We have been working together with local musician Grant Dinwoodie to perform Garden Gigs & Doorstop Songs in every corner of Dumfries & Galloway, shedding light on the plight of musicians all across the UK.
The music industry in the region and throughout the UK has been left hanging in the balance due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions have been introduced that have prohibited almost every pathway to performance, leaving musicians across the country struggling and audiences desperate for their next gig fix.
We put out a call for commissions back in July last year to support artists during the pandemic, allowing them to create pieces of work that responded to the theme of love as part of our Arts Live year-round performing arts programme that supports artists, venues and promoters.
We were inundated with proposals and Grant’s proposal stood out above all as a proposal that really spoke to the times, acknowledging the tragic loss of music industry events throughout the UK, spreading the love and giving back to Dumfries & Galloway’s communities.
Grant had proposed that as part of filming for the music video for his new single, to tour every corner of the region, filming in gardens and doorsteps. Supported by us, we were working in partnership to honour the missing live gig experience and bring it back to people in their very own garden or doorstep showing that no matter the situation, music and love will prevail.
Both Grant and the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival have taken into consideration the government guidelines that are currently stopping live gigs taking place and created a plan to ensure these events can still take place in a safe and socially distanced way. We have fought to keep this project alive ensuring that we work stringently within the restrictions in place at the time of the performance.
Many musicians saw no end in sight as the ban on performing indoors had not been lifted. It was hoped that this small act of kindness highlighting the plight of musicians and showing that no matter how bad the situation may feel, music will bring some hope to those in need and that there is still a fight left in the industry.
Representatives of the industry had called for better support for musicians and a route map for live performances to be brought back, with some claiming artists may not return to the industry in favour of what is said to be more stable employment and with the government campaigns aired during that time, actively encouraged moving to other industries.
After a call out to the people of the region, it was clear audiences were also missing the live music experience as we received over 160 applications from across Dumfries & Galloway to host a garden gig. All the names were then put into a hat and then randomly chosen with 5 gigs happening in total over October. Grant had planned to do several doorstop songs along the way to each of his gigs and even ended up doing many more doorstep songs than he had originally planned as he saw how much joy they brought to those in the region.
Grant Dinwoodie stated:
“I’m delighted to have been awarded a commission by Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival to be part of their Arts Live programme. My aim was to raise awareness and to highlight the plight of the industry. We can’t currently perform in our usual way or make money like we usually would, economically many of us are struggling and it is hitting musicians hard.
I want to highlight that this was the only way I could perform, and I hope that it spreads some joy to those who have dealt with so much during this time.”
Check out the Q&A Session that Grant did with the team after to inspire the next generation of young people entering the creative industries in D&G.