Thursday, 28 January 2016

Free Flm Making Opportunity for Young People in North Devon

In association with education charity Into Film, St Anne's Film Club in Barnstaple is inviting young people between the ages of 11 and 14 to apply for a FREE film making course in Barnstaple.  Under the guidance of industry professionals the young film makers will learn about the film production process from research through to marketing and create a short film of their own.

Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of North Devon Moving Image (NDMI), who is leading the project says it will be a great hands-on learning experience for young people in North Devon "This opportunity has been made possible by funding from Into Film, a fabulous education charity whose overriding mission is to put film at the heart of children and young people's learning and cultural experience in the UK.  We are really excited about working with a group of keen young film makers and enabling them to develop their skills and share their creativity."

The project will take place at St Anne's Arts & Community Centre in Barnstaple on Tuesdays from 4pm to 6pm starting on 8 March 2016.

To apply please contact Amanda McCormack, Creative Director of North Devon Moving Image at, telephone 01271 860610 or visit the website  Closing date for applications is Friday 26 February 2016.
Young film makers course at Barnstaple

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Critically acclaimed "Gigspanner" in concert at St Anne's Arts Centre, Barnstaple 17th February

Since his departure from folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span at the end of 2013, legendary fiddle player Peter Knight has turned his full attention to his trio Gigspanner, and in the process has firmly established their burgeoning reputation as one of the most innovative acts on the folk/roots scene.

Justifiably met with significant critical acclaim, Gigspanner’s riveting new album ‘Layers of Ages’ sees the band blowing the dust from a collection of well-worn traditional music and song to reveal authentic moments of staggering originality and great beauty, and has been added to the Telegraph’s ‘Best Folk Albums of 2015’ list.

Hailed by Songlines magazine as “another milestone in folk’s rebirth of cool”, Gigspanner present a skilfully narrated program of material that goes way beyond the folk genres usual boundaries. Modern in interpretation yet classical in its virtuosity, it is music that continues to inspire audiences of all leanings, bringing them back for more.

Peter is joined by Roger Flack on Guitar and Vincent Salzfaas on Percussion for his concert at St Anne’s Arts Centre, Barnstaple on 17 February 2016. 

Tickets Gigspanner 17th February, Barnstaple

Wednesday 17 February 2016
7.30pm doors, 8pm on stage
St Annes Arts and Community Centre, Paternoster Row, Barnstaple, EX31 1BH
Tickets - £12 in advance £14 on the door (if there are seats left!) from 
or the Heritage Centre Shop on the Strand in Barnstaple open Tuesday – Saturday 9.30am – 4pm Tel: 01271 373003

WHO SAID WHAT about #Gigspanner
  • Magnificent…a feast of imaginative music The Telegraph
  • "With his trio, Peter Knight breaks new ground and is second to absolutely nobody...ground-breaking, engaging, frequently astonishing, Gigspanner deliver a quite simply superb set"
    Maverick Magazine
  • "Gigspanner has taken traditional tunes as a starting point and rearranged, orchestrated and improvised around them to create fascinating new works, leaving no doubt that Gigspanner’s increasingly impressive sound is like no other" Folk Radio UK
  • Gigspanner work together in musical genius” English Folksong and Dance Society Magazine
  • “A glorious musical tour de force. Simply exquisite” -Spiral Earth

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Second wave of marine protection welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts

Today, The Wildlife Trusts welcome the news that this Government is designating a
second phase of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) - including two sites along
the spectacular north Devon coast.  This historic move illustrates a renewed impetus
to protect the seas around our shores.

It follows on from the announcement of 27 MCZs in 2013 - four of those were Devon
sites - and is the second of three phases promised by the Government in order to
fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

One of the two new MCZs for Devon is Bideford to Foreland Point, protecting marine
wildlife along one of Devon's most popular stretches of coast, from the Taw estuary
to the cliffs of Exmoor. Locals and holidaymakers alike know the array of anemones,
crabs and fish to be found in the rockpools of Ilfracombe and Combe Martin, as well
as the opportunities to spot cetaceans from Baggy Point or seals in Lee Bay. Now,
for the first time, the rich marine wildlife of the north Devon coast has legal
protection from damaging activities.

The future of marine habitats off the north-west Devon coast also looks more secure
following designation of the Hartland Point to Tintagel MCZ today. The northern
section of this new protected area is home to mussel beds and reef-building
honeycomb worms.

Richard White, Senior Marine Conservation Officer at Devon Wildlife Trust, welcomed
the announcement:  "This is really good news for marine life in North Devon and all
the more welcome as the boundaries within Devon waters were put forward by local
stakeholders  -  conservationists and fishermen working together to protect the
future of their own 'back-yard'."

