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Thread: Northern Lights Festival 2008 in Wick

  1. #1
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    Default Northern Lights Festival 2008 in Wick

    I recently heard that the Northern Lights Festival that was held in Durness last year was going to be moving to Wick in 2008, but with bigger headline bands, DJs, artists and performers.

    Unfortunately, I have just read this on their myspace blog at http://www.myspace.com/durnessnorthernlights

    "Hi all,

    I have some very sad news.

    Due to funding difficulties I will not be staging a Northern Lights Festival in Wick this year. The main problem has been the timescale to raise the money to stage this year's event, which would guarantee the deposits for the headline acts. Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise had pledged half the money - but only as match funding. It has not been possible to find other sources of funding within the timescale to secure the headliners. Without the headliners it would be only half the festival.

    I have worked since the end of the last festival - unpaid and at my own expense - and put together a superb line-up with many top acts who were desperate to play because of the succeess and reputation of Durness. Unfortunately that has all now been lost. I am afraid I have exhausted all avenues. I sincerely hope we can put a festival on in Durness again in 2010 - the 7Oth anniversary of John's birth.

    I wish you all the very best and hope that one day we can all work together again.


    Kind Regards

    Mike Merritt"


    I am really saddened to hear this after the huge success of last years one, as well as the award they won for Best New Festival at the UK Festival Awards. I am sure it would have been a very special event once again and brought some much appreciated publicity and tourism for Wick as well as something exciting and different for those us living up here in Caithness.

    What are everyone else's views?

  2. #2

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    What made the John Lennon Festival such a hit was down to two things: (a) the setting - great scenery (Smoo Cave for example), great location and great weather; (b) Its links with the Beatle - the fact he spent a lot of his childhood summers there, and that he came back in later life and wrote about it (by way of song), captured peoples' imagination. To move the festival elsewhere would dilute its popularity and appeal. So, host it in Wick? Now that is a laugh. With all due respect, the town is a cultural Chernobyl.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pepsi Challenge View Post
    What made the John Lennon Festival such a hit was down to two things: (a) the setting - great scenery (Smoo Cave for example), great location and great weather; (b) Its links with the Beatle - the fact he spent a lot of his childhood summers there, and that he came back in later life and wrote about it (by way of song), captured peoples' imagination. To move the festival elsewhere would dilute its popularity and appeal. So, host it in Wick? Now that is a laugh. With all due respect, the town is a cultural Chernobyl.
    Compared to DURNESS?? Blah blah blah mate.....

    Nothing you haven't said before! Would putting a festival to the town not help this cultural vacuum??

    Apparently Yoko Ono doesn't want it to be named the "John Lennon" festival anymore due to its tenuous links with the bespectacled beatle. So that factor's out anyway. And "great weather" is always a variable no matter where the festival is set!

    So in my humble opinion what you've just said is offensive tripe.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pepsi Challenge View Post
    What made the John Lennon Festival such a hit was down to two things: (a) the setting - great scenery (Smoo Cave for example), great location and great weather; (b) Its links with the Beatle - the fact he spent a lot of his childhood summers there, and that he came back in later life and wrote about it (by way of song), captured peoples' imagination. To move the festival elsewhere would dilute its popularity and appeal. So, host it in Wick? Now that is a laugh. With all due respect, the town is a cultural Chernobyl.
    I would agree that it would be nonsense to move this away from Durness, presumably Wick has been pulled in as an alternative venue by potential funders but there is not enough information on the thread to know this for sure. This would be like asking the mighty Wick Academy to play home games in Thurso. With all due respect, you can lump in all of Scotland ( outside a few luvvie hang outs in Edinburgh ) as a cultural chernobyl, Wick is not alone here my friend !!

