Click for XpoNorth on twitterScotland’s leading creative industries convention is to take on a new name in 2015

XpoNorth will pick up the reins from popular annual Inverness-based creative industries festival, goNORTH, in June next year.

The re-branded festival will take place on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 June, in venues across the Highland capital.

A creative melting pot devoted to crafts, publishing, screen and broadcast as well as music, XpoNorth 2015 will be attended by leading creative industry insiders, who will take part in workshops and masterclass sessions over the course of both days.

Like its predecessor, XpoNorth is free for the public to attend. It will include the influential new music showcase, which sees music stars of tomorrow take to stages across Inverness on both nights of the festival, as well as the prestigious XpoNorth film showcasing programme, now a key platform for emerging film and documentary makers looking to make their mark in a fiercely competitive arena.

XpoNorth Music will be managed by former goNORTH music producer Alex Smith with Ironworks Group directors, Robert Hicks and Caroline Campbell. It has been established as the new Music Industry Network for the Highlands and Islands and will be delivered by Ironworks Group. The 2014 festival showcase schedule in Inverness included much-lauded emerging artists such as Neon Waltz, Baby Strange, Ella The Bird, Hector Bizerk and Broken Records.

XpoNorth, is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development   Fund (ERDF) and is headed up by former BBC drama producer, Amanda Millen.

Millen, a fluent Gaelic speaker and native of Lochaber, said: “This is a very exciting development for the creative industries in Scotland. The original festival started out in 2000 as a platform for musicians from the north of Scotland to be heard by the wider music industry in the Highlands.”

“XpoNorth has since grown and developed into a unique and much-anticipated event in Scotland’s cultural calendar. In 2014, more than 1300 people working in a wide cross-section of creative genres, attended the festival in Inverness, compared to just 500 people in 2011.

“Rebranding as XpoNorth offers us the ideal opportunity to tell the world what we do and what we are all about. The new name reflects XpoNorth’s broad scope across the creative industries.

“Since 2007, we have been building the screen and broadcast elements of the festival and XpoNorth is now an unmissable event for anyone serious about forging a career in these fields. It’s been exciting for me personally to be able to screen films from around the world, as well as offering a platform for Highlands and Islands-based filmmakers to have their work seen.

“In 2015, we’re expanding the open call for submissions and developing our curated programme in partnership with European film festivals.

“In the last few years, the craft and publishing elements have added an exciting new dimension to XpoNorth, supporting some exciting emerging businesses in the fields of fashion and publishing.”

“Across the Highlands and Islands, there are some incredible success stories, such as fashion designers, Kirsteen Stewart and Catriona MacAllister, jewellers Gilly Langton and Eileen Gatt, as well as knitwear and textile designers, Hume Sweet Hume.”

“We will continue to bring leading industry players in the field of fashion, music, gaming, screen, broadcast and publishing to our daytime panels and workshops. Further details of the 2015 programme will be announced in January.”

Singer turned film director, Richard Jobson, who took part in an entertaining Q&A at last year’s festival describes XpoNorth as ‘the perfect platform to meet film-makers, musicians, designers and writers.’

The former frontman with Fife-based Punk band, The Skids, is currently working on two major film projects based in the Highlands and Islands, including a thriller set in the Cairngorms, called Helter Skelter. He describes his other film project is a ‘poetic meditation’ on North East-born writer Nan Shepherd’s classic book about The Cairngorms, The Living Mountain.

He said: “The informality and relaxed nature of XpoNorth in Inverness, makes it easy to get to know the people who are attending.

“From casual meetings at the festival, I have enrolled young sound designers, camera technicians, and even a couple of actors into my next couple of projects, which are both set in the Highlands. I hope to continue my relationship with XpoNorth in both a creative and training basis, bringing all my experience and new ideas to the table. It’s a special event in a special place.”

As well as music the festival will cover four genres under the collective banner of XpoNorth.

XpoNorth Crafts/Fashions/Textiles and XpoNorth Writing and Publishing

Supported by Emergents, the network which co-ordinates HIE industry networks for craft, fashion and textiles as well as writing and publishing. It is managed by Pamela Conacher and Peter Urpeth, who both bring extensive experience in their respective fields of craft, fashion and textiles, and writing and publishing, to XpoNorth.

XpoNorth Screen and Broadcasting

ScreenHI under the leadership of Amanda Millen, also director of XpoNorth, has been nurturing and developing the HIE’s Screen and Broadcast Industry Network for the last four years. ScreenHI will continue to do this under the new XpoNorth name, offering experiences, job opportunities and industry networking to businesses in the Highlands & Islands.

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