Bridge Music's weekly double-gig Edinburgh/Glasgow programme depends on external financial assistance, and initial funding was awarded by the Scottish Arts Council to enable the first highly successful series to run in 2010/11. We staged some 46 events in Edinburgh and another 25 in Glasgow, a total of 71 jazz events - a major contribution to Arts in Scotland, as well as substantial employment and performance opportunities for musicians.
In early 2011 The Scottish Arts Council morphed into the new 'Creative Scotland'
Government Arts funding body ('CS'). Bridge Music persistently asked CS if it would continue to fund the Edinburgh/Glasgow
jazz performance series, but it took them months to decide how applications would be organised. Therefore, all gigs stopped and no supported jazz performance happened in either city, from April 2011 until well into 2012.
2012, at an informal meeting with a senior executive, CS effectively apologised for issuing incorrect advice, and interestingly
picked up on one particular aspect of Bridge Music programming activity -
the development thread. Bridge Music has always made a point of encouraging musicians' development, and this theme formed the basis
for a new CS-funded Bridge Music 'Development' series, which ran from June 2012 to April 2013.
That funding ran to April 2013, so we applied for full 'Arts Programme' funding to support a year-long series of gigs to pick up on the success of our 10/11 series, staging high-quality events by local and International touring bands. The application was for under £50k, to support some 75 gigs, to run twice weekly (Glasgow and Edinburgh), from Nov 12 to Oct 13. This would have created around 350 musician-engagements, as well as creating a valuable component of the Scottish arts scene. This was rejected.
This was only one of many issues which eventually boiled up into a massive Artists' backlash protest, right across Scotland's arts community, culminating in a petition severely criticising CS's actions, signed by over 500 artists of all persuasions. After the anti-CS furore, their Management actually listened, learned and responded to the criticisms, and has from early 2013 entered a period of positive management change and internal restructuring.
We are very pleased to report that the revamped and re-energised Creative Scotland awarded funding to allow the twice-weekly Edinburgh/Glasgow jazz series to run again from May '13 to Jan '14, and the a further season was funded to create gigs from Feb 14 to 31 March 2015.
Our application for continuing programme funding from April 2015 was REJECTED as being 'High Risk'. We have subsequently received helpful and constructive advice from CS and we are now considering a fresh application to go in later in 2016. However, this is largely dependent on whether the new late-2016 series in Glasgow is positively supported by Glasgow jazz audiences.
OVER TO YOU!