Taking place across the 27th and 28th June in Inverness at Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, this year’s edition of XpoNorth will again see a broad range of leading figures from across the national and international creative industries gather to deliver a diverse and inspiring programme looking at the key themes and trends affecting and shaping the current industry landscape.
Providing a platform for new talent and technology remains at the heart of the festival and the conference will be laced with fresh work from a number of designers, filmmakers and writers - in addition to our firmly established new music showcase which will see over 60 of the hottest new music acts perform across several city centre venues.
New technology and its impact on storytelling continues to be a key area of focus and we’re delighted to be joined by the likes of Michael Reuger (Creative Director, InnovationLab/ Ravensburger) and Nick Fortugno (Founder, Playmatics) to discuss cutting-edge business models and their potential to reach and engage audiences in new and innovative ways. Playmatics has created a variety of digital and real-world experiences for organisations such as Red Bull, AMC (including the CableFAX award winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation), Disney and the American Museum of Natural History.
There will also be a special session on understanding commissioning which will see a global panel offer top tips on pitching your project and an overview of the current landscape. Among those set to share their experience and expertise on this session is Adam Gee (Commissioning Editor, Little Dot). Adam was previously a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 for 12 years and has won over 80 international awards for his productions - including four BAFTAs, an Emmy and the Grand Award at the New York International Film Festival.
A special sector focus on Scotland’s Radio scene will also form part of this year's seminar element - a session which will bring together a range of perspectives to shine a spotlight on our vibrant radio industry. Among those taking part in the discussion will be Gareth Hydes (BBC’s Commissioning Editor, Radio, Music and Events). Having spent a considerable part of his career with BBC Radio Scotland, as well as spells with Radio 1, Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live, Gareth went on to develop content across BBC programme brands and platforms for Children in Need, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, The One Show and Children in Need Rocks before re-joining BBC Scotland in the above role in January 2018.
We’re also particularly excited to announce a new partnership with The UK & European Guild of Music Supervisors which will bring some of the most influential voices in this area of the industry to XpoNorth. This must attend session will see the current President of the GMS and two-time Music Week Sync Award Winner, Rupert Hollier, joined by by the likes of Abi Leland (Company Director, Leland Music and Leland Originals), Matt Biffa (Music Supervisor, Air-Edel) and more, who between them have placed music for projects and brands including John Lewis, AMY, Luther, The Night Manager, Harry Potter, Nike, Sony, Honda and Prime Suspect.
Continuing to ensure we offer an international perspective on key areas of the music industry, we’re also delighted to be joined by Alicen Schneider - Senior Vice President, Music Creative at NBC Entertainment.
There will also be a very special A&R Worldwide Global Keynote with one of the music industries most innovative, respected and influential executives Thaddeus Rudd (Co-Owner, Mom+Pop Music). With a roster including the likes of Courtney Barnett, Tash Sultana, Alice Merton, Alina Baraz, Lucius, FIDLAR, Andrew Bird, Jaguar Ma and Flume to name a few, Rudd has formerly made the influential list of Billboard’s A&R Power Players and will sit down with MUSEXPO Founder Sat Bisla for an intimate and insightful look at his career so far.
The Music Producers Guild (MPG), will also be making a very welcome return to XpoNorth and we’ll be bringing you full details of their exciting plans for 2018 on our next festival roundup.
Innovations such as Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and ICO’s are an increasingly hot topic and we’ve partnered with Interface to cut through what these technologies could mean for the creative industries, particularly regarding new opportunities for those willing to embrace them quickly and creatively. This diverse panel will feature Professor Bill Buchanan (Napier University), Martin Beaton (Scotland IS), Paul Dilorito (Director of Operations and Data Strategy, PRS For Music) and Tim Wright (Twintangibles).
We’re also excited to be producing a session in Gaelic which looks at what makes our language and culture so alluring throughout the world. To accompany this session, we will also be producing a seminar on the concept of 'Highland Cool' and why so many artists and businesses are choosing to make the region their base, what they find so inspiring about the Highlands and Islands, its landscape and the rich history which feeds into the traditional and contemporary creative community.
Fashion, Craft and Textiles remains a strong strand of the conference and this year there will be a particular focus on new markets and working with manufacturing. We’ll also be looking into the world of the fashion buyers and revisiting the collaboration between a range of Icelandic and Highlands and Islands makers and what is being learned through this exciting collaboration.
Among this year’s speakers are Fi Scott (Director, Make Works), Joan Johnson (Director, Bespoke Fabrics) and celebrated designer Mati Ventrillion.