As the embers of NEoN 11 expire and before the flicker of NEoN 12 flames erupt across the Dundonian landscape, I thought I would take this opportunity to pick over the ashes of this year’s festival and relive the best bits.
One of the first events NEoN 11 offered to the good people of Dundee was a Fun Day, yes, a day of fun which did exactly what it said on the tin and then some. Held in the Hannah McClure Centre, the Fun Day offered an array of activities for kids and adults to get stuck into.
One of the most popular on the day was the pop star challenge, where would-be singing sensations could step into the sound booth to record a song. With a sound engineer on hand for the afternoon, each song was mixed, mastered and burned to CD as evidence of the musical talent Dundee has to offer.
Some local artists also made themselves available for the afternoon to assist budding, young filmmakers with a stop-motion animation, the results of which were terrifically funny and wonderfully imaginative. With many other opportunities for families to play and have fun together, many were glad of the chance of a sit down to take-in ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ in the HMC cinema.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was the inaugural Pecha Kucha night, held in conjunction with Creative Dundee. A first for the City of Discovery, Pecha Kucha Dundee celebrated the creativity happening in our midst.
The opening act was Philip Long from the V&A Dundee; Philip’s presentation really sparked people’s interest as they were given a preview of what to expect in 2015 when they will finally be able to walk through the doors of Kengo Kuma’s fabulous building. A list of speakers can be viewed here, all of whom contributed to building a fantastic atmosphere, making the event a very special evening for all who attended.
Dundee can boast some of the most excitingly creative people the UK has to offer; the Pecha Kucha experience gives our community the platform to shout about it…if you failed to get tickets for the first event make sure you keep a keen eye on the Creative Dundee website for information about the next event in February – not to be missed!
It seems NEoN has a bit of a reputation for going big for finale events and this year’s climax did not disappoint. The NEoN team planned a day jam-packed full of performances, screenings and exhibitions at venues all over Dundee, including offering a select few the chance to watch some footage of Dylan Drummond’s new film ‘Keeping the Faith’ which documents the Northern Soul movement in Dundee. This wonderful film was screened at one of the city’s oldest buildings, the Backpackers Lodge.
The festival culminated in a gathering on the Law to watch a special dance performance. Over 60 dancers from Dundee, young and old, spent weeks working together on the routine. They danced to a ‘La Lumiere’ a song composed especially for this event by local musicians Andrew Mitchell and Raz Ullah. Each dancer wore a pair of green LED light-pads on their hands for the performance; this coupled with the location, the highest point in Dundee, and on a clear night, ensured that the overall effect was nothing short of spectacular!
So now that everything has been cleaned-up, packed-up and put away figuratively and literally, all that’s left for us to say is thank you to all the helpers who gave up their spare time to help us make the festival brilliant and thank you to all those who attended and enjoyed our events. Ideas are already flowing amongst the team for NEoN12 so watch this space…it’s going to be great!