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].