A Northern light spectacular: Forres rallies round to organise a unique event

It will be a lighting and music spectacular in the northern skies, and it’s all come about because a town decided to do it for themselves.

As dusk descends on Cluny Hill near Forres on November 9, expect something very special to come out of the darkness, for this marks the premiere of the inaugural Colours of Cluny.

The idea came from town butcher Graham Murdoch. He’d seen the success of Perthshire’s award-winning Enchanted Forest and reckoned that Cluny Hill could stage an equally dazzling production and attract both locals and visitors to share a magical nocturnal experience.

The Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest

Graham says: “Morayshire has some stunning natural features, woodland and scenery but it will take on a different hue and atmosphere as night falls and visitors see Cluny Hill and Forres in a very colourful light.”

What makes it certain that the show will succeed is that its lighting designer is Kate Bonney, who’s renowned for her work at the Enchanted Forest.

She’s a local girl and is giving her time and expertise free to the community interest company which is organising the event, with profits reinvested into staging future events.

Kate Bonney

Kate Bonney

Kate explains: “I went to school in Forres and the area has provided me with much inspiration over the years. I’m truly delighted that we’re developing a show that is set to showcase the landscape.

“The show has been designed to enhance the natural landscape in a dramatic and mesmerising mixture of sound and light, bringing awe to children and igniting a playful sense in adults.”

Thousands of spectators will be treated to a series of choreographed lighting and sound shows as they follow a two-kilometre path from the town centre, through Grant Park, up Cluny Hill, before culminating in a sparkling finale at the historic Nelson’s Tower.

Raising the £100,000 required to stage such a complex event was no mean feat.  A grant of £25,000 came from the Budge Foundation, which aims to support cultural and educational project in Scotland and worldwide.  Set up by Bill and Lorraine Budge, who live in Aberdeen, the couple were keen to support a Forres project.

Bill, who’s originally from the town, says: “My wife Lorraine and I never cease to be impressed with what the many volunteers in Forres achieve. We are delighted to assist with this fantastic project, which offers so much for all age groups.

“We believe it has the potential to add another event on the annual calendar, along with Forres Highland Games and Piping in Forres, to promote the town and deliver a very positive reason to be in Forres.”

Another generous donor is the Berry Burn Community Fund which supports community projects in the Speyside and Morayshire region.  It gifted £10,000 to Colours of Cluny.

Around 10,000 tickets have gone on sale so this is a big investment for the area.  Adult tickets start at £8, with children tickets at £4 (under 3s are free) and family tickets begin at £20.

Colours of Cluny runs from November 9-20.  For further information and ticket bookings visit www.coloursofcluny.com

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