North Hop

The Final Fling Round Up & What's Next For North Hop...

Wednesday 20th June 2018

It's been a few months since the dust settled on #northhopabz The Final Fling and we just want to take a wee look back and appreciate what an awesome festival it was...

8 Breweries, 6 Bars, 6 Street Food Vendors, 7 Market Traders, 12 Live Music Acts, 1 Highland Piper and just under 2000 Happy Festival Go'ers, what a weekend! With brand new brews/spirits, a delightful array of tasty street food from around the globe, the first outing for the brand new North Hop Bar shaking up delicious cocktails, a showcase of amazing up-and-coming local musical talent and a special collab with Etsy Aberdeen to create a special pop-up market celebrating local makers and creators.

So, some of you maybe be asking, if it was that good then why 'The Final Fling'? Well, back in November, following the winter edition of #northhopavi, I, Michelle Russell, Festival Director made one of the toughest calls of my career to date! North Hop had grown from one small inaugural festival in the Highlands to a super-sized food, drink and music loving monster that popped up right across Scotland, with 2017 featuring 5 festivals and 1 event. Now for a big events team that number would probably be just about doable, but for 1 person, that is a full life takeover and then some. North Hop had grown beyond my control and I needed time to reflect and review without the pressure of ticket sales and planning.

People's perception seems to be that North Hop is organised by a big corporate team, but no, it's just little old me juggling venues, vendors, marketing, music acts, ticket sales and so much more! All those lovely folk you meet at Festival Registration and beyond wearing the 'North Hop Crew' badges, they are my awesome friends and family who volunteer their time to get the biggest work-outs/bootcamps of their lives for the festival weekends, and yet, for some reason they still keep coming back for more and I couldn't be more grateful to them! Beyond these folk I get to work with some amazing people who provide some marketing support (design, social media, video, photography, website, etc) because after all, NO ONE could specialise in all these elements, not even me. But beyond that, that really is it!

So understandably after 4 years of juggling I decided it was time for a change...

Now change in this industry is never a bad thing, in fact I have spent the last 4 years making changes, some small, some big to how North Hop runs and what festivals/events took place. #northhopabz The Final Fling marked the end of North Hop as it was, not the whole brand (as some people thought). It was an opportunity to give folk one last chance to experience the North Hop festival that everyone had come to know and love, and send it out in style, the end of an era some might say.

When North Hop kicked off back in 2014 there was no other festival in Scotland like it! My vision was to create a festival that appealed to all. Combining Beer Hall and Cocktail Lounge in one venue, where welly boots and midge repellent were not required. Showcasing the best of what Scotland had to offer and introducing folk to the actual people behind the brands. Now, 4 years on the market has become saturated with folk trying to do the same or similar thing. Gin festivals (and lots of them!), street food festivals, beer festivals, beer festivals with gin bars, prosecco festivals, you name it someone has done it. Some doing it well and some doing it really badly (and giving the industry a bad name whilst they're at it!)! 

It's now time to shake things up a bit...look at what the people want, and go back to our roots, but with a twist! Our tagline from day one has been 'Brewing Up The Perfect Festival' and that's exactly what I plan to do. We may not have the man-power and finance of some of these other festivals out there but my God do we have passion and the ability to get creative!

North Hop has always been a 'destination festival' and I hope you will continue with us on this tipple-fuelled journey across Scotland and beyond...

Watch this space for news coming soon!


Michelle Russell
Festival Director