART has also been active in between festivals. Members of the committee were invited to make and carry a banner in Edinburgh at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. stART also organised tree dressing for National Tree Dressing Day and has been active in supporting local community groups who wish to have the arts as part of their programme of events. And the spirit of the festival also feeds cultural activity in everyday life all year round.

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The banners assembled in the Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie, before the start of the procession.

stART is a registered charity whose members fund-raised tirelessly to make this festival happen. The workshops were all heavily subsidized in order to make them accessible to all.

Cultural pathfinder

The 2007 stART Festival received additional funding from the Scottish Government to run a “Cultural Pathfinder Project”. The Scottish Government wants to support models of good practice, and to know how important culture, and access to cultural activities, is to people in Scotland. To do this, they have supported 13 projects across Scotland that aim to give people the chance to choose what sorts of activities they would like to be involved in. Collectively, these are called the “Cultural Pathfinder Projects”.

The stART committee incorporated a Cultural Pathfinder Project into its normal Festival by running events called “stART OOTs” and “stART UPs”. The Cultural Pathfinder also funded an in depth study measuring the positive impact that the stART Festival has had on the Cultural Life of East Perthshire.

“stART OOTs” were activities and workshops chosen and run by local groups already operating successfully in the area, as well as activities that celebrated local heritage and Culture. There were 40 stART OOT activities at this years festival, offering 430 workshop places.

“stART UPs” are small amounts of money that are available to help you or your group try out something that inspired you at the festival. See our stART UP display board, or talk to a member of the stART group.

stART is supported by officers of Perth and Kinross Council, Cultural and Community Services, and is a Scottish Government Pathfinder Initiative.