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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 00:21 GMT
Festival to lose John Lennon name
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and their children Julian and Kyoko in Durness in 1969
John Lennon in Durness with Yoko Ono, Julian and Kyoko
An award-winning festival in the north of Scotland will carry on but without using the name of Beatle John Lennon, its director has said.

The Northern Lights Festival celebrated the singer song-writer's links with the remote Highlands village of Durness.

It was voted best new event at the UK Festival Awards.

Director and founder Mike Merritt said Lennon's wife Yoko Ono kindly permitted the use of the music legend's name but for this year only.

The Beatle regularly visited Durness on childhood summer holidays before returning as an adult in 1969.

Mr Merritt said being allowed to use Lennon's name this year had helped to establish the new festival.

He said: "I'm in discussions with various people about next year, but it couldn't use the John Lennon name because it was licensed for 2007.

Festival-goers

"We are very grateful to Yoko for letting us do that."

The festival drew 1,100 people to a village with a population of just 356 people over three days.

Mr Merritt said festival awards judges told him Northern Lights had won by a mile and they had been impressed by the reaction from festival-goers who had e-mailed the competition.

The win has been estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands in terms of promotion for next year.

Mr Merritt praised Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and North Highland Tourism for their "vision and courage" in supporting the event.

Other UK award winners were the V Festival and T in the Park.

SEE ALSO
Tribute to John Lennon wins award
07 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Highland tribute to Lennon opens
28 Sep 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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