Virtual MOK Fest blasts off following space broadcast

The Slainte Davaar Allstars musicians whose set, which was recorded at Machrihanish Airbase Community Company Business Park, was broadcast to the International Space Station last weekend.
The Slainte Davaar Allstars musicians whose set, which was recorded at Machrihanish Airbase Community Company Business Park, was broadcast to the International Space Station last weekend.

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This year’s unique Virtual Mull of Kintyre Music Festival (MOK Fest) officially blasted off this week following the successful broadcast of a specially recorded version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity to the International Space Station (ISS) last Saturday.

A second track, Jo Cocker’s version of With a little Help From My Friends, was also transmitted and NASA has confirmed that the astronauts have received the tracks.

The broadcast, which went out at 7pm, certainly captured world interest with 169 national and regional media outlets covering the story over the weekend on their social media pages and hard copy editions. The viewing figures for the video when the Courier went to print were already almost 10,000 which festivals organisers say exceeded all expectations.

This year’s virtual festival – held in place of the regular festival which had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic – is now well under way with the Virtual Beinn an Tuirc Gaelic Night and Virtual Young Folk Night already having been broadcast on the festival’s Facebook page.

The online event continues tonight, Friday, at 8pm with the Virtual Kilkerran Ceilidh Night and features specially recorded performances by Ceólta from Northern Ireland and local piper Ross Conner alongside some great sets from past events from Kintyre Schools Pipe Band, Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band and Grouse Ceilidh Band. Kay Johnson will be the host for the night.

The Virtual Glen Scotia West Coast Rocks Concert on Saturday has a specially recorded set from The Wee Toon Tellers at MACC Base, Rhuvaal at Davaar Island Lighthouse, Ross Conner, Ross Couper, and Tom Oakes and Claire Hastings who will play at next year’s Traditional Concert. There is also some great past footage from the Lorne MacDougall Band, Peatbog Faeries and Session A83. Alison M Leith will host this concert.

Sunday night is Virtual Survivors Night with more than 10 performances from Slainte Davaar Allstars, FLING, Twisted Melons, Iain McIntyre, None the Wiser, Adam Fortune, FLW, Charles Martin, Dave Fee and Hope Strang, all of which were specially recorded for the virtual festival. Alison M Leith will host this concert.

Each night will also have photo montages from the past 15 years of Friday, Saturday and Sundays at the MOK Fest and all sponsors have sent in video messages for the start of each night.

Event manager Iain Johnston of JIG Events said: ‘We have been amazed by the coverage that we have had from national media outlets and hopefully this will help put out a good positive message from Kintyre after what has been such a difficult time.

‘We have had some great feedback and support for the broadcast on Saturday from across the world and the recording by Rhuvaal at Davaar Island is another example of the unique one-off performances that you will see.

‘We can’t thank the musicians, helpers and local businesses enough for their support for what we believe will be a virtual event like no other.’

You can watch the concerts on the MOK Fest Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mokfest/