2020 will go down as an annus horribilis for the performing arts. Along with so much else, the MMitD 2020 festival at Bolton Castle had to be cancelled because of the continuing COVID-19 health crisis. We did this with enormous reluctance, but there was in the end no choice.
But two good things came out of it all. Firstly, the entire 2020 festival has been shifted to 2021. Of course, we can be sure of nothing, but we very much hope for a wonderful reunion of musicians and music-lovers at Bolton Castle on 17-19 September 2021.
Secondly, we had an Online Festival on the weekend the festival would have taken place. We undertook this with some trepidation - it was an enormous learning curve! but in the end, it was a monstrous success. Thanks to wonderfully generous donations we were able to provide some income to our musicians in a difficult year, the feedback was amazing, and we formed new friendships across the world. We are going to do a lot more of this kind of thing in the future, with an annual 'virtual' festival in March and more of the September festival made available online.
Here's some links, images and supporting material from -
The 2020 Online Festival
This is the Castle Tour. I prepared this video to give people an idea about our lovely venue, Bolton Castle, and what the 'live' festival was like.
On the Castle Stages
Who could forget Mondrum's unique storytelling to the Song of the Nuns of Chester? Beautifully played and charmingly hilarious! It was one of the hits of the festival.
Lizzie Gutteridge offered up a tour-de-force of looping, playing an infeasible number of instruments with enormous panache.
A typically lively and satisfying set
from Maranella! And a big shout-out to Elizabeth and Ged who were stalwart stewards for the Online Festival.
L'Herba Fresca unites Andrew Casson and Theodora Hidalgo from Gaita for gorgeous sounds - and a taste of Galician-Portugese storytelling!
Playing her harp, Amie Flory presented one of the tunes from the Robert ap Huw mansucript in a beautiful fifteenth-
The portative organ has to be one of the most charming and intriguing of medieval instruments, as demonstrated here by
The workshop tours were a highlight of the Online Festival - and perfectly suited to the event as they were something that simply could not happen at the 'live' festival. Ardival harp maker Graham Muir was around to take questions (along with Bill Taylor from Ardival) after the tour of his harp-making workshop (above left), while Eric and Jane Moulder led a superb live tour of the Moulder workshop (above right). Absolutely fascinating!
You can find all the concert performances (and much else) on the MMitD YouTube Channel.
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Here's a snippet of the concert to whet your appetite - Katharine Christie Evans singing Machaut's Je Vivroie Liement:
Two of the workshops featured at the Online Festival.
As several people commented, a virtue of being online was the close look it afforded at detail.
Here are links to supporting material for the workshops by Leah Stuttard on the sequence
and Richard de Winter on 'L'autrier jost' una sebissa'. We hope to get these online soon too!
What People Said...
The workshops, the live performances and the talks, and the instrumentarium - what a feast!
contrary to my expectations & zoomophobia, the festival community seemed to develop a close and real-time interaction - sense of worldwide connection
MMITD re-engaged my musical juices.
like having the festival in my house
The standard of performance was very high, the atmosphere was friendly and everyone showed great respect for one another's talents.
For an online event, it was as good as it could be.
Really enjoyed it. Stayed inside all weekend despite the sunshine, listening and marvelling...
... not sure I would have been able to attend at the Castle due to accessibility, so this online version was fantastic and I could not have been more satisfied that I came across it.
Best thing I’ve attended this year! Thank you.
Excellent, greatly enjoyable, educational and informative, and inspiring. My first MMitD (thanks to some enthusiastic recommendations), but not my last.
As usual a wonderful occasion! There's nothing else like it.