Scottish Power and Loch Fyne Oysters fund a 9 day Traditional Music tour

Item Posted: Thursday 17th June, 2004

All the funders, organisations, and musicians involved should be pleased and proud of the just completed music tour.

The impact of such events on rural communities and primary schools should not be underestimated.

We have, together, seeded an enthusiasm for live music which can have an impact for years to come.

We gave over 650 primary school children, over 600 of whom had never heard live music, the opportunity of hearing top quality traditional musicians. If this can be built on, we can both create the spark for a new generation of players and a potential audience for those players.

Of the adults attending events (over 600), 250 said they rarely listened to traditional music, but virtually all agreed they would listen to more in the future. This, in itself, should help develop a potential new audience for future concerts, especially, but not exclusively, in the Cowal area. (There were a number of tourists at events, both from the UK and overseas – approx 7% of feedback forms at public events were from “non locals”).

The reaction of audiences was outstanding (see feedback below). The overwhelming sense, especially from rural events, was a sense of joy and gratitude that such good quality music could be made available locally.

By playing a variety of music live in 6 primary schools, a senior citizens club, as well as 5 public concerts we spread the net as widely as was possible, and even gave 38 people their first opportunity of playing the fiddle.

We know that this tour has given a vast number of people pleasure. Who knows what potential talent might have been unearthed, and how many potential players might come forward over a time as a result of our efforts?

One thing I can be sure of is that the generous sponsorship from Scottish Power and Loch Fyne Oysters, the efforts of Live Music Now! and Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop, and the talented play and teaching skills of Anna-Wendy Stevenson and James Ross, are an extraordinarily powerful combination. I am confident that the effort and money invested has been worthwhile. The longer term, and even more exciting, possibilities depend on whether this can be built on.

Mark Morpurgo
Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop

MAY to JUNE 2004

Thank you very much. We agree strongly with the traditional music.
Marie Theresa Tournelle, France

Ye Hah! Brilliant. More creative expression can only be a good thing.
Bruce Petie, Strachur

Hearing traditional music live has opened my mind to listening to it more often. I found being in the highlands really relaxing and after listening to the concert I felt the music and the scenery blend in as one. A wonderful experience.
Martyn Langlands Lochgoilhead

Inspirational. It was a delight to watch the enthralled faces of the young children, especially the toddler dancing in time to the fiddle music.
It is important to keep alive traditional music, by offering tuition in local areas. Truly a family event. Thanks. One for the memory bank of all the young people who were here.
E Carey, Dunoon

I am here on holiday and have had a wonderful day and evening. This has been made more pleasurable because of the wonderful music provided. Even though I am here by myself, the setting and company have made this a very friendly and welcoming experience. I would attend many more events if they were held.

Fantastic concert in Ardrishaig. Privileged to have enjoyed the music of these two excellent musicians.
Jennifer White, Glasgow

It has been a joy to share in the enthusiasm of the musicians. Carry on – spread the pleasure. I’d love to hear you again.
Miss Tomas, Dunoon

Enjoyed every moment of their music. Set our South African feet a tapping and our hearts on fire! Keep up this great tradition.
Euan and Fernanda, Cape Town, R.S.A

Excellent music, Anna-Wendy and James are world class.
David Ewing, Glasgow

Without your efforts, and the efforts of others like you, traditional Scottish music will die.

Thoroughly enjoyed the fair, concert and ceilidh events. Should be more throughout Argyll.
Sheena Anderson, Lochawe

Very enjoyable concert. Both players extremely talented. Hope to see you next year. Anna Masson, London

What a splendid evening’s entertainment. A very varied programme, superbly played. Super fiddle and accompaniment (which is so often percussive ad nauseum), very sympathetic and sensitive. Excellent chord progressions. Well done! Please let me know when a cd of this duo is available. Thank you.
Mrs N Davidson, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

It is a delight to hear traditional music played to such a high standard. The skill and coordination of this pair is quite exceptional.
Elaine Rowland, Glasgow

I was really impressed and delighted to have the opportunity to enjoy such high class entertainment while on holiday and in such a rural location. Brilliant! Many thanks.
Bryn Bein, Tourist.

Wonderful concert. Very varied.
Robin Mardoan, Colintraive

Great to listen to such talented young people-and in our own village hall.
Elizabeth Fairbairn, Glendaruel

Brilliant! A privilege to hear such high quality fiddling and piano playing.
Liam Matthews, Wales

A “Reel” highlight of our holiday in Argyll
Anon Tourist

Brilliant performance . Excellent duo. Fantastic fiddling. Most interesting accompaniment
Jim Bennett, Colintraive

This was just exquisite.
Anne Wylie, Glendaruel

James Ross combines feeling for traditional music with modern innovation.
D. Campbell, Strachur


Absolutely fantastic. Really great fun and has given me a real taste for playing the fiddle – I was very sorry when the session came to an end. Thank you.
Jeffrey Thomas. Germany

Really good fun. Wish I lived here, so I could learn how to play straight away at the next workshop.
Stephanie Webber, Germany

Excellent fun. I am encouraged to pursue it.
Graham Thomas, Cairdow

An A1 event.
Tom Claxton, Helensborough

Very enjoyable ‘taster’ for my children.
J. Joy, Bishopton


Anna-Wendy Stevenson and James Ross are both individually talented, but as a combination they have the potential to become a top class duo.

