New arts festival launched to celebrate Scotland’s north coast
A NEW arts festival will focus on the far north of Scotland as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters.
Northern Lights will celebrate the Caithness coastline with film screenings, exhibits, performances, lectures, a free series of outdoor screenings and a showcase of local and sustainable food.
“More than ever, people are looking to celebrate their local landscapes and come together as a community. The Northern Lights Festival is truly a chance to shine a light on this most beautiful corner of Scotland, ”said co-director Charlotte Mountford.
A lighting and projection installation at Wick Harbor will feature former herring dam salt stores, modern oil tanks, the iconic lighthouse and the historic Herring Market.
Festival performances will include Caithness makar George Gunn reading his new collection Between Two Beaches; singer, songwriter and cultural crofter Nancy Nicolson; and Culture Collective artist-in-residence Sinéad Hargan who will present a participatory audio performance aimed at taking audiences on a journey of appreciation and reflection on the sea.
A series of lectures and online events features the director of the Seawatch Foundation, Dr Peter Evans, while Chris Aitken of the Caithness Broch Project will examine whether the Iron Age dwellers of Keiss broch were cannibals.
Shetland poet Roseanne Watt will read from her award-winning collection, Moder Dy / Mother Wave, and Lyth Arts Center associate artists Morna Young and Catriona Lexy-Campbell will discuss their new piece Salt Quines, inspired by the herring girls of the east coast .
The film program will include a program of films inspired by the oceans, including Launch! On The Sea With Scotland’s Lifeboats, which delves into archival footage and videos of RNLI crews and communities, accompanied by an immersive soundtrack from some of the UK’s finest contemporary musicians.
Shore Short Film Night will see an evening of sea-inspired shorts, featuring a new Scottish documentary and international animation. A series of workshops and crafts for families celebrating the sea will take place throughout the mid-October festival, including nautical-themed drawing and sea-gazing around Wick Bay.
Additionally, Vision Mechanics, 10m tall mythical sea goddess Storm, will appear at Wick Harbor on October 11 as part of her tour of Scotland, accompanied by a soundscape created by pioneering Scottish folk singer Mairi. Campbell.
The Northern Lights Festival takes place October 8-16. https://lytharts.org.uk/northern-lights-festival/