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Music festival goes digital with showcase of north-east talent


By David Porter

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Aberdeen Performing Arts have announced a series of free to view virtual events as this year’s True North Music Festival is staged online from Friday, September 25 to Sunday 27.

The award-winning annual festival which has been staged across the city each September since 2015 will feature an exclusive performance in the Music Hall by Kathryn Joseph, a set of songs specially for younger audiences, and a series of live streamed performances showcasing some of the finest young talent in the north-east.

A digital exhibition celebrating the love of live performance will run over the weekend and will include memories and reflections of past festivals.

The concerts mark the first performances staged by cultural charity Aberdeen Performing Arts – named the North-east Business of the Year 2019 at the Northern Star Awards – since venues across the country closed in March and will be broadcast across all the True North social media channels.

Ben Torrie, Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Director of Programming and Creative Projects, said “Over the past five years, True North has become an important and popular milestone of the city’s cultural calendar and when it became clear it couldn’t go ahead as normal we were determined to mark the weekend in some way.

"We’ve curated a programme which shines a light on the immense talent of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire musicians and can’t wait to share their unique and distinct voices with music-lovers everywhere.

"With so many gigs and festivals not going ahead this year, we are delighted that we can present a miniature version of True North online for audiences to enjoy.”

Kathryn Joseph headlines True North
Kathryn Joseph headlines True North

Headlining the event is acclaimed singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph, who will perform a special set filmed in the iconic surroundings of the Music Hall. With a musical career firmly rooted in the north-east, Kathryn has released two studio albums with her debut winning the Scottish Album of the Year award in 2015.

Her ethereal and thought-provoking music will be seen and heard in a fresh new way in the empty surrounds of the hall’s historic auditorium.

All the family can get involved in a digital performance inspired by True North’s popular My First Gig concept. Adam Ross, of indie-pop outfit Randolph’s Leap, will be performing a set of songs with young audiences in mind.

Recorded at his home in Laurencekirk, the set list will include music by Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Adele, as well as music from Disney films and Adam’s own original songs.

The set will be available to view from 9am on Saturday 26 September and aims to inspire young gig-goers with an early taste of fantastic music.

Under the banner of True North Introduces, the festival will showcase three of the most exciting new artists emerging from the Granite City and its surrounds – 15 year old Aiysha Russell from Drumoak reached the final stages of The Voice Kids in 2019, Aberdonian singer Rachael Bissett opened the city’s Hogmanay stage last year, and Scott Wallace was a finalist in the inaugural BBC Scotland Singer-Songwriter of the Year Award – who will each perform a live streamed set daily at 6pm during the festival.

With live music and performance venues across the country still closed, True North will create a nostalgic digital exhibition piece inspired by the live, gig experience. Live Music: Long May You Run will feature photography and memories from the five years of True North and will look forward to the time when we can all attend concerts once again.

The exhibition will begin on Friday, September 25 and run for a month in the virtual Music Hall Stepping In digital artspace at https://steppingin.space.

All performances at the virtual festival will be free to watch with an option to make a donation to Aberdeen Performing Arts. For further information on how to watch the virtual True North Festival and for the full schedule visit aberdeenperformingarts.com/truenorth .



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