Scotland’s leading creative industries festival, goNorth, is shaping up to be the most wide-reaching edition in its 14-year-history, according to organisers.
This year’s goNORTH Festival takes place on Wednesday 4th June and Thursday 5th June at venues across Inverness.
The unique event, which is free for the public to attend, will welcome more than 100 leading industry players in the field of fashion, music, gaming, screen, broadcast and publishing to its daytime panels and workshops as well as more than 60 up-and-coming acts to its evening music showcase.
For 2014, around 50 short films from the UK, Europe, the US and India will be screened throughout the festival.
Included in the line-up is the first ever public showing of award-winning author Denise Mina’s documentary, Multum in Parvo, an intimate portrait of her wider family which she and two cousins created using an iPhone and the Scottish premier of a unique collaborative film called 50 Kisses.
Mina will also be on the panel of an all-star storytelling panel at goNorth, which includes poet, author and playwright Chris Dolan, singer-songwriter RM Hubbert, comedian and Father Ted star Michael Redmond, recently seen in Inverness as part of the Happyness Comedy Fetsival, as well as musician and Lord of the Rings actor, Billy Boyd.
“For creative people, everything is changing in terms of how you can make a thing, be it books, films, music, fashion or computer games," commented Mina, whose novel Field of Blood has been filmed by BBC 1 Scotland.
"People are not waiting for permission any more. They’re just doing it. I love the spirit of goNorth because it’s all about helping creative people get their work seen.”
This year’s keynote speeches come from Neil Cartwright, former Head of New Media at Sony Music UK and now MD of digital marketing agency Million Media and Rob Hallett, who recently left his position as head of International Touring at AEG, where he oversaw some of the biggest and most successful tours and events of the last decade.
There will also be a special in-conversation event with ex-Skids frontman turned film director and writer, Richard Jobson.
Gaming is on the goNorth radar this year and a pop-up gaming ‘playground’ will appear on day one of the festival only. Organised by The Scottish Games Network, this brings together some of the most innovative game designers currently working in Scotland, including Elgin-based game studio, Hunted Cow.
This will offer gamers a unique opportunity to road-test the latest creations before they head to market. Included in this line-up is Vaccine, a game created by Power Punch Studios, the winner of the Moray Game Jam. This 48-hour-long event co-hosted by goNorth sister organisation, ScreenHI, took place in Elgin earlier this year.
Fashion is also in the spotlight with the festival’s opening party on the Wednesday night featuring a Runway Show at The Ironworks in Inverness, starring the work of some of the best up-and-coming designers from the Highlands and Islands.
This catwalk production is presented by Scotland Re:Designed, which champions Scotland’s fashion and textile sectors, and includes work by eight rising Scottish stars, including; Black Isle-born Karen Mabon, whose Scissor and Rose dress was recently spotted gracing the form of supercool DJ, Fearne Cotton, and Fort William’s own Judy Clark, one of Emile Sandé’s favourite designers. Clark was recently tipped by Italian Vogue as one to watch.
Leading fashion industry insiders, such as Karen Radley, founder of premium womenswear collection, Scoop International, will also be taking part in the conference element of goNORTH. She began her career working with family fashion firm, Radley.
Showcasing new music has always been at the heart of goNorth and around 60 emerging acts have been selected to play free bite-sized gigs at venues all over Inverness.
This year, as well as showcasing home-grown new talent, goNorth has worked with partners from across Europe and Scandinavia to bring a selection of top international artists from Germany, France, Norway and Sweden.
Festival director, Amanda Millen, commented: “This year, there’s a strong theme of crossing over from one creative platform to another coming through in our packed programme. The digital revolution has allowed creative people to be seen and heard in whichever genre they choose to work. We have several panels which are looking at future trends and technologies.
“A good example of people moving from genre to genre is the engaging and touching short film made by Denise Mina and two cousins which we’re showing on the Thursday. They used the everyday medium of an iPhone with an inexpensive attachment to make the film.
‘GoNorth is free and it’s open to anyone looking to make their way in the creative industries. All people need to do is sign up online beforehand on our website or in person on the day, to access all the conference sessions, the film and music showcases and the all-important networking parties at night.”
Highlights of goNorth will be broadcast over the course of the festival by Radio goNorth, a two-week long training course for aspiring radio broadcasters.