AN award-winning festival of light is set to return to Aberdeen this year, illuminating the streets with the theme of "home".

Spectra, an exhibition of sight and sound, returns for 2023 with a glowing new programme.

The festival will be one of the first major events to mark the reopening of Union Terrace Gardens, following its £25 million revamp.

Councillor Martin Greig, culture spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council, said: “The festival’s theme of 'home' is especially important at a time when we are thinking of places that are important to us and we are considering what is best for the future of Aberdeen.

“The programme of activities gives us the chance to see our city in a unique way and I can’t wait to see the wonderful displays this February.”

Spectra will showcase an abundance of audio and visual attractions, including Illumaphonium, a music-making experience comprising a giant instrument, complete with interactive chime bars triggering light and sound patterns.

Fantastic Planet will also make a debut appearance in the Granite City, presenting far-travelled colossal humanoid characters that have descended upon Aberdeen Art Gallery and Marischal College to explore a new corner of the world.

Created by the Australian art group Parer Studio, the fixture serves to encourage visitors to contemplate the future of our planet in a time of uncertainty and concern.

The festival's theme lends itself to a variety of nature-inspired installations, including Luminosi Trees, lofty jellyfish-like structures, built with sound-responsive LED lights. This spectacle will be accompanied by an atmospheric Fibonacci soundscape, playing on a continuous loop and yet never repeating.

The newly renovated gardens will also become home to Nature Nocturnal, enlightening wildlife, plants and insects in a luminous lantern walk.

Additionally, Broad Street will host a storytelling feature, sharing tales in English, Scots and Doric about the comforts of home, presented by Spectra’s appointed storytellers Pauline Cordiner and Lindsey Gibb.

Director of Curated Place Andy Brydon said: “It's packed with extraordinary work from some truly astounding artists and creatives, with something for everyone to enjoy, and we're excited to once again light up some of the city's spectacular streets and landmarks in wonderful new ways.”

The festival will shine its spotlight on the city from Thursday, February 9 – Sunday, February 12.

Information on the festival, the installations and how to find them is available on the Spectra website: