There was once a time when musicians would advertise their presence in some sort of location, outside or in, with the express intention of playing some music for an allotted period of time. On coming to know of said musician’s intentions, members of the public (onetime referred to as fans) who felt some kind of intangible affinity with the music, would seek to be present for the duration of the musical performance (set), even going so far as to pay for the privilege of just being there. This whole affair was called a concert.
To those who have come into, or even have got used to the world of live music over the past 18 months and counting, the kind of atavism described above is nothing short of a pipe dream. Surely, watching live music is a solitary, bedroom-bound, bandwidth-permitting experience that occurs via the wonderful worlds of whichever streaming service is a la mode?
It’s not like there has been much of an option for musicians, try as we might to play live. Indeed it just seems that getting loads of people into a venue for an allotted period of time to witness something they collectively enjoy is an impossibility, a complete no go, something that shouldn’t be addressed. Well, unless it’s sport and sponsored by Heineken or MasterCard or whatever, then it’s no problem apparently.
Short of corporate sponsors and barely hidden back-handers to elected officials, it seems that the idea of the concert is coming back, albeit with a fragile sense of optimism. So it is with that warm, fuzzy feeling of positivity that I was really pleased to see the ‘going ahead of’ Hidden Door Festival.
Granton, a part of Edinburgh that conforms neither to the city’s Prime of Ms Jean Brodie climes, nor to the Brigadoon-inspired mess of the city centre, has already been at the forefront of progressively-minded creativity this summer. Granton Hub, a community-based project that despite having its wings clipped in terms of the activities it can provide during the endless pandemic, has continued as a community pantry and outdoor space throughout the endless restrictions.
Through events such as ‘Doon the Water’, a collaboration between artist Marta Adamowicz and the wonderful Plastically, Granton’s community-led art puts it at the forefront of creative expression in a city which has been so paralysed by the ongoing health crisis that folk were genuinely excited by the opening of a flood -prone, turd-shaped hotel and mall complex.
This brings me to Hidden Door, due to take place from the 15th-19th of September. The location? Round the corner from the hub, by the old Granton gasworks.
“A revelation… a community arts festival that actually revolutionises and invigorates the community it takes place in.”Miss Fogg Travels
On this blog I drone on about the musical revolution all the time, tired tropes about overthrowing the inherently unfair status quo and seizing the means of production, and on it goes. Maybe there will be a time for this, but I think what is needed now is some degree of optimism with regards to live music. This is what Hidden Door brings, a degree of locally sourced, sustainable music. That makes it sound like smoked salmon, and though both the music and salmon industries suffer from several of the same ills imposed on them by consumer capitalism, that’s a story for another blog. One I imagine that no-one will read.
Nearer the time I will be previewing a few of the acts who will be appearing at Hidden Door 2021. Watch this space.