THE vibrant Irish pub scene in Scotland may be suffering for the lockdown enforced in Scotland, but in Glasgow it has seen a new focus come on to the importance of Irish music to the city and its surrounding areas.
With scores of virtual concerts being hosted online nearly every night of the week, the lively pub atmosphere normally enjoyed by settling in with a few pints and enjoying one of the many bands and singers who play around Glasgow has instead been transported to the living rooms of the Glasgow Irish—and indeed fans of Irish music worldwide.
At the centre of this online surge in appreciation for the Irish music scene is the Glasgow Irish Music and Gigs Facebook page (above), which once started as a simple way of sharing news and performance details from the scene but has been transformed during lockdown into a hub for virtual concerts.
Having started the page simply to share details of gigs, it soon saw the organisers filming and sharing performances from pubs and other venues before work commitments saw their passion for the project curtailed.
Now, with weekend nights in the pub a mere memory for so many, their online gigs have been a welcome distraction and a way of staying in touch with the scene despite social restrictions.
“For a year or so due to work commitments we couldn’t do as much with the page as we wanted but then the lockdown happened and it was looking like a disaster for pubs and musicians,” organisers Murray Leith and Jo Laing, said. “We sat down and thought about page and when the first band decided to do a live online gig we decided to stream it on our page for them.
“So fast forward to May 2020 what are we doing now… Since lockdown we’ve streamed hundreds of gigs and had many bands ask to do page takeovers—going live via our page. Some are based in Glasgow, but it’s also a great tribute to be asked to host some of Ireland’s greatest musicians.
“We have gained thousands of new followers, and it has given a whole new insight to just how big the Irish music scene actually is around the world, with bands and pubs getting in touch from America, Canada and Australia wanting us to stream their Irish musicians.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has allowed the band page to take off in this strange time, with entertainment venues and bars being closed the live social media scene is allowing the wonderful talent to be showcased worldwide. We have started a sister page, American Irish Bands and Gigs, and Kieran Byrne, an Irish musician living in Chicago, is helping us build this new page to aid the promotion of Irish music in America.
“This will be a huge but amazing task to cover the Irish American scene, but it’s a challenge we look forward to as well as promoting the scene in Scotland. We are so grateful for all the bands, bars and people who follow and support our page.”
Check in with Glasgow Irish Bands and Gigs Facebook page—www.facebook.com/GlasgowIrishBandsAndGigs—regularly for gig listings, guides, features, exclusive streams, playlists, news and more