goNORTH 2014

You have to have fortitude to survive as a creative person.
Donald-Iain Brown, chair of Same Old Story session

After three years of growth in delegate attendance at goNORTH we needed more space for our 2014 festival.  We took over the very grand main hall at the Inverness Town House, the big ballroom basement of the Mercure Hotel and the well established auditorium at the Ironworks to house over 60 bands, 30 panels and sessions, 100 speakers, 1300 delegates, 70 films, 3 networking and party events, a fashion show, Radio goNORTH, Hit The Ground Running training, a trade area and computer gaming playground.  All in 2 days.  Inverness was positively buzzing.  Check out the highlights from day one and day two in the words of the people that were there...

As usual we had a mix of informative sessions from across the creative genres with an enhanced fashion and textiles programme, which included a fashion show at the opening party, and greater emphasis on the gaming industry.

Lights, music, action!  A fabulous variety of our most talented Highlands and Islands designers showcased in the Ironworks to an industry crowd on day one of goNORTH.  Through a competitive selection process our partners at Scotland Re:Designed worked hard to bring together this showcase that included designs from Catriona McAllister, Gilly Langton, Hilary Grant, Jen Deschenes, Gemma Carver of Nochalant, Karen Mabon, Judy R Clark and Kirsteen Stewart.  Our lady on the ground, former lifestyle editor for Scotland on Sunday, Ruth Walker reveals all…

Without a doubt, the computer games industry is booming.  In Scotland we have a huge amount of talent working in this area.  Not only did Gary Penn deliver an excellent Gaming Masterclass at the Townhouse but for one day only at goNORTH this year, we were lucky enough to have a gaming playground with some of the most innovative designers working today.  Thanks to our friends at Scottish Games Network we had a hive of gaming in the basement of the Mercure Hotel where delegates got the opportunity to try out their newest creations and feedback direct to the designer.   

Occulus Rift, Gaming Playground, copyright Tim Winterburn

Other highlights this year included a lively chat on what makes a great character and story in the session, Same Old Story.  'Stay within the reference of the character' was good advice from author Denise Mina.  An exclusive panel from different mediums, including singer RM Hubbert, writer Denise Mina and Michael Redmond of Father Ted fame, took to the stage to share their thoughts and experiences in what makes great storytelling.  The room was packed, there was laughing and much discussion. Read some more nuggets of advice from this session.

Strip it back and feel things as deeply as possible. Do nothing and the director will add music.
Billy Boyd (to gales of laughter)

The music always comes first. I only add words when I want to do a very definite thing.
RM Hubbert

Rob Hallett, copyright Tim Winterburn/HIE

Rob Hallett, one of the top executives in the global live industry and a key figure in the music business, was Music Week's Keynote speaker talking to a packed room about his thoughts on the modern music business as well as looking back over his career. Richard Jobson shared some cracking tales from his rise through fronting The Skids to becoming a respected writer and filmmaker and MPG brought together an outstanding panel of music producers who discussed just how artists across different levels of experience can forge more creative relationships with producers. Wall of Sound’s Mark Jones returned to kick off the closing party with a DJ set at the Ironworks and Denise Mina’s short film Multum in Parvo was screened to a delighted home audience.

Making movies is all about crisis management.
Richard Jobson

A huge thank you to everyone who made it happen - you know who you are!  Next year the festival will be back under a new name, which was announced at the HIE Opening Party this year.  Look out for XpoNorth 2015.

View all the official photos from across the two days here.

I spoke at a packed goNORTH creative industries event in the Inverness Town Hall, lots of energy and networking at this international festival.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, SNP

I've been to similar things in England and they've cost between £60 and £80, the fact that this is free is just brilliant.
Catherine McGregor, Musician

I went to the satellite event in Stornoway, picked up loads of great knowledge and just found it to be a great networking opportunity, so I'm delighted to be here in Inverness for the main event.
Ruth Walker, Editor-In-Chief, We Crave

I submitted my film to goNORTH's Open Submission call and it was selected.  It's now part of a curated programme of films from all over the world.  It's really exciting.
Neil Rolland, Director

goNORTH is integrating more gaming than SXSW.  There are definite up-and-coming interactive and digital sources here.
Allison Shaw, Brand Manager

Gaming is the spearhead of the digital revolution.  We're here at goNORTH to discuss it's cultural importance, particularly in Scotland.
Gary Penn, Creative Director

All of our songwriters, artists and composers don't just work in the music industry, they're working cross genre and that's what goNORTH does really well, it brings all of those strands together.
Stuart Fleming, PRS