Home   News   Article

Macdonald Aviemore Resort's ambitious plans aim to fill the void left by the Ironworks

By Scott Maclennan

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
A big crowd turned out for the gig. Picture: Callum Mackay..
A big crowd turned out for the gig. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Ambitious plans seek to take a conference centre in Aviemore and transform it into a go-to venue for live music at the heart of the Highlands – potentially helping to fill the void left by the demise of the Ironworks in Inverness.

Macdonald Aviemore Resort's new management team – in place since last September after a turbulent period – are excited about the venue and its potential.

They are keen to make The Osprey arena a “rival to the big venues in the central belt” by hosting live music and in doing so spearheading the transformation of the resort as a whole.

Fans from Edinburgh. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Fans from Edinburgh. Picture: Callum Mackay..

That got off the ground with a spectacularly successful gig at the weekend as the resort managed to pull off quite a coup in securing the Beluga Lagoon.

The cult Scottish musical project with tickets selling out in minutes – you can find out how the gig went and read an interview with Andrew O'Donnell by clicking here.

Hosting gigs within a traditional resort does not sound like a natural fit but the marriage worked really well and it certainly bodes well for the future as the first event was a success.

Bar staff ready for action. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Bar staff ready for action. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Once you get used to the idea, it seems to make more sense. Forget burly doormen telling you to queue properly in the rain, sticky floors and drinks poured like the bar staff hate you.

Instead you get professional hotel-level service from start to finish, for example the wait at several bars was a few minutes and there was an orderly queue which allowed punters to still enjoy the music.

A large proportion of those at the gig were staying in the hotel and were expressly happy with that because it took the hassle out a night away, check-in, get food, then go to the bar, then the gig.

The resort is a few minutes walk from the train station and a number of people at the show spoke about how they liked the idea of staying on site while also getting away for a quick break.

Kenny McMillan. Picture Gary Anthony.
Kenny McMillan. Picture Gary Anthony.

Managing director of Macdonald Aviemore Resort, Kenny McMillan explained: "Last Saturday, the Osprey Arena at Macdonald Aviemore Resort was buzzing with energy as 1000 fans came together from all over the country to enjoy the Beluga Lagoon concert.

“This event was a demonstration of our ability to become a top destination for live entertainment in the Highlands. We're ready to show that we can draw big names and big crowds, offering unique experiences that go beyond what you'd expect from a typical venue.

“Our goal is to rival the big venues in the central belt by creating a special place here in the Highlands that brings in new faces and fresh excitement.

“At Macdonald Aviemore Resort, we're embracing change, aiming to mix the charm of the Highlands with the thrill of live music and events. This is part of our bigger plan to not just be the ideal getaway for families but also a go-to spot for anyone looking for great entertainment in a stunning setting.

“The Osprey Arena is leading the way in this transformation, proving that we're more than ready to host top-tier entertainment.

“We want to offer something new and exciting, making sure Macdonald Aviemore Resort remains a favourite for families while also attracting a broader audience eager for live shows in the beautiful Highlands.”

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More