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DMC returns for 2019!

Dumfries Music Conference (DMC) is set to return to the town on 17-19 October, with their SEVENTH annual conference featuring an exciting mix of film, discussion, live music, art and workshops.

This year, DMC presents its most ambitious programme to date, featuring national and internationally renowned musicians, innovative live events and radical venue takeovers across four venues. It includes Scottish Album of the Year Award winner, Kathryn Joseph, who plays The Brigend Theatre on Friday 18 October.

This year’s conference programme has shaped up to be one of the most rounded and possibly most engaging to date. Most of the sessions and events are free to attend, so everyone is encouraged to take advantage and get involved. Everyone is welcome!

On Thursday 17 October, DMC hosts screening of ‘Beats’ at the Robert Burns Centre, a Scottish coming-of-age drama set during the summer of 1994 as two friends encounter illegal parties and rave culture for the first time. Shot entirely in black and white, the film is directed by Black Mirror director Brian Welsh and features a killer soundtrack from Keith McIvor (JD Twitch of Optimo).The evening then moves to The Stove Network where a collective of Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria based MCs and DJs will battle between the borders in ‘South/West/Sound/Clash’. Expect bar spitting, beat thumping, lyrical assaults.

DMC Sessions will fill the Stove Café on the afternoons of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 with live music from an array of regional musical acts. Also on Friday, Glasgow-based music publishers, 23rd Precinct, host a Songwriting Masterclass with professional songwriters and musicians Scarlett Randle, Lee McGilvray (Flew the Arrow) and Mark McGowan in The Stove’s Room 2.

Friday evening will see one of Scotland’s most talked about and celebrated musical artists, Kathryn Joseph, arrive for her first headline show in Dumfries & Galloway with a special performance at the unique and intimate Brigend Theatre, with support from Zoë Bestel.Saturday 19th includes an exciting Musicians Market come to The Oven on Dumfries High Street, with a record fair, local DJs and info stalls from some of Scottish music industry’s key organisations.

DMC also hosts a jam-packed schedule of panels and workshops on Saturday with a wide range of experts working in the music industry across Scotland, including Help Musicians, the Scottish Music Industry Association, Scottish Women Inventing Music and insight and information on marketing and promotion, Scottish Festivals, the SAY Award and self-care in the world of the music industry.

Saturday evening will culminate in the DMC 2019 Showcase gig in association with The Plaza – a new roving music venue concept, which encourages people to take over unusual spaces and fill them with music, art and performance. This year DMC is delighted to feature The Lutras, Quiche, Megan Airlie and Prussia Snailham, performing live at Soul Soup on Irish Street.

For more details, event times and tickets, visit the DMC Facebook page for more details:

Musings News

DMC presents: The Plaza

In a recent survey undertaken by Dumfries Music Conference, ‘music venue provision’ was highlighted as the number one priority for the development and fruition of local bands and solo artists.

Music venues provide the bedrock for musicians to build their audience, hone their sound and cement their unique appeal as a live act. With the increase of streaming platforms and free releases, the live experience, more so than ever, is tantamount to the success of musicians and artists. DMC has always tried to nurture the local sound across a broad spectrum through live gigs at 100 High Street, establishing the Stove as a bold, intimate and thoughtful space to hear the freshest music from local and national acts. Now, moving into the seventh year of the annual conference we want to celebrate the spaces out-with our headquarters and challenge the established notions of where music ought to live. In short, we’re re-imagining the music venue.Inspired by organisations and festivals such as the Hidden Door, Empty Shop Durham, the Moth Club and various other initiatives throughout the country, the Plaza is attempting to redefine the nature of music venues, employing a ‘takeover’ model using the unusual, the empty, the abandoned and the wild, we will expose the places where music could, and should, live. Bringing to the surface some of the key questions around music venue provision in Dumfries & Galloway.

With the deeply unfortunate news of the relocation of the region’s largest music festival we equally want to encourage a greater understanding of the contribution live music makes to the local economy as well as start the conversation with our scene on how a ‘DIY’ ethos may lead to the creative community becoming more than it ever could have imagined. We want to challenge not only our audiences and ourselves but equally ask the right questions of our local authority as well as other ‘decision-makers’, how do we build, together, the infrastructure necessary for this particular (and most lucrative) of creative industries to flourish?

The Plaza affords us the opportunity to encourage, support and, together with our young audiences, develop careers aside from music-making in photography, film, event management, programming and installation – whilst also inviting artists and the music community to help us build a new kind of space, every 2 months.The Plaza, which takes its name from a former dancehall and concert venue on Dumfries High Street, launched in April 2019 at the Rowing Boat Club, a finale showcase, wrapping-up the Female Takeover – a month-long series of events celebrating the contribution of women in music with a programme of industry panels, film, live gigs and exhibitions. Inspired by the stories, photographs and memorabilia of the Plaza, we are re-imagining and re-awakening the experiences of this cherished music venue.