The location of the Bideford to Foreland Point MCZ was first proposed by local
people, including fishermen, recreational sea-users, conservationists and
scientists. Forming a Marine Working Group under the umbrella of the North Devon
Biosphere Reserve, this group used their local knowledge of north Devon's marine
environment to recommend Bideford to Foreland Point to the Government as a Marine
Conservation Zone. After several years of campaigning by Devon Wildlife Trust and
others, all the hard work has paid off.

But Devon Wildlife Trust recognises that the second round of Marine Conservation
Zones still leaves many important marine wildlife sites without protection. Richard
White added: "There is still much more to do if the network of protection around our
coast is to be completed.  We await news on the future of six Devon estuaries
proposed as MCZs and there is still the question of how areas important for whales,
sharks and dolphins are to be protected."

Nationally, the 23 new MCZs are diverse and special places and include cold water
coral reefs, forests of sea fans, canyons and sandbanks, and an astonishingly varied
range of submerged landscapes which support the stunning diversity of marine life
found in the UK.  They include Land's End, one of the South-West's most recognised
areas and renowned for its rugged coastline, and the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds in the
North Sea, thought to be Europe's largest chalk reef.  All will contribute towards a
network of areas which is urgently needed to ensure a healthy future for our seas.

Joan Edwards, head of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts, said:  "We welcome today's
designation of 23 Marine Conservation Zones.  UK seas have the potential to be full
of incredible life and colour but continued destruction has reduced them to a shadow
of their former selves. Without these astonishing submerged landscapes there simply
wouldn't be any fish, let alone fantastic jewel anemones, seahorses, dolphins,
brittlestars amongst all the other wild and extraordinary creatures which are part
of a healthy marine ecosystem."

Marine Conservation Zones are a type of protected area at sea designated for
habitats and species of national importance, including fragile seahorses, rare
native oysters and even cold water coral reefs.  Such protected areas are a tried
and tested means of giving vulnerable species the time and space to recover.

Joan Edwards added: "We are pleased by this Government's commitment to addressing
the decimation of our seabed over the past century, and to delivering an
ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.  This second step towards
the completion of a 'blue belt' in UK seas is crucial in turning the tide on the
state of our seas but there's still work to be done.  We look forward to working
with Government and stakeholders to ensure these 50 MCZs are properly managed and to
achieve the much-needed ambitious and comprehensive third and final 'tranche'.  This
will be the start of turning our over-fished, over-exploited and currently
under-protected waters back into a healthy and sustainable environment."

The list of Marine Conservation Zones was drawn-up by sea-users, scientists and
conservationists, with Government committing to designating the sites in three waves
or 'tranches'.  The Wildlife Trusts, actively involved in every step of the process,
are buoyed by the achievement of another important milestone on the road to better
protected seas.  We are calling for anyone interested in protecting our seas to join
more than 8,000 other passionate supporters and become a Friend of MCZ's 
The 23 Marine Conservation Zones 
1. Coquet to St Mary's
2. Farnes East 
3. Fulmar 
4. Runswick Bay
5. Holderness Inshore 
6. Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds
7. The Swale Estuary
8. Dover to Deal 
9. Dover to Folkestone
10. Offshore Brighton 
11. Offshore Overfalls
12. Utopia
13. The Needles 
14. Western Channel
15. Mounts Bay
16. Lands End 
17. North-West of Jones Bank 
18. Greater Haig Fras
19. Newquay and The Gannel
20. Hartland Point to Tintagel 
21. Bideford to Foreland Point
22. West of Walney 
23. Allonby Bay
Become a friend of Marine Conservation Zones

Friday, 8 January 2016

Next Big Thing: Jack Garret, winner of the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll announces UK Tour, forthcoming single and debut album.

Jack Garratt is pleased to announce details of a new single, Worry, to be lifted from his forthcoming debut album, Phase, released on the 19th February through Island Records. 

Worry is the song that started this incredible journey for Jack Garratt, some eighteen months ago. It was an undisputed highlight of a self-released debut EP that Jack put out back in 2014, and it’s long been an impressive highlight of the young British artist/producer’s live set. 

The unveiling of Worry coincides with the news today that Jack has been crowned the winner of the BBC’s Sound of 2016 poll. It smartly follows Jack being named the BRITS Critics Choice for 2016 at February’s BRIT Awards, and picking up the BBC Introducing Award at the BBC Awards back in December. 

