XpoNorth Festival Highlight 2015

Pogoing. Caught up in the music and the contagious jumping of the crowd. If we’re honest, there was also the small issue of a few beers … It was the culmination of two frenetic, joyous days that started with the most unlikely of events. Sunshine. In Inverness. In June. Who knew? Day one kicked off with a session on how royalties work in the online world. Led by Nick Edwards, digital licensing manager of the Performing Rights Society, if anyone knew, it would be him. 

XpoNorth Delegate Centre

There followed a discussion hosted by The Glasgow School of Art entitled Beyond The Logo. Better design makes for better business, we learned, and that’s particularly true for people working in remote and rural communities.

There was time spent learning how music helps create atmosphere and emotion in television, with input from Inner Ear, which provides music supervision for Waterloo Road. And a delightful showcase interview with Tommy Gormley – only the first assistant director on the new Star Wars movie! He talked about his early love of film, learning the craft from Ken Loach, and what it was like working with a temperamental Daniel Day Lewis.

Tommy Gormley with Alan de Pellette

XpoNorth HIE Opening party, Ironworks

By the time the opening party kicked off at the Ironworks – featuring a showcase of designers’ crafts – we’d already had a week’s worth of information. And the sun was still shining.

Day 2 highlights included: developing a brand for your fashion business, with contributions from designer Karen Mabon; a standing-room-only session on whether you really can make music the DIY way (there’s a lot of cash-strapped musicians out there, but the answer is, sadly, probably not); and a panel including filmmaker Tom Duncan and designer Kirsteen Stewart on making technology work for your business.

Then, just as we were reaching information overload again, it was time to party. Finn Lemarinel started things off in a laid-back mood, encouraging his audience to sit on the (suspiciously sticky) floor as he plucked, strummed and generally made beautiful, unique noises from his acoustic guitar. The the hotly tipped Kathryn Joseph was, unsurprisingly, a stowed-out affair. Then the volume – and the tempo – was turned up with the splendidly besuited Spring Break.

Spring Break

Hector Bizerk

On and on we went, switching band and venue as the mood took us, until we found ourselves back at the Ironworks, going Bizerk.