  5. #5
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    I was at the John Lennon Festival last year and it was great. However there were problems getting accommodation with one hotel full and the other closed down. We stayed in the hostel which was adequate, but also very busy, we were lucky to get in. the camp site was also busy and a good distance from the venues, a long walk if you wanted a drink. I don't see any thing wrong with having alternative venues every year - these events lift the spirits, and that's what we need, don't we?
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by katarina View Post
    I was at the John Lennon Festival last year and it was great. However there were problems getting accommodation with one hotel full and the other closed down. We stayed in the hostel which was adequate, but also very busy, we were lucky to get in. the camp site was also busy and a good distance from the venues, a long walk if you wanted a drink. I don't see any thing wrong with having alternative venues every year - these events lift the spirits, and that's what we need, don't we?
    Aye but the Durness festival exists only through the John Lennon connection, shifting it around would kill the connection as its a personal connection not a branmd like T in the Park whihc can be moved anywhere. Throughout the 70's and 80's David Morrison used to put on a 3 day event, The Wick Poetry, Jazz and Folk festival, showcasing local poets / musicians it died off around 1981. No reason why a new festival ( suitably branded, content judged suitable for an event ) cannot be established in Wick or anywhere else in the north, it just takes some people pulling together and community support.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by katarina View Post
    I was at the John Lennon Festival last year and it was great. However there were problems getting accommodation with one hotel full and the other closed down. We stayed in the hostel which was adequate, but also very busy, we were lucky to get in. the camp site was also busy and a good distance from the venues, a long walk if you wanted a drink. I don't see any thing wrong with having alternative venues every year - these events lift the spirits, and that's what we need, don't we?
    You never had it so good.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeeRob View Post
    Compared to DURNESS?? Blah blah blah mate.....

    Nothing you haven't said before! Would putting a festival to the town not help this cultural vacuum??

    Apparently Yoko Ono doesn't want it to be named the "John Lennon" festival anymore due to its tenuous links with the bespectacled beatle. So that factor's out anyway. And "great weather" is always a variable no matter where the festival is set!

    So in my humble opinion what you've just said is offensive tripe.
    Help this cultural vacuum? No, it'll take a lot, lot more than a two/three-day festival to solve that problem am afraid. Can you provide quotes to prove Yoko doesn't want the festival to be named after her late husband? Far as am aware, she only wanted his name removed from a possible film about his time in Durness. Offensive tripe? What's offensive about it? Is Wick not a cultural Chernobyl? Would love to believe otherwise.

  9. #9
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    " The festival was given approval, for the first year only, to use John's name from Yoko Ono Lennon (for which we are very grateful) and John's sister Julia Baird as well as cousin Stan Parkes attended and gave talks about John and his love of Durness."

    From the Northern Lights Myspace page. The idea always was, as far as I am aware, to make use of the John Lennon connection in the first year as a launch pad for a longer running festival. Permission was only ever granted by Yoko Ono for 1 year. There is a full story on the front page of today's Caithness Courier, but the festival was going to move about the coast, including Thurso, Helmsdale and Durness, again, in later years.


    So, host it in Wick? Now that is a laugh. With all due respect, the town is a cultural Chernobyl.
    I have to say I, too, find that really quite offensive! For starters, it depends on what your meaning of 'culture' actually is - culture can be found anywhere you want to look for it.

    However, I am assuming your implication is that us poor ignorant tcheucters aren't good enough to appreciate music, art, poetry etc? Hmm, I think you should maybe keep your 'Embra' city attitude to your 'luvvie' lowland bars and remember who does the farming, fishing and energy production that provides the sustinance for your body and light for your art gallerys and opera houses!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pepsi Challenge View Post
    Help this cultural vacuum? No, it'll take a lot, lot more than a two/three-day festival to solve that problem am afraid. Can you provide quotes to prove Yoko doesn't want the festival to be named after her late husband? Far as am aware, she only wanted his name removed from a possible film about his time in Durness. Offensive tripe? What's offensive about it? Is Wick not a cultural Chernobyl? Would love to believe otherwise.
    It is indeed offensive to call Wick a 'cultural vacuum' You haven't been looking very far, I'm afraid.
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pepsi Challenge View Post
    Help this cultural vacuum? No, it'll take a lot, lot more than a two/three-day festival to solve that problem am afraid. Can you provide quotes to prove Yoko doesn't want the festival to be named after her late husband? Far as am aware, she only wanted his name removed from a possible film about his time in Durness. Offensive tripe? What's offensive about it? Is Wick not a cultural Chernobyl? Would love to believe otherwise.
    Barry, see postings above from Mike re your request for quotes / clarification of above issue..now issue apology number 1. Is Wick a cultural Chernobyl ? Go and ask Gleber 2 who is always very warmly welcomed when playing in "chernobyl". On what basis do you base this opinion check ? Seems to me that you are either on the wind up or yer serious. My opinion is that your serious..so put yer facts up check, ( if you have the bottle ) and justify your viewpoint....Im sure plenty oh Weekers will have a good laugh at yah ( we mean it maaaaann !!! )
    Last edited by rob murray; 13-Feb-08 at 19:40. Reason: corret typos

