The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival struck gold in the event industry’s Oscars. The festival picked up the award for the best traditional event at the Scottish Event Awards, which recognises and rewards the nation’s top event providers.

Judges were impressed with the quality of the festival programme, which includes activities for whisky connoisseurs and novices, and for the first time this year included a traditional music element – the Spirit of Speyside Sessions.

The win comes after the festival recently announced details of an independent economic report into the 2014 event. A global audience from 31 countries including USA, Russia and Canada attended the event, with 27,227 visits to events taking place over the five days from May 1 to 5.

An on-the-ground survey found overall satisfaction levels of the visitor experience to be ‘very good’ with 87% giving this response in relation to the festival itself – a figure up 11% on the previous year. 

Chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, James Campbell, says “We are truly honoured to have picked up this award as it is a fantastic endorsement of quality of the event, and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make this one of the best whisky festivals anywhere in the world. 

“This award has given us even more determination to raise the bar even higher on the standard of festival events, and to provide a first rate visitor experience for our guests whether they come from the local area or the other side of the world.”

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has been running for 15 years and in 2015 organisers will be looking to grow the programme even further, adding in more events and partnering with even more event providers.

The Spirit of Speyside Sessions, which showcases the best of traditional Scottish musicians, will also be making a return appearance. It is unique in that it takes place in whisky-themed venues such as distilleries, bars and even a vintage train.

Mr Campbell adds, “The introduction of the Spirit of Speyside Sessions gave a diverse evening programme for festival goers, and was a highly successful addition to what we have to offer. We hope that this festival within the festival will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come.” 

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival was also shortlisted for the Best Festival award at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. 

The 2015 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival - and its traditional musical arm the Spirit of Speyside Sessions - takes place from April 30 to May 4, 2015. Further information about the event is available at Tickets for events will go on sale in early February 2015.

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