By Regan Kelly.
Covid restrictions are to be lowered in some areas this Friday, according to the Scottish government. This brings with it some optimism for those in the hospitality industry, especially since it is close to Christmas. Usually, those involved are “never short of work” this time of year.
For pubs though, the tough times keep on rolling. This has been a hard year already for them and is going to be especially hard this Christmas. With pubs like “Kitty O’Sheas”, routinely taking in around one thousand people a day during the Christmas period.
Even some Pub Chains are not exempt from this struggle, “Marston’s” declared this morning that; their Pre-tax loss so far has been in the region of 390 million pounds.
Regularly performing Musicians have also been left hung out to dry at the moment, with most of them relying on Pubs for their income, especially this time of year, which would be their busiest.
In Speaking with Glasgow based Trad Musician, Lewis Wiles. He argued that being a regularly gigging musician at this time of year beats all professions. “ We get to work doing what we love and get paid for it, never short of work at Christmas. Although this year has been very difficult for Lewis and his band “Kilderkin”. Having things cancelled non stop since the pandemic began.
“Our last gig was on Paddy’s day and we had some immediate gigs cancelled just after that, before we went into lockdown”. After this point, since all pubs started to shut their doors, live music has been non-existent for most musicians. With lewis starting to take a bleak outlook on things, “ the last few months, I’ve just accepted that work just won’t be coming up for a while”.
Although there is hope, some areas in level one including Moray and the Highlands have been allowed to have live gigs again, albeit at socially distance and Covid compliant manner. Some of these venues can even hold up to 250 people if of course, they have the ability to provide two-metre social distancing.
Lewis even hopes to try and land some of these gigs over the Christmas period. “It does fill you with a bit of hope to see live music rearing its head again, as it’s so important in terms of income, especially when you compare it with the online streaming we’ve had to do.”
Some venues have gone ahead with these live gigs, one of which is the “An Lantairr” Arts Centre in Stornaway. Who has so far hosted artists like Colin Macleod and is currently hosting a Cafe Bar exhibition until the end of January. According to their Website, they have all fo the necessary restrictions in place to make sure these first shows go successfully. if they do, there is a hope that these live gigs may return on a bigger scale soon.
It is entirely possible that if restrictions continue to ease that live music may be allowed to return again across most of Scotland, Even though it is only currently allowed in Areas under Level one, it is still a huge boost for musicians like Lewis to see that the possibility of live gigs returning is on the horizon.