  12. #12
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    I'm sure I am telling you all something you know already but:

    Ten years after the Chernobyl disaster, journalist Mary Mycio made her first trip to the Chernobyl region. Equipped with dosimeter [describe what this is used for] and protective gear, Mycio set out to explore the world's only radioactive wilderness environment and the defiant local residents who remained behind to survive and make their lives in the Zone."

    She discovered a wilderness teeming with large animals, more than before the nuclear disaster and many of them members of rare and endangered species. Like the forests, fields, and swamps of this unexpectedly inviting habitat, both the people and animals are radioactive. Cesium-137 is packed in their muscles and strontium-90 in their bones. But, quite astonishingly, they are also thriving.

    Chernobyl's flourishing new ecosystem is "one of the first examples of how, in the absence of human intervention, nature in the zone could recover its balance," writes Mycio—even in the face of radioactive "ghost towns and villages [that] stand in tragic testimony to the devastating effects of technology gone awry.
    Taken from:
    http://www.physorg.com/news6858.html

    So maybe being a cultural Chernobyl is a bit of a back-handed comment
    'Cause if my eyes don't deceive me,
    There's something going wrong around here

  13. #13

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    I think that 2010 is a far more realistic timescale for fund raising, any event of the size of last year's one would struggle to be properly organised in 12 months.

    The organisers might get a response if they ask for help on here.
    The Big Man

  14. #14
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    It looks like there is not going to be an Isle of Skye music festival either.
    Something to do with their funding being cut...
    Never judge someone until you have walked two moons in their moccasins.

    Native American Indian saying.

  15. #15

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    Reading all the above and taking into account the insults & petty squabbling, (even though I am devastated that the funding could not be raised for this years Northern Lights Festival), perhaps, it would not be possible to recreate the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that was abundant in Durness. The place, the people and the warmth made it the best festival I have been too ……. I’ll wait until 2010 to return to Durness, I didn’t hear anyone bickering there. ‘Peace & Love’ ?????????? I will forward this link to Mike Merritt and perhaps he will add a comment!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by katarina View Post
    I was at the John Lennon Festival last year and it was great. However there were problems getting accommodation with one hotel full and the other closed down. We stayed in the hostel which was adequate, but also very busy, we were lucky to get in. the camp site was also busy and a good distance from the venues, a long walk if you wanted a drink. I don't see any thing wrong with having alternative venues every year - these events lift the spirits, and that's what we need, don't we?
    Ps. I stayed on the campsite & there were lots of pitches available, there was also FREE transport provided by the festival to take you to & from the the venues, this was great, you could have a few dram's & get home safely, a brill time was had by all .....

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by smj View Post
    Reading all the above and taking into account the insults & petty squabbling, (even though I am devastated that the funding could not be raised for this years Northern Lights Festival), perhaps, it would not be possible to recreate the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that was abundant in Durness. The place, the people and the warmth made it the best festival I have been too ……. I’ll wait until 2010 to return to Durness, I didn’t hear anyone bickering there. ‘Peace & Love’ ?????????? I will forward this link to Mike Merritt and perhaps he will add a comment!
    Re read the thread, not much bickering on display here, just a gutless luvvie mouthing off about Week. I wis at Durness masel and dealt with Mike prior to the festival, he's a top bloke !

