While all eyes are on 2013, there is much going on in Derry in the lead up to City of Culture year.
One of the most exciting events, in my humble opinion, is Culture Tech, a four-day celebration of digital technology, media and music which will run in the Maiden City betwen August 29th and September 1st.
The quality of Culture Tech can be judged by the cailbre of people who will be delivering keynote speeches at the event.
Take Sir Nicholas Kenyon, for example.
In 2007, Kenyon became Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in London, the largest performing arts venue in Europe.
He was a music critic for The New Yorker, The Times and Observer, and editor of Early Music 1983-92. He was appointed Controller of BBC Radio 3 in 1992 and he oversaw the BBC’s programming for the Millennium and then ran the BBC’s Live Events and TV Classical Music departments. He was Director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007.
NIcholas Kenyon has continued to write and lecture on the arts, publishing books on Bach, Mozart, Simon Rattle, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and early music.
Add to that Kath Mainland, CEO of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Europe’s largest performance venue Ben Hammerlsey, Editor-at-Large at Wired magazine and No 10’s Ambassador to Tech City; Mike Butcher, editor of the highly influential TechCrunch Europe website and you’ll get an idea of the pulling power Digital Derry has.
However, these are just the more notable figures in an event which will also feature over 50 industry speakers, yet it is more than just beautifully coiffured and moisturised talking heads. There will also be film screenings, digital arts installations, a games tournament and an extensive music lineup.
One of the most intriguing acts to me will be a collaboration between Gráinne Holland and
electronic producer, Figure of 8 involving an “audiovisual set which will be accompanied by surreal visuals and a live string quartet, courtesy of Serendipity Strings.”
As festival organiser, Mark Nagurski, explained: “Culture Tech is one part conference, one part music festival and one part family-friendly carnival, all designed to celebrate digital culture. We have announced over 50 speakers across TV, music, gaming and digital arts and we’re expecting well over 500 industry delegates and 10,000 members of the public to take part in activities and events across the city.”
“We are thrilled to have so many high-profile speakers and industry experts involved in the event already and we’ll soon be finalising our music line-up, including dozens of acts and a free, public concert which will take place on the last day of the festival. In other words it’s going to be fantastically exciting.”
Martin Adair from Invest Northern Ireland, who are co-sponsoring the event, rightly said the creative industries are hugely important to the Northern Ireland economy.
“We have truly world-class companies here across everything from TV to games and animation to music. The Culture Tech festival is a really accessible way of both showcasing those companies and inviting the public, particularly young people, to get involved,” he said.
Festival tickets are on sale now via the Culture Tech website at www.culturetech.co, priced at £49 with student tickets available for £29. Individual music event tickets go on sale July 9th so watch this space.
You can see the full line-up at culturetech.co (and yes, that’s the full address!)