For anyone- whether funder or promoter (voluntary or otherwise)- needing a variety of skills in musicians, they are ideal. Probably they have their greatest emotional impact in a concert environment, where their slow airs could fairly be claimed to be unsurpassed. However they have the teaching skills to enthuse children, the subtlety to appeal to the elderly, and the flexibility to break into rip-roaring ceilidh dancing when called upon to do so.

They were both highly professional in their approach to this tour. Not having played regularly together before, they put in an extraordinary amount of rehearsal time to ensure that the concerts were not just a string of well played tunes, but that there was a cohesive programme of sets.

Importantly from an organiser’s point of view they were also an enormous pleasure to have around, and were warm and easy both with each other and with ourselves – a skill and characteristic which is not to be under-estimated, particularly over a 9 day period!


Participants at the public concerts were asked to complete feedback forms which essentially asked them to agree strongly, agree, disagree, or disagree very strongly with certain statements.


They were also asked how they found out about the event.

School 3 %
Leaflet through door 6 %
Newspaper article 36 %
Newspaper advertisement 1 %
Direct from organisers 23 %
Posters in shops/hotels on street etc 19 %
Friends 6 %
Internet 6 %

Our comments:

Newspaper advertising does not work for this type of event, and only has any validity if it is linked with an advertorial article, but often articles can be placed in local papers without the cost of adverts. The saving on advertising budget is, as long as the organisation is there on the ground, better spent on leaflet drops and organising display materials locally.

The above figures are in line with feedback from our previous events, although within our village, audiences will now respond most to a door to door leaflet drop.


One major objective of the tour, from LFW’s perspective, was to reach out to as many people as possible who were not the usual traditional music audience, or particular aficionados of traditional music.

Asked “ Before today I did not listen to much traditional music”

41% of the audience agreed or agreed strongly.
This means that over the tour approximately 250 adults were getting a comparatively new experience.

When asked whether they would listen to more traditional music in the future 84% agreed. Those who disagreed were those who already listened to a great deal, with a number commenting that they would not be able to listen to more than they did!

Our comment:

While we believe that all live music is important and valuable, clearly the Workshop’s raison d’etre is to promote, and encourage, the playing and experience of traditional music. It is not always easy to access new audiences at public events, as they tend to be self selecting depending on their musical interests, so the above figures are enormously encouraging, particularly when combined with the feedback from schools (see below for more details), where over 85% of the children had never been to a live concert, and only a handful had ever been to a traditional music concert.


“Local authorities/schools should provide more musical tuition”

79 % agreed strongly
21 % agreed

“There should be more music tuition available locally to adults”

62 % agreed strongly
36 % agreed
2 % disagreed

“There should be more traditional music concerts in Argyll”

71 % agreed strongly
26 % agreed
3 % disagreed


“Sponsorship increases my awareness and approval of the companies involved”

54 % agreed strongly
42 % agreed
4 % disagreed


“I, or a member of my family, might want to learn to play the fiddle”

35 people responded positively to this, with a further 4 specifically mentioning other instruments.

Our comment:

The Workshop will be writing to all these respondents about the Workshop’s classes. All those who are out of our catchment area will be given contact details of their nearest workshop.


Schoolchildren were not asked for formal feedback, but certain questions were asked at each event to get some idea of their exposure to live music, and to traditional music. There was quite a wide variation in responses school to school, but a show of hands gave the approximate following figures:

How many of you have been to a live music concert? : Under 15%
How many of you have been to a traditional music concert? : Under 5%
How many of you play a musical instrument? : About 10%

After the concert they were asked whether they would like to go to another traditional music concert. Even taking into account children’s natural ebullience, the almost unanimously positive response to this clearly shows the demand for these types of events.

When asked who would like to learn the fiddle, about 25 % responded positively, with a further 10% saying they would like to learn the piano.

Our comment:

Clearly responses of this sort are neither truly statistically valid, nor a true reflection of what the results would be if more local tuition were available, but certainly they should encourage everyone involved to try to put in place an integrated programme. When children get fired up by an event such as this there can be some follow-through in terms of making local tuition available, or disseminating information about what is already available. Whilst it was not a stated aim of the tour to create more traditional music players, the connection between being fired with enthusiasm by listening to top quality musicians, and starting to play music is apocryphally well established.


Primary School events

Adults Children Total
Dunoon 14 180 194
Tighnabruaich 6 40 46
Lochgilphead 14 160 174
Ardrishaig 10 110 120
Kilchrenan 3 21 24
Kilmodan 3 20 23

Concert for senior citizens

Kirn 95 - 95

Public concerts

Kirn 15 - 15
Ardrishaig 52 8 60
LFFF-Sat 170 20 190
LFFF-Sun 195 35 230
Glendaruel 16 42 58

Come and Try Sessions
LFFF 18 20 38

TOTALS: 611 656 1267

Our comments:

We were pleased with the attendances at all the events other than the Kirn public concert.
Our learning point from this is that, even with the high level of press publicity, and information passed out by schools, there is no guarantee of attendances except for the biggest names.
We will concentrate our future efforts on linking with other established music/arts groups who respond positively to working together (such as Mid Argyll Arts Assoc/Dalriada Fiddle and Accordion Club and Cairndow Arts ), or where we know an individual/community who will push the events, rather than trying to go in “cold” into an area without a partnership arrangement.

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