We started back in 2000 with a one-off festival for the Millennium, and that one-off provided the impetus that has kept us going ever since – so 2019 brings our 20th Musicport and a great celebration of the 20 years!
We’ve had some amazing artists play here over those years – including: Vieux Farka Touré, The Mahotella Queens, Lemn Sissay, Tankus the Henge, Idlewild, Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch, Jeremy Hardy, Rachid Taha, The Buena Vista Social Club, Toumani Diabate, The Levellers, Misty In Roots, Courtney Pine, Natty and the Rebelship, Talvin Singh, Richard Hawley, The Afro Celt Sound System, Hugh Masekela, Chumbawamba, Mory Kante, Los De Abajo, Arthur Brown, The Blockheads, Dobet Gnahoré, The Demon Barbers XL, Duke Special, Dub Colossus, Transglobal Underground, Afrikan Boy, Varldens Band, Mari Boine – and there are so many more. We’ve decided in 2019 to invite back some favourites from the past as well as finding people who’ve not performed in Whitby before – check out our Line Up page.
Our décor transforms Whitby Pavilion into a great venue, really intimate and with a special atmosphere. You can get so close to these brilliant musicians, sometimes you have to pinch yourself to realise they really are here, on our doorstep, close enough to touch!
Then there’s our concerts and open mics – more opportunities to enjoy great music from all sorts of performers, some born and bred in Whitby, others from much further afield – whether it’s Sheffield, Scotland or the Sahara – always quality, often emotional and always memorable. Some stunning memories have been created at our house concerts, most recently at the Old Reading Room in Goathland – around 25 people, great food, great company and great music!
The Old Reading Room also houses our new venture into support of the visual arts – a collective of local artists exhibit and sell their art and craft here during the months March to November. Staffed by the artists themselves, the ORRG is open Friday-Sunday most weekends, and occasional weekdays.
Learning is important to us too – as a partner in NYMAZ (www.nymaz.org.uk) we support a whole programme of workshops covering a multitude of skills and interests in the lead up to and during the festival. You can even earn an Arts Award with Musicport.
Finally, there’s our shop with its new identity: Whitby Music Shop, on Skinner Street in Whitby – the only music shop in the town, selling all sorts of instruments, gifts and accessories (www.whitbymusicshop.com) – where you can also get information and tickets for any of our events.
Photo Credits: (1) Musicport Festival, (2) Reg Meuross, (3) Catrin Finch & Sekou Keita, (4) Anne Niepold, (5) Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage, (6) Belinda O’Hooley, (7) Moussou T E Lei Jovents, (8) Världens Band, (9) Peatbog Faeries, (10) Lo'Jo, (11) The Hut People, (12) Riccardo Tesi, (13) Warsaw Village Band (unknown/website).