North Hop festival-goers are in for a treat this Easter, as the hugely popular food and drink destination festival once again returns to Aberdeen.

The last North Hop festival in its current, the new event has been dubbed “The Final Fling” and will be held at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on 30 and 31 March.

Running over three sessions, Friday 30 March 7pm till 12am, Saturday 31 March 12pm till 5pm and 7pm till 12am, tickets cost £16 plus booking fee and include a North Hop glass, festival programme and drink tasters on arrival.

North Hop

Picture: North Hop

This year’s event will see guests given access to a fully-loaded beer hall, a cocktail lounge, food vendors serving up a wide range of delights, live music from Scotland’s new and upcoming musicians and bands, and a special pop-up market place featuring hand-crafted goods from local creative curated by the Aberdeen Etsy team.

North Hop festival director, Michelle Russell, said: “This is our 4th Aberdeen festival and it will be our 12th festival since North Hop began in Inverness in 2014.

“It has been an amazing journey so far and we have worked with some awesome producers and folk from across Scotland and beyond. But the time has come to take a step back and some time out to come up with fresh ideas for the future of the North Hop brand.”

North Hop

Picture: North Hop

“We have always been at the forefront of new trends and like to keep things fresh and unique. Aberdeen has always massively supported North Hop and we love running festivals in the city and that is exactly why we have chosen Aberdeen for our final fling to send the current festivals out in style!”

As is the North Hop festival way, distillers, brewers and makers will be on site, working behind their own bars and stands to offer festival-goers the best festival-experience possible.

For this month’s event, over half of the vendors will be new to the North Hop scene and according to Russell will have some exciting products to showcase.

The new exhibitors include new-to-market Never 25, who have created Scotland’s first eau de vie spirit using grain and fruit local to their distillery in Dundee, new Aberdeenshire breweries Brew Toon and Beer Story and street food vendor The Liberty Kitchen from Bridge of Don,  who will be at the festival in a bespoke converted horsebox specialising in vegetarian and vegan offerings.

Nikki Makaronas from The Liberty Kitchen said: “I was absolutely delighted when North Hop approached me with the offer of a space at the festival. I attended the festival as a visitor last year and loved it!

“It was such an easy-going atmosphere and was a great way to discover new products and chat to the actual people behind the brands. Having launched in January this year this is a great opportunity to showcase what we do to a wide audience, whilst enjoying the festival buzz!”

North Hop, which has always prided itself on being more than just a food and drink event, will also have the marketplace with MINE and their beautiful hand-crafted jewellery and the Aberdeen Etsy Team, who will be hosting a pop-up market in the Cocktail Lounge showcasing six local creatives.

On the music front, the line-up very much echoes the “support local” message with all acoustic acts and bands linked to Aberdeenshire.

Sweet White headline the Friday evening session, The 101 will top the bill for the Saturday afternoon session and North Hop favourites The Harmonica Movement headline and close the festival on the Saturday evening session.

As this is The Final Fling, famous bagpiper Spud the Piper has been invited to the AECC to accompany Festival MC Nicola McAlley from STV News to open and close the festival sessions.

Michelle Russell has also organised a “North Hop Bar” as a treat for festival-goers, designed and styled by local artist Laura Bremner from Juniper Press, featuring five spirits from Berry Bros & Rudd (including a newly-launched London Dry Gin), natural mixers from Lamb & Watt, and the finest ice from Edinburgh Ice Co. Local mixologists Adrian Forde-Beggs and Connor Knowles will be behind the bar creating special cocktails for the festival.

Over 2500 people are expected to descend on the AECC across the three sessions for ‘The Final Fling’ with nearly half the tickets already sold.

• You can find out more info and buy tickets here

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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