Report on traditional music and economy in Argyll and Bute

person playing bagpipes
Norette Ferns

A new report on traditional music and the economy in Argyll and Bute will be discussed at an event at Dunoon Burgh Hall on 17 January 2019.

The Traditional Music and the Rural Creative Economy in Argyll and Bute, Mapping Report 2018 report was written by Dr Simon McKerrell and Dr Jasmine Hornabrook, from Newcastle University’s International Centre for Music Studies (ICMuS).

The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at establishing the traditional music scene in the region as a bigger attraction. One suggestion is a visitor tax for overnight visitors to Argyll which could be used to provide incentives for hoteliers and tour operators to improve what they offer in the region, and to support micro enterprises in the creative industries.

Other recommendations include:

  • Develop traditional music tours and trails
  • A formalised regional festival network
  • Building partnerships between musicians, communities and local businesses
  • Creating a digital directory of musicians
  • Council-led infrastructure and amenities for festivals
  • Enterprise support for musicians – such as training in accounting and digital skills
  • Long-term planning and investment

Dr McKerrell, a senior lecturer in music at Newcastle University said:

"Argyll and Bute has this wonderful musical heritage which goes back centuries and there is a lot of potential to grow its music scene.

"This wouldn’t just attract tourists to this beautiful part of the world, it would also bring in new people to live and work in the area, which is also important as the population in the area is declining.

"The things which make Argyll and Bute a key visitor attraction are also the things which make it a challenging area for small enterprises set up. For example, travel can be difficult as much of Argyll is separated by water and there are many island communities.

"Our recommendations would mean that some of the challenges the area faces could be addressed quite easily through collectivizing resources and reducing overheads for festival insurance, ticketing, policing, fencing, facilities, and so on, which in most cases would be cost neutral for the council, and with the potential to really boost the economy."

The findings of Traditional Music and the Rural Creative Economy in Argyll and Bute, Mapping Report 2018 will be discussed at Dunoon Burgh Hall at 2.30pm on Thursday 17 January, as part of an event organised by Help Musicians and CHArts Argyll and the Isles.

Visit the Newcastle University website for more information and to download the report.