The D&G music scene is a remarkable and a unique thing. It’s down to the festivals, event-makers, marketers, pubs, nightclubs, bands and artists that it has become such a force. We want to celebrate the established, create room for a new sound, support our scene and build new careers, helping to develop the talents and skills of young people in the region through doing what we do best – making it for ourselves and reclaiming the right of access to culture and live music.

Are you interested in the Plaza? Have/know of a space you think would be useful the let us know by contacting [email protected].


DMC Does Merry Christmas at The Stove

Dumfries Music Conference celebrated the festive season with one final gig of the year at The Stove last month. After a busy and productive year of live music, workshops, film, art and music industry discussions, they are delighted to have been able to round off the year with a special festive evening featuring four inspiring local acts, with support from Dumfries’ newest DJ entrepreneurs Double Down Disco.

The evening of live music featured Sapling and the launch of her EP ‘Present + Unearthed’. Sapling is an alt-pop/indie-pop artist and producer from Mouswald in Dumfries & Galloway, now based in Brighton. Having been influenced by indie, electronic and 60s/70s protest music while growing up, she now turns to her own expression of emotion and protest mixed with inspirations of dance, pop and soul.

She wrote her first song at the age of 8, performing in a band with her brother, who later hit the stages of The Wickerman Festival, The Brickyard in Carlisle and various venues in their hometown of Dumfries. Now living in Brighton, she writes, produces and records from her living room in her own home, self-taught through YouTube videos and learning by ear.

Sapling was joined by Major League Chemicals – a brand new five-piece from Ayrshire who are ready to cause a stir in the music scene. Over the last six months they have been working hard on their new project and were ready to debut their new material at the Christmas gig last month. For 2019, they’ve already got more shows lined up including a showcase in Aberdeen and a festival in Linlithgow. The band offers a unique and refreshing sound reminiscent of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds spliced with the golden rhythm of a Foals track. With the majority of the band members hailing from Ayr, we’re hoping this brings a new sound to the region, building some soulful bridges between these towns.

Young local musician, Kate Kyle, also took to the stage. The mesmeric singer/songwriter wowed the audience with her unique sound and voice. 2018 was a great year for Kate having played in Glasgow at Resonate Music Conference in November and taking home the Culture Award at The Young People’s Awards 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2019 holds for Kate!

Opening the show was 20-year-old singer/songwriter Jenni Martin hailing from Dumfries. Jenni, who has been writing since a young age, delivered a face-melting performance with a sound straight from the crypt of Jim Morrison, by way of the lowland sands of Dumfries. We’re expecting big things from Jenni this year. Keep your eyes and ears open…


Meet Ruari – Music Stage Manager at this year’s Nithraid!

Earlier this month, we selected a young local musician to undertake music stage management at this year’s Nithraid River Festival on Saturday 11th August. Ruari Barber-Fleming from Castle Douglas has been selected to run the small acoustic stage that is held as part of the festival to showcase up and coming talent from around the region. The previous years have included regulars from the Stove’s monthly open mic nights, Brave New Words, as well as other musicians who are based within Dumfries & Galloway.

Ruari has been involved in the Dumfries music scene for several years now, having previously played in local band ‘Gracefell’ as well as photographing live music and working with various artists around the region. He is hoping that through this opportunity he will be able to deliver something unique for the visitors to Nithraid and believes that the stage is a great platform to showcase some local talent.

Ruari feels very positively about the music scene in Dumfries and feels it has been thriving the past few years with a gig frequency that is extremely impressive for the size of the region that it is. He is very passionate about originality and sincerity when it comes to live performance of music, and from this he hopes to be able to deliver just that – performances that the audience can latch on to and connect with the artist.

The commission will provide Ruari the opportunity to work with members of the Nithraid team to gain experience of all aspects of running a music stage at a festival including programming, design/build, marketing, sound engineering and equipment hire. There will be extra opportunities to integrate and learn through this commission with support from Euan Macrory, who undertook a similar internship in 2016 and now programs events both as part of the blueprint100 Curatorial Team and other festivals such as Moniaive Folk Festival.

The Nithraid music stage will be part of the ‘Nithraid Village’ situated on the Mill Green on Saturday 11th August and will run from 12pm until 4pm. Visitors to Nithraid are also invited to join in with other activities happening in the town and around the River Nith. The Salty Coo procession will kick off the day, leaving from Fountain Square on High Street at noon and arriving at the Mill Green at approximately 12.30pm. The Nithraid Village provides a jam-packed day of family friendly activities for all ages, which includes live music, food stalls and creative workshops which include stone carving, public art, zine making, upcycling, origami, badge making and recycling.

