XpoNorth 2017 In Review

XpoNorth 2017 In Review

Tue 13 Jun 2017

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As the dust begins to settle on XpoNorth 2017 it's time to take stock of what was achieved during Scotland's premier creative conference and showcase which burst into Inverness last week like a breath of fresh Highland air.

Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, Inverness. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, Inverness. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

The daytime activities – panels, masterclasses, hands-on training, Dragon's den-style pitching by aspiring writers, film and craft showcasing, networking and more – took place Eden Court Theatre and Cinema by the banks of the River Ness. The perfect setting for a creative industries conference, people met, mingled, and got inspired.

Banks of the River Ness, Inverness. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Banks of the River Ness, Inverness. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Film Showcase screenings at Eden Court. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Film Showcase screenings at Eden Court. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Craft Showcase at Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Craft Showcase at Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Bands practised on benches, creative conversations sparked up at every turn and aspirations started to form into proper plans as delegates discussed what they'd seen and heard.

Musicians playing outside Eden Court. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Musicians playing outside Eden Court. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Festival Delegates in Eden Court Cafe. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Festival Delegates in Eden Court Cafe. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Lana Crowster, star of The Voice South Africa, in Inverness for a special XpoNorth Cast and Crew Screening of a new documentary feature film called Sidney & Friends, joined fellow musicians Silas Miami, from Kenya, and 16-year-old fiddler Claire Frances MacNeil from the Isle of Barra, for an impromptu jam outside Eden Court.

Left to right: Silas Miami, Lana Crowster, Claire Frances MacNeil, outside Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Left to right: Silas Miami, Lana Crowster, Claire Frances MacNeil, outside Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Later, Lana and Silas wowed crowds at a Networking Reception with a version of a brand new track which features in Sidney & Friends, which has been made by young Muir of Ord-based filmmaker, Tristan Aitchison.

Lana Crowster performing at the Networking Reception, Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Lana Crowster performing at the Networking Reception, Eden Court. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Just under 2,500 delegates took part in XpoNorth this year. They attended 33 panels, many of which had standing room only and took part in various training schemes running around Eden Court, including the festival's online television training station, XpoNorth Live!

XpoNorth Live! in action. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

XpoNorth Live! in action. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

XpoNorth Live! in action. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

XpoNorth Live! in action. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

The Conference Programme, which opened with a panel on "Future Proofing the Past" chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, featured 121 speakers and industry insiders from across the globe, 200 One-to-One discussions and 22 Trade Stands.

'Future Proofing the Past' Conference Session with Fiona Hyslop MSP. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

'Future Proofing the Past' Conference Session with Fiona Hyslop MSP. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

'Monster High Masterclass: Behind the Scenes with Screen Facilities Scotland' Conference Session. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

'Monster High Masterclass: Behind the Scenes with Screen Facilities Scotland' Conference Session. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Trade Stands area. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Trade Stands area. Photo credit: Tim Winterburn.

Grown in scale and ambition in 2017 was our Developing the Young Workforce Technology & Gaming Playground. Delegates of all ages and groups of school pupils from around the Inverness area flocked into Eden Court's One Touch Theatre to check out the latest developments in video games, augmented and virtual reality, not to mention an appearance by wee Marty the Edinburgh born-and-bred robot, who could be the future of coding in education.

Playing with virtual reality in the Developing the Young Workforce Technology & Gaming Playground. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Playing with virtual reality in the Developing the Young Workforce Technology & Gaming Playground. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Marty the Robot in the Developing the Young Workforce Technology & Gaming Playground. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Marty the Robot in the Developing the Young Workforce Technology & Gaming Playground. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

On Thursday afternoon, BBC presenter, Vic Galloway, a stalwart of every XpoNorth since 2000 (when it started out as a grassroots music industry event with fewer than 100 delegates), recorded his BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Introducing show in front of delegates. Bloodlines, Emme Woods and FEATHERWEST were the acts chosen to showcase their music to the wider world. Emme Woods even brought along her Chihuahua, Bubbles…

Vic Galloway filming from the XpoNorth Live! studio. Photo credit: Vic Galloway/BBC Radio Scotland.

Vic Galloway filming from the XpoNorth Live! studio. Photo credit: Vic Galloway/BBC Radio Scotland.

The XpoNorth Live! Team filming BBC Introducing. Photo credit: Christy Kail.

The XpoNorth Live! Team filming BBC Introducing. Photo credit: Christy Kail.

As night fell more than 80 acts tuned up and took over nine venues in the centre of Inverness, delighting new and established fans with a wide range of sounds.

TAMZENE performing at the Penta Hotel bar. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

TAMZENE performing at the Penta Hotel bar. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

NOAH NOAH performing at Mad Hatters. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

NOAH NOAH performing at Mad Hatters. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

The Begbies performing at The Market Bar. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

The Begbies performing at The Market Bar. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Reverieme performing at Hootananny. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Reverieme performing at Hootananny. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Bloodlines performing at the Aftershow Party, Inverness Suite, Mercure Hotel. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

Bloodlines performing at the Aftershow Party, Inverness Suite, Mercure Hotel. Photo credit: Paul Campbell.

The craic, as always was good. But at its heart, XpoNorth is a place where connections are forged and deals are made. 

Hope to see you again next year...

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