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyermonkey View Post
    " The festival was given approval, for the first year only, to use John's name from Yoko Ono Lennon (for which we are very grateful) and John's sister Julia Baird as well as cousin Stan Parkes attended and gave talks about John and his love of Durness."

    From the Northern Lights Myspace page. The idea always was, as far as I am aware, to make use of the John Lennon connection in the first year as a launch pad for a longer running festival. Permission was only ever granted by Yoko Ono for 1 year. There is a full story on the front page of today's Caithness Courier, but the festival was going to move about the coast, including Thurso, Helmsdale and Durness, again, in later years.


    I have to say I, too, find that really quite offensive! For starters, it depends on what your meaning of 'culture' actually is - culture can be found anywhere you want to look for it.

    However, I am assuming your implication is that us poor ignorant tcheucters aren't good enough to appreciate music, art, poetry etc? Hmm, I think you should maybe keep your 'Embra' city attitude to your 'luvvie' lowland bars and remember who does the farming, fishing and energy production that provides the sustinance for your body and light for your art gallerys and opera houses!
    I take it back, Wick is in fact a melting pot. When you base artistic culture on subjects manifested in music, art, theater and literature, you have to say Wick is teeming with the stuff. Shame Gordon Gunn - one of the town and Caithness' best musicians - can barely pull a crowd there.

    For the record, I rarely drink let alone hang around upmarket bars; I come from a family of crofters and former nuclear power workers, and only go to art galleries and opera houses when on commissioned exercises.

    So relax, and enjoy your hair.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pepsi Challenge View Post
    Help this cultural vacuum? No, it'll take a lot, lot more than a two/three-day festival to solve that problem am afraid. Can you provide quotes to prove Yoko doesn't want the festival to be named after her late husband? Far as am aware, she only wanted his name removed from a possible film about his time in Durness. Offensive tripe? What's offensive about it? Is Wick not a cultural Chernobyl? Would love to believe otherwise.
    No I can't provide quotes - hence the use of "apparently". If it helps I'll retract that statement until we find out for certain.

    Its offensive on two fronts: firstly, Wick is in same the position as a lot of small towns. I can't think of any town - of a similar size - in the North who has a firmly developed arts / culture scene. These tend to cluster around city areas, and even then purely the affluent ones (compare Dundee to Edinburgh).

    Secondly, there are SOME arts / cultural events in the town, and the people who run / attend them show great levels of dedication. Its offensive to them to sum up their work as producing a "cultural Chernobyl".

    And why is it always Wick that takes the brunt of your journalistic tongue on these forums????

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeeRob View Post
    No I can't provide quotes - hence the use of "apparently". If it helps I'll retract that statement until we find out for certain.

    Its offensive on two fronts: firstly, Wick is in same the position as a lot of small towns. I can't think of any town - of a similar size - in the North who has a firmly developed arts / culture scene. These tend to cluster around city areas, and even then purely the affluent ones (compare Dundee to Edinburgh).

    Secondly, there are SOME arts / cultural events in the town, and the people who run / attend them show great levels of dedication. Its offensive to them to sum up their work as producing a "cultural Chernobyl".

    And why is it always Wick that takes the brunt of your journalistic tongue on these forums????
    OK, then. To use your method, Wick, in my opinion, apparently has little in the way of culture. Durness, Ullapool, Portree, Plockton, Kirkwall even Glenurquhart - all smaller than Wick - encompass more of a cultural scene than Wick does. But am more than willing to be proved otherwise. Can you list what cultural activities draws so many people out to events there? And just because you put a lot of effort into anything doesn't mean it's any good, or worthwhile. I'll also share criticism where it's warranted, whether that's in Wick or anywhere else in Caithness. Caithness deserves, and has, the potential to be a major player in terms of cultural vibrancy and attractiveness. Sadly, it doesn't, and mores the pity. I think we all would love to see Wick prosper, an all fronts.

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