God of Hellfire to top the bill at festival

Arthur Brown is performing at Musicport
Arthur Brown is performing at Musicport

More than 60 acts will perform across five different stages this weekend as a festival of international music returns to Whitby.

One of the town’s most famous son’s, Arthur Brown, and indie rockers Idlewild are set to top a Musicport bill which features reggae, folk, punk and classical musicians at Whitby Pavilion.

Brown, the pioneer of shock rock, best known for his 1960s number one record Fire is delighted to be returning to his hometown.

“It has been a while, but I always like coming back to Whitby,” he told the Gazette.

“It is still beautiful in its own rugged way and it’s nice to return to my place of origin.”

The God of Hellfire will be playing songs from his latest offering– entitled Zim Zam Zim – as well as plenty of old favourites and the prospect has him excited.

Arthur said: “I am honoured to be performing at Musicport and very much looking forward to it.

“This will be a new challenge for me, trying to harness the local energies and bring something to life.

“The town seems to have chosen the character of its festivals very well. Goth weekends and folk events fit perfectly with the image of Whitby and Musicport is the same.”

Other highlights of the festival, which runs from today (Friday) until Sunday, include legendary French band, Lo’Jo who were discovered by Peter Gabriel, Polish newcomers Mosaic and the Mercury nominated Kathryn Williams.

Robyn Hitchcock, Mitch Benn, the award-winning Welsh/Senegalese collaboration of Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, DJ Andy Kershaw and Banco De Gaia will also be performing.

Festival organiser Jim McLaughlin described this year’s festival line up as “exciting.”

“I’m very pleased with the acts for 2014.

“There is a great mixture of international, national and regional performers.

“ Robyn Hitchcock, for example, is a hero to so many people, it’s a real coup getting him here.

“It is also great that local acts will have a forum to showcase their talents at La Rosa. This will give them the opportunity to play to a large audience who wouldn’t usually get to see them perform.”

Mr McLaughlin has urged local people to come and see what Musicport has to offer as he feels that the event is “much more than just a music festival.”

“We are keen for people in Whitby to come and enjoy Musicport,” he added.

“It is not just about music, there is a lot going on including the small cinema project, cookery demonstrations and various workshops.”

This year, three local schools, West Cliff, Fyling Hall and East Whitby will be working with musicians in the lead up to the festival.

A not for profit community business, Musicport has been established for 15 years.

It won the Fatea Indoor Festival of the Year Award 2013 and earier this year secured funding from Arts Council England and Scarborough Borough Council that helped to guarantee the event’s continuation.

This year’s festival gets underway with Edinburgh’s Beastie Drummers, who will perform with local musicians outside the illuminated Pavilion at 6.30pm tonight (Friday).

The original Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona – who have previously toured with Madonna – open proceedings in the main hall.

A limited number of daytime and evening session tickets will be available on the door and there are also some discounted tickets available for Whitby residents.