Every Autumn Musicport festival brings alive the Whitby Spa Pavilion with an exciting variety of world class acts. It is essentially an indoor music festival, but with a difference. Jim and Sue McLaughlin who take on the mammoth task of organising the event describe their annual festival as ‘a journey through the world of music and more’, and it is so much more than just music. There are dancers, poets, workshops and even cookery demonstrations. It is the organisers’ mission to bring the world to Whitby and for the last 18 years they have done just that. Their décor transforms the Pavilion and the 5 stages will host more than 50 different acts over the weekend. Musicport started back in 2000 as a not-for-profit community business. The first festival was meant to be a ‘one-off’ to celebrate the millennium but it has become increasingly popular and now attracts Arts Council and Lottery funding and some truly amazing world musicians. Over the weekend of 19th -21st October over 50 acts will take to the stage with a full daytime and evening programme of events.
Learning is also very important to the organisers and we have been lucky at Fyling Hall to be included in some of the educational work that they put together. In recent years our musicians have worked alongside some of the artists in school and at the event itself, and our art department have worked with the festivals resident artists to produce the decorations used on the main stage and in the opening parade.
Two of our A level students have been fortunate enough to be invited to work alongside the sound and lighting technicians for the full weekend, learning from industry professionals as they work to produce the best mix for each of the artists whether it be a solo poet or a 10-piece band, and then going on to produce work of an excellent quality for their level 3 music practitioners portfolios.
This year a group of our KS3 artists will be working with the artists next week to make some of the models to be featured in the opening parade and on the main stage and will play an integral part in the opening parade.
For the last couple of years once the festival is over Musicport has gone ‘on tour’, taking some of the world class acts to village halls in the local area and allowing young people to talk and perform with industry professionals. This year we are very fortunate to have been chosen as a venue for one of these concerts. On Monday 22nd October a group of our musicians will be taking part in an afternoon workshop run by Erna Chimu and her band from Namibia. They will learn about her musical culture and background and work on some music to perform in the evening, when the school Barn will become the venue for a performance by Erna. This will be a ‘pay as you feel’ event but you must contact the school office on 01947 880353 to reserve tickets.