Politics significantly affect the music scene in Inverness, whether it is at local level as shown with the recent issues regarding the Curfew in Inverness or nationally for example how funding reductions have affected funding for music and culture related projects.
So we came up with an idea, what would happen if invernessGiGs collected and then asked the local candidates (as indicated here) some pertinent questions?
After a struggle to find contact details we sent the same mail and to our surprise (based on cynicism which we apologise for) we got two replies (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Scottish Liberal Democrats,UK Independence Party and Scottish Christian Party all did not reply).
Thank you very much to Fergus Stewart Ewing (FE) of the Scottish National Party and David John Stewart (DS) of the Scottish Labour Party, for taking the time to reply.
The questions are in black and the response are as indicated above:
What was the last GiG that you attended and how important is music in your life?
DS – The last gig I attended was Runrig at Inverness Ice Rink.
FE – Music is very important in my life; I play the piano fairly regularly – and am a frustrated jazz pianist!
The recent continuation of the curfew, on clubs and pubs, in Inverness, what is your perspective on this and how do you think this affects people’s perception of the city of Inverness?
DS – I feel that the curfew is well intentioned but perhaps there is scope for it to be looked at again. Inverness to continue to be successful must always be looking at how best to market itself and if people’s perceptions of it are negative due to the curfew then we should look at it again.
FE – The regulation with regard to clubs and pubs in Scotland will be the subject of further scrutiny in Parliament I am sure: on the one hand Scotland has a problem with abusive alcohol – and we have with minimum pricing sought to tackle it. On the other hand, regulation must not prevent Inverness drawing in visitors to the area to enjoy live music in particular – and visitors do very much enjoy Scottish music – traditional and modern. On the other hand the problems of the anti-social behaviour and disorder – late night, early morning are serious ones for the police. A balance needs to be struck and the local voice heard through the Highland Council is important.
How important a role do the creative industries have on the area and how will this be supported by you and your party?
DS – Scottish Labour wants to use the creative industries to encourage inward investment into Scotland as we see much potential for future growth coming from this sector. Dealing with music, Scottish Labour will establish a Music Investment Fund, modelled in discussion with the music industry, Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to support the growth of small and medium sized businesses in the music sector. Scottish music is recognised world – wide for contemporary, classical and traditional music and our policy will address how to support excellence in music. I would like to see more of our talented local musicians making a name for themselves at a national level. However, this will not be easy as competition is tough and breaks can be difficult to achieve.
FE – Creative industries will form an increasingly important part of the economy – none more so for the Highlands. Music is a great part of my life and I personally would like to see every young person have access to try out musical instruments and develop their creative talents generally. We should always ask questions as to how we can improve supporting musical culture. Recent intervention by Michael Russell in relation to Plockton was I hope welcome and brought about the right result!
Why do the Highlands not compete with Ireland better as far as supporting musical culture to stimulate tourism?
FS – There is no doubt that much more has to be done in tourism promoting cultural and encouraging enterprise in these areas. We should work with all parties across the board to secure these objectives.
Finally what are your hopes for the music and culture scene in Inverness?
DS – Whatever the future holds I hope that music scene in Inverness will maintain its breadth and depth and that people continue to enjoy what is on offer.
Thanks once again to those that contributed (questions, and if you have any comments please use the comment box below.