Launch of the new Huntly Brand Room to Roam

On Wednesday 25th June at 19.00 the Assembly Hall of The Gordon Schools, Huntly, will be shaking to music and dance celebrating the launch of the new Huntly Brand, Room to Roam.

The launch event marks a milestone in the Huntly branding project being carried out by South African artist, Jacques Coetzer, and the community of Huntly. Jacques has been working intensively with the town since February of this year to investigate what Huntly and District means to the people who live, work and visit here. The new brand incorporates a number of strong contemporary and traditional visual design elements and, uniquely, is backed up by a town song.

The phrase Room to Roam comes from a poem by Huntly-born author George MacDonald, in his work Phantastes, first published in 1858. The Waterboys set the words to music in the title track of their 1990 Room to Roam album. Jacques Coetzer has been collaborating with Mike Scott of The Waterboys over the last few months to develop this into a 'town anthem'.

Jacques explained the excitement he has felt for the project. "I arrived from South Africa with no preconceptions of where this task would take me. Working closely with all kinds of community groups in Huntly showed me just how diverse a small town this is with many, many, sometimes surprising, facets. I soon realised the scale of the challenge - and the real privilege - I had accepted. Being a lifelong Waterboys fan, to realise the living Room to Roam link to Huntly's own George MacDonald through Mike Scott has been just incredible. The words of that poem sum up so much of what Huntly is about."

At the launch event Jacques will explain where the brand has come from and how he envisages the community can take it forward in the months and years ahead. Mike Scott will hand back the Room to Roam song to the town and the event will culminate in a unique (and free) ceilidh to which guests are encouraged to bring their dancing shoes and musical instruments!

The launch event will take place at The Gordon Schools Assembly Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 25th June 2008. Entry to the event is by ticket only. However, tickets are free and can be collected from:

  • Brander Library Huntly
  • Huntly Tourist Information Centre
  • The Gordon Arms Hotel, The Square, Huntly
  • Rizzas Ices, Gordon Street, Huntly
  • Forbes Raeburn & Sons Butchers, Gordon Street, Huntly

Or contact Deveron Arts:
Telephone: 01466 794494

The branding project emerged from the 2005 Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership (ATP) Huntly community consultation and was commissioned by ATP Huntly in collaboration with Aberdeenshire Council Arts Development and Deveron Arts.

Donald Boyd, Town coordinator for Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership (ATP) Huntly, expressed his delight with the results of Jacques Coetzer's work. "When we asked the town of Huntly in 2005 about the projects they wanted ATP to do one of the most popular responses was to review the 'Family Town' brand. Few people seemed to know where it had come from, many felt we were more than that and all agreed we were not 'living it' enough. When commissioning Jacques, ATP were conscious of how difficult a task we had set him in capturing the spirit of the very diverse market town that is Huntly. I am delighted that Jacques has come up with the overarching, flexible Room to Roam theme not to mention the striking town logo - as it provides freedom for all kinds of groups and businesses to interpret the wider brand to promote both themselves and the area. The link to the Room to Roam song is an added bonus we could not have foreseen. How many other towns can boast that!?"

Claudia Zeiske, director of Deveron Arts, explained that the project, although risky, is normal practice for Deveron Arts. "Bringing in artists for short-term residencies is part of the DNA of Deveron Arts. We are convinced that someone from outside the area, particularly an artist, sees things with fresh eyes to we residents who are so caught up in every day Huntly life. This is perhaps especially true for the branding project where we are all so close to the town that we cannot see the big picture. I think Jacques has done so well, taking on board all the comments and suggestions he has received. We now have a brand we can be proud of."

For more information on the Huntly branding project please contact:

Donald Boyd, Town Co-ordinator, ATP Huntly
01466 799416,


Claudia Zeiske, Deveron Arts
01466 794494,

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