Whitby Musicport festival 2021 will be last for Jim and Sue McLaughlin

Jim & Sue McLaughlin, who have been at the helm of Whitby Musicport festival since its inception in 2000, have decided it is time to step down.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 1:32 pm

This year's festival, which runs from October 22 to 24 at Whitby Pavilion, could possibly be the last.

Festival director Jim said: “The last 21 years have been a life-changing experience for us and we have met and worked with so many wonderful people and experienced hundreds of amazing artists.

"We always hoped to hand over the reins but realise in these difficult times and because Musicport has never been a money-making venture that this was not very likely.

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Sue and Jim McLaughlin.

"One factor contributing to our decision is the increased cost of accommodation in Whitby which has dramatically affected costs for us accommodating artists and for our audience who generally stay in guest accommodation.

"When we started out one of the reasons for doing the festival at the time of year we did was to help extend the tourist season.

"It is obvious that is no longer needed!

“We are proud of the achievements we have made introducing young people locally to music from diverse cultures, bringing top class international artists to the Yorkshire coast and creating an event that so many said was the highlight of their year, but we feel that the time is right for us to concentrate our time on running smaller local events and our music shop.

“Increasing understanding and tolerance was also part of our motivation from the start and it is extremely disappointing that Scarborough Borough Council is allowing the venue, Whitby Pavilion, to be used by Roy Chubby Brown, whose racist and homophobic language has been banned by other councils around the country.”

Sue added: “Wanting to go out on a high, and having recently secured Arts Council funding for this year, we think the line-up is as strong as ever and fairly reflects the range of artists we have worked with over the years.

"Weekend and day and tickets are still available so if people are wondering whether to come, we advise them not to miss this last chance."

Session tickets will be available on the door.

"We have strong Covid 19 measures in place to try to ensure people’s safety at the event, so we hope we can all have a good time and remember it as an event that successfully put Whitby on the international music map," added Sue.

“We will miss working with the Pavilion and its manager, and our wonderful team of staff and volunteers, many of whom have been there since the start.

"We have events at The Coliseum in November and December and next spring and hope to do more outdoor events like In The Grove (which happened in Mulgrave Woods earlier this year) so we are not giving up on bringing high quality events to the area.”