Scotland’s leading creative industries festival is urging filmmakers and musicians to apply now to be part of a showcase which places emerging talent in front of key creative industries players from across the globe.
The annual Inverness-based XpoNorth festival, which until last year was known as goNORTH, will take place this year on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June at venues across the Highland capital.
XpoNorth is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is free for the public to attend and its aim is to boost creative careers in crafts and publishing, as well as screen, broadcast and music across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
At a special launch event as part of Celtic Connections’ Showcase Scotland in Glasgow today (Thursday 22nd January), it will be announced that musicians and filmmakers looking to be part of the festival’s all-important showcase events have from today until Friday 3rd April to apply.
Guests at the historic Glasgow Art Club will be entertained with an exclusive set by up-and-coming Mull-based singer-songwriter, Sorren Maclean, before his high-profile gig at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Saturday (24th January) night with Canadian five-piece band, Fish & Bird.
Maclean is about to embark on a major nationwide tour with Fife-based King Creosote before going on tour with Scots indie rockers Idlewild. His debut album, Winter Stay Autumn, will be released in April by Highlands-based Middle of Nowhere Recordings label.
The only event of its kind in Scotland devoted to crafts, publishing, screen and broadcast as well as music, XpoNorth is attended by leading creative industry insiders, who take part in workshops and masterclass sessions over the course of both days.
Last year’s film showcase included animator Ross Hogg’s Scottish BAFTA-nominated Spectators and Black Isle-based Tristan Aitchison’s short psychological horror film, Care, which has since screened at film festivals worldwide.
Every year, XpoNorth’s influential new music showcase takes music stars of tomorrow from the UK and beyond and places them on stages across Scotland’s most northerly city over two nights. The 2014 music showcase schedule in Inverness included much-lauded emerging artists such as Neon Waltz, Baby Strange, Siobhan Wilson, Hector Bizerk and Broken Records.
Festival director Amanda Millen said: “Since the festival re-branded as XpoNorth at the end of last year, there has been an added frisson of excitement about this year’s event.
“In 2014, more than 1300 people working in a wide cross-section of the creative industries attended the festival in Inverness, compared to just 500 people in 2011. It really is the ‘go-to’ creative industries festival in Scotland. There’s nothing else quite like it.
“This year, in the screen and broadcast side of XpoNorth, we’re expanding the open call for submissions and developing our curated programme in partnership with UK and European film festivals.
“Just as it was at goNORTH, the music element of XpoNorth is a vital component of the festival’s success. Just as we have done in previous years, we’ll be programming a stage at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in Beauly this summer and putting new artists on stage at Loopallu in Ullapool in late September.
“All the acts will come from our 60-strong showcase list in June and we’ll be working with organisers from both events to secure additional opportunities for 20 acts from this year’s showcase.
“Our XpoNorth Emergents programme for Craft, Fashion and Textile will bring together many experts in the field including the UK Fashion and Textiles Association, The Design Trust, Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership, Make Works and many more in a programme of masterclasses, discussions, and showcasing events.
“Also as part of Emergents, this year’s XpoNorth Writing and Publishing programme will reflect our continued engagement with and exploration of the exciting opportunities available to writers working in all media and cross-media formats. We’ll also be showcasing the best of the Highlands and Islands' new writing in traditional platforms and media.”