Phew…

Well it’s been a while. Every year I forget how much work the Scots Trad Music Awards (http://www.handsupfortrad.co.uk/tradmusicawards) is and how much concentration it all takes. Most things take second place. It was a success though. The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow was a great venue with lots of staff who made the event run very smoothly. In the last two years for example we’ve had to have a team of volunteers to set the 50 tables, open the wine and decorate them. This year one of the Fruitmarket staff did the bulk of this and we only had to apply the finishing touches. Also as usual the time during the day of the Awards flew by. We were in there at 10am and I still struggled to get my silver suit on with time to spare!

There was a lot to be happy with this year. Getting TV coverage was amazing and the final programme broadcast on Monday 8th December was brilliant. We managed to achieve our aims in putting on a glittering show that celebrated Scottish music and culture. I enjoyed the preparation for the event working alongside Beesnees TV company as it made me be very exact with all the details.

I had decided this year to get two Gaelic speaking comperes so they could bounce off each other and I thought this worked really well. Our regular host Mary Ann Kennedy worked really well with Tony Kearney (Rivercity BBC soap star) and they bubbled along throughout the ceremony. I also asked Scots writer Matthew Fitt to introduce the Scots Singer of the Year Award in Scots and he carried it off with aplomb! He was very funny while getting his message of parity across. Linda Fabiani MSP opened the event well in her usual very positive manner and she made the announcement that she is setting up a group to look at the Traditional Arts – chaired by David Francis – that will report directly to her. This is an exciting development and let’s hope it has teeth.

The bands all performed great. It was brilliant to have Capercaillie start the show – these guys have shaped the current music scene more than any other band in my opinion. Everyone played great though – Karine Polwart Band, Breabach, St Rochs Ceili Band, Session A9, Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Lau, Kenna Campbell and friends, Jimmy Shand Tribute and The Cast. Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis (The Cast) performed a brilliant finale and possibly had the quietest audience of the night. Their version of the ‘Sex and the City’ Auld Lang Syne went down a treat and everyone sang along.

The one thing that was missing from the Ceremony was the general public. We chose the Old Fruitmarket for two reasons 1. It is a great venue for a TV programme and 2. I thought it was a much bigger venue than it turned out be. Point 2 unfortunately proved to be wrong. The public are the ones that buy the CDs, go to the gigs and it was very disappointing to me that there was no room for anymore that 400 people (last 2 years have had 1000 folks). The only way I could do something about this was to organise a Satellite party in Lauries Bar. It was not the same thing as coming along but I did my best to put on lots of acts, pipers etc and our compere for the night Darren MacLean I hear did a brilliant job of keeping the night moving. I believe the event was a success. Next year capacity is not going to be a problem with DG One in Dumfries being a massive venue more in the vein of the Nevis Centre.

I enjoyed our festival club at the Fruitmarket. Paddy Callahan performed a great Trad Music Disco and everyone was up dancing. When Session A9 came on they were brilliant. There whole vibe instantly lifted the room and the dance floor was full. Many people were dancing on the stage (including a Scotsman journalist!). What a great band.

A disappointing aspect of the weekend was the celidh attendance. There wasn’t enough people there although they were all dancing to the brilliant Occasionals. I got to think about this for next year. On the night we were up against The Skye Ball and a sold out Runrig concert which might have made a audience difference but maybe folks are not wanting to go out and dance on the Friday night? Maybe we need to do something more glitzy (and expensive…)

All in all though another milestone for us. Onwards and Upwards

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