For more information, including how to take part in the races (or anything else!), please visit

Musings News Project Updates

DMC – taking Dumfries by Storm

It’s been a hectic week or so at Stove – and it is with sadness that we wave goodbye to DMC for another year. It’s been insightful, exciting, wild, engaging and fantastic. Having landed at a music conference with very little music background, there was an initial concern of being the cuckoo of the flock however, he Dumfries Music Conference kicked off last Wednesday, with a showing of LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits, a beautifully shot, poignant film about the band’s last ever gig in Madison Square Gardens. I decided to avoid googling the band beforehand, and went in with no knowledge of them or their music – and left with a new love.

This buzz carried into Thursday – with a seminar programme, relocated back into the familiarness of the Stove. It kicked off with Born to be Wide‘s Getting Started in Music – which included a panel of industry experts who gave inspiring but honest insight into the contemporary music scene in Scotland. Grassroots music  Popcop blog was represented, as was Bar Bloc and the Wickerman, as well as Keren McKean of We Make Music Work – and covered everything from managers, getting live gigs, to pluggers, promoting and marketing your music. This was followed by Gary Aitkinson who spoke about the story of Document Records, and it’s in-depth archive and back catalogue of musical gems. 

Up to pace. Friday saw the Stove taken over by aspiring song writers who landed to join Music Plus in learning from Robert Shields of Finding Albert, who worked from a music composition base, and gave some inspiration into his early career within the music industry and Findlay Napier of Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers – a self proclaimed folkie who had all participants writing a song from scratch in less than 30 minutes… Say cheese, say please sounds set to become a chart topping success!

Quick change over and the Stove transformed to Dumfries’s newest intimate live music venue.  Chris from Bar Bloc mentioned during the seminar night that remote and unusual venues are often the most atmospheric, and we couldn’t have imagined how great it would be when first Honeyblood, at the end of their UK tour and just about to head for the States rocked up and gave the Stove it’s first live set. Followed up by the mind-blowing Hector Bizerk, Glasgow based hip hop group, who really blew Dumfries out of the water. Local lads Barstow Bats led the Stove into the night, and the whole place glowed.

The DMC team didn’t disappoint on day four, and another quick costume change for the Stove saw it re-invent itself as a retail outlet hosting Rebecca Vasmant’s record fair, featuring DJ sets and sellers both local and down from the big city. Congratulations go out to the DMC team for a fantastic programme, thanks to everyone who was involved and thanks to everyone who came to our events – we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did! To see more of the photographs taken at DMC head to our flickr site here 

News Project Updates

DMC – The Line Up

The DMC2013 is fast approaching – and the lines are now open to book yourself into all of our FREE events. Come along and discover something new:

Wednesday 30th October
DMC2013 presents FILM: Shut Up and Play the Hits
Please note you must be 15 or over to attend this event. Join the facebook event page above to let us know you are coming!

Thursday 31st October
DMC2013 presents Music Industry Experts/ Born to be Wide!
To book tickets for this event please go to the eventbrite site here as spaces are limited.
Participating speakers include: 
Keren McKean (former Snow Patrol Manager), 
Jason Cranwell and Sarah McMullan (The Pop Cop) 
Derick Mackinnon (Born To Be Wide / The Scotsman), 
Chris Cusack (Booker, Bar Bloc, Glasgow) 

This informal session takes place from 20.00 – 21.00 and the session is preceded by a presentation from Gary Atkinson (owner of Document Records). Doors open at 18.30.
The evening will be rounded off with DJ sets from our industry experts, who will play us some of their favourite music.

Friday 1st November
DMC2013 Songwriting Workshops from Music Plus
Music Plus Songwriting Workshop led by Robert Shields from Finding Albert
3.30pm-5pmMusic Plus Songwriting Workshop led by Findlay Napier from Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers 
If you would like to attend these events please contact the Dumfries Music Conference direct with your name, postcode, contact number and which session(s)- to secure your place. 

DMC2013 presents Barstow Bats, Hector Bizerk and Honeyblood
Spaces ARE limited for this event, and it’s likely to book up so to get a hold of your free tickets please register on eventbrite here

Saturday 2nd November
DMC2013 Record Fair with Rebecca Vasmant
DJ, producer and the brains behind Sub Club’s Record Fair, Rebecca Vasmant is hosting a very special DMC event at The Stove, Dumfries. This is no ordinary record fair – we’ll have DJs, listening stations and some the finest collection of vendors Dumfries ever will see.

All the events are being held at The Stove, Dumfries, apart from our film screening, which will be at Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre.
For more details about specific events – check out the facebook pages listed, or follow the Dumfries Music Conference on facebook and twitter

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