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Arts / Drever gigs give dormant live music scene welcome boost

Kris Drever is bringing his backing band to Shetland for two intimate shows next week. Photo: Genevieve Stevenson
Award-winning musician Kris Drever. Photo: Genevieve Stevenson

THERE is another glimmer of Shetland returning to some sense of normality after more concerts have been announced for July.

Kris Drever.

Orcadian musician Kris Drever will perform in the Dowry’s new upstairs venue in Lerwick on 2 and 3 July, with support coming from local singer-songwriters Scott Moncrieff and Adam Guest.

By then Shetland should be under at least level zero of Covid restrictions, which allows for indoor seated events – as does the current level one.

Promoter Ragged Wood said that if the roadmap does not go according to the Scottish Government’s plan and indoor shows are still not possible “we will look to relocate to a covered outdoor setting in Lerwick”.

The gigs will be first Ragged Wood have put on in 16 months, and it will be one of the first times Drever has played songs from his latest album Where the World is Thin.

“Fingers crossed this summer will see the resumption of live music events, which we’ve all been missing so much over the past 15 months,” Ragged Wood’s Neil Riddell said.

“Kris was the first performer Ragged Wood promoted back in 2011, and we’re delighted that Shetland audiences will be among the very first to hear him playing material from his new album Where the World is Thin.

“Stuart, Morag and co at The Dowry have done a brilliant job with their beautiful new venue. It’s going to be a real asset for Lerwick’s nightlife and entertainment scene.

“Assuming the government’s road map goes according to plan we will hopefully be able to start booking some shows at Mareel and elsewhere later in 2021.”

It comes after local bands The Stoals, The Fiction and Sheer lined up a gig at the Lerwick Legion on 25 June in the hope of holding an event with no restrictions on distancing and face coverings.

But with no mention of indoor standing events in level one or zero guidelines, and physical distancing still on the agenda, it remains to be seen if that gig will be able to go ahead as hoped.

Shetland’s live music scene has been virtually non-existent since the start of the pandemic last spring, with performers and promoters alike hampered by the continued restrictions.

At Mareel an Eva Cassidy tribute gig on 22 June is still on sale, as is 17 July’s Big Country show. Both events have previously been postponed.

Under current level one restrictions small seated indoor events can operate with a maximum of 200 people, with physical distancing in place.

Outdoor events can host more people – 500 for standing and 1,000 for seated.

Under level zero indoor seated events could have a 400 capacity, and for outdoor it rises to 1,000/2,000.

Scotland is expected to go into level zero at the end of June, but the islands have already been moving at a quicker rate than the mainland.