Promising to continue its tradition as one of Yorkshire’s most eclectic and diverse festivals, Musicport will be hosting their annual Musicport Festival this month.
Now into their 18th (!?) year, the festival has steadily built up a reputation as one of the UK’s most diverse and inclusive festivals. Run as a not-for-profit community event, and championing music from all ethnic and social backgrounds, the festival is designed both to educate and inspire audiences by providing Whitby-transforming décor and performances which are intimate, unique and thought-provoking.
All in one indoor venue overlooking the North Sea, with 6 stages (and a comedy bus), Musicport is widely regarded as a great way to end the festival season and often coincides with the October half term.
Lining up this year in possibly the strongest collection of artists in the festival’s history, Musicport will bring us a three-day bonanza of interesting and charismatic artists – the likes of which are rarely seen on these shores, let alone in our region.
Cross-continental Friday headliners, Rafiki Jazz, will start off the festival with world music heavily inspired by Pakistan and Senegal sounds and ancient Middle Eastern Coptic and Hebrew liturgy. Described by the Guardian as “elegant and mesmerising”, they provide a musical journey through past and present traditions and cultures through the use of music which is hypnotising.
Saturday sees the Afro Celt Sound System take centre stage in what will be one of their only festival appearances this year. Shortlisted for this year’s ‘Best Group’ at the 2017 Songlines Awards, and formed by Grammy-nominated Simon Emmerson, Afro is considered one of the very finest live performers in the world with their unique and energetic soundtrack.
Benjamin Zephanah and his Revolutionary minds will close the festival on the Sunday evening. Known commonly for his work as a dub poet, writer, and social commentator, Zephanah will lead the five-piece band into upbeat, hypotonic, dub rhythms over which he will later recite insightful and contemporary narratives about politics, society and our world today.
Over 50 bands will perform over the festival, each with a story worth telling and promoting. I am, for what it’s worth, particularly looking forward to seeing the ever smiling Pete Williams (Ex Dexy’s Midnight Runners), the DJ set by ever-reliable Andy Kershaw and the brilliantly titled ‘The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Donnican’.
With indoor camping as an option, a festival bazaar in the main hall and international food vans, it has the outdoor festival vibe but protected from the elements and with lots of activities to participate in as well as acts to see, of which the music sessions for under 5’s is particularly impressive.
600 words to describe a festival so rich with artists offering unique musical insights is a huge challenge, so my advice would be to jump to the Musicport Festival website and really take some time to reflect on the festival’s full line-up.
This is a festival unlike most others in that it encourages us to find out more about the rest of the world and to challenge our own beliefs and values.
We’re sure that once you’ve seen the line-up you’ll immediately look to clear some space in your diary for a mind-bending, highly impactful, weekend.
Musicport festival will take place at the Whitby Pavillion on October 20th, 21st and 22nd. Weekend tickets are available from £100 through musicportfestival.com, though day tickets are also an option. Under 11’s are free and reduced prices are available for 11-18-year-olds.