The constant building and consequent success that Jack enjoyed in the UK last year was replicated across the globe too. Support slots in the UK and US with Mumford & Sons were also surrounded by sold-out dates of Jack’s own in the UK, US, and into Europe. It’s a live show that has mutated into a spectacle. Performing solo and armed with all the instruments Jack utilizes on Phase, it’s a breathtaking, multi-faceted performance that has already translated to far bigger stages (across the British and US arenas as a support act and at festivals), for which Jack is surely now destined to head by himself.

Soon after the debut album is released in February, Jack Garratt will head out on an eleven date UK/Ireland run, kicking off in Dublin at The Academy on the 30th March 2016, and concluding at a now sold-out O2 Academy Brixton in London on the 15th April. 

Remaining tickets for the UK/Ireland Spring tour can be found here: 

Pre-order Phase here: or from iTunes:

Jack Garratt Live: 
  • 30th March – The Academy, Dublin 1st April – O2 ABC, Glasgow 
  • 2nd April – Liquid Room, Edinburgh 
  • 4th April – University, Newcastle 
  • 5th April – University, Leeds 7th April – O2 Academy, Bristol 
  • 8th April – O2 Institute, Birmingham 
  • 9th April – Albert Hall, Manchester 
  • 11th April – O2 Academy, Oxford 
  •  12th April – UEA, Norwich 
  •  15th April – O2 Academy Brixton, London SOLD OUT 

“A sonic assault of thunderous drums, deep bass and squalling guitar” – The Sunday Times
“A new direction in pop music” – The Telegraph 
 “Complex, multi-layered and impassioned.” – The Sun SFTW 
“Electro-folk sensation” – Q 
“A combination of incredible songwriting and multi-instrumental talents.” – Daily Star 
“Glacial electro beats and twinkling melodies. He’s created his own brave, new, rapidly expanding world.” – Evening Standard

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Short Film: The Bideford Pilot - Out in the estuary whatever the weather.

Yes, the weather's dreadful but spare a thought for those whose work continues rain or shine, day or night and whatever the swell out in the Torridge estuary.  

The Bideford Pilot is an insightful and dramatic new short film showing the work of the pilot, Roger Hoad, who guides ships safely into Bideford, Appledore or Yelland.  In the film, Roger says "People from Bideford often open their curtains to find a ship down at the quay. They go to work while the ship is being loaded and the next morning it has vanished again."

The Bideford Pilot is one of ten short films in the Boat Stories series and local historian Peter Christie, who presented the Bideford premiere screening of the series, commented "I was delighted to see the films which really explored one of those parts of the North Devon economy that we all talk about yet very few see at first hand. It was especially good to see the film on Roger Hoad, the Bideford harbour pilot, whose essential work often happens at very unsocial hours (tides wait for no man not even Roger) and is often very challenging."

Before she began research on the film, Boat Stories producer Jo Stewart-Smith thought that escorting incoming ships over the notorious Bideford Bar would be the most difficult part of the pilot's job.  Jo commented "I know now that transferring the pilot on and off the big ships, gaining the trust of a new captain quickly so the pilot can effectively control the ship, guiding the ships up and down the tidal river through the narrow constantly changing channels and turning a 6,000 tonnes ship against a flood tide - are all tough, challenging tasks."

The work has its rewards as well as its challenges and crew member Thom Flaxman says "I get to see some lovely sunrises and sunsets and appreciate the beauty of the river at all hours of the day and night. Some winter nights the deck of the Pilot Boat is just a sheet of ice. When you're hauling on a line it's worth hanging onto the boat as there's nothing to stop your boots from sliding straight over the side."

John Pavitt is coxwain of the pilot boat and it's his job to keep Roger safe, positioning the boat so they are not in danger of squashing him or breaking his legs.  He tells us "For all the technology that has come along nothing has changed from the pilot’s point of view. He is still hanging on to a rope ladder on the side of the ship under any conditions and it’s the crew of the pilot boat that have to get him safely off and on..."

During the recent storm 'Frank' the pilot crew were out working in winds up to 30 knots, escorting the Celtic Warrior out from Yelland Quay. The ship's master was concerned that transferring the pilot down the long ladder would be too dangerous due to the pitching and rolling but as Roger Hoad said in typically understated fashion "in the event all went well and the crew did a good job in quite testing conditions."

Watching the film has had a lasting impact on Instow resident Jim McCormack "I can see the estuary from my garden and when I'm outside at night I look out across the bar and spare a thought for the Bideford pilot - remembering that dramatic scene in the film where he takes his life in his hands as he jumps from the small pilot boat onto a rope ladder dangling from the giant cargo ship."
The Bideford Pilot

You can watch the Bideford Pilot along with the other nine Boat Stories short films at