Folk music industry join forces in support of Australian bushfire families
Elephant Sessions – raising funds to help Aussie bushfire families.
By Democrat reporter
LEADING music festivals, events and artists have rallied together to raise funds in support of those affected by the unprecedented Australian bushfires, currently destroying parts of the country.
In just 48 hours, thousands of pounds worth of prizes have been donated towards a major prize draw, with all proceeds split between the Australian Red Cross and World Wildlife Federation.
Festival tickets, VIP passes, travel and accommodation for leading events – including the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Edinburgh International Fringe, the Hebridean Celtic Festival and The Cambridge Folk Festival, amongst many more – have been generously gifted to the fundraising effort.
The campaign has been organised by the team behind the Year of Scotland in Australia 2020 – the largest-ever programme of Scottish music and culture to be presented in the country.
Produced and curated by Showcase Scotland Expo and Woodfordia Inc, in partnership with over 30 of Australia’s festivals and event organisers, the year-long programme is backed by Creative Scotland, VisitScotland, The Scottish Government and The Glenturret whisky.
The prize draw will take place during a live streaming from Showcase Scotland 2020 in Glasgow, on February 1.
Tickets can be bought from https://yosa2020fireappeal.eventbrite.co.uk/ with all attendees’ tickets entered into the draw. A full list of prizes is also available through the purchasing link.
Fiona Hyslop, former Celtic goalie Packey Bonner and Democrat editor, Bill Heaney.
Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “On behalf of Scotland, I’d like to send a message of solidarity and friendship to Australia at this difficult time.
“The Year of Scotland in Australia 2020 celebrates the strong links between our countries and I am pleased that participating bands are supporting this fundraising appeal.
“I would encourage everyone to take part in this prize draw as a way of helping those affected by these devastating wildfires.”
Scottish Producer of the Year of Scotland in Australia, Lisa Whytock, said: “Australia has been so generous and welcoming to Scotland and our artists and we are devastated to see the destruction being caused by the fires.
“We simply had to do something! We contacted our stakeholders two days ago to ask for donations and support and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the world’s music sector. Donations have come from all corners of the UK as well as Europe, the USA and Canada.
“I think this illustrates how deeply affected the world is by what is happening in Australia and the live streaming means that, in addition to raising funds, people from across the globe can come together for one small moment in time to show support for the people of Australia.”
Caroline Maclennan, director of the Hebridean Celtic Festival, added: “Everyone who has seen or read about the devastating effects of the bush fires will have been deeply moved by the trauma being experienced.
“While we are geographically remote from Australia, we have close family and cultural ties with the country and its people. The HebCelt board had no hesitation in offering our support to this international appeal and the response from the wider festival family across the world will provide much needed funds to help towards the massive recovery effort.”
Scottish artists currently on tour in Australia, as part of the year-long programme, have also thrown their support behind the campaign. Siobhan Miller and Brighde Chaimbeul are both offering collections on their respective tours, which run throughout January, whilst five-piece Elephant Sessions are auctioning a signed guitar – which has currently raised over $1,300 AUD for the recovery efforts.
Siobhan Miller said: “My thoughts go out to everyone in Australia affects by the bushfires – the loss of lives, wildlife and homes is heartbreaking. My band has been welcomed so warmly to this wonderful country, and I hope we can help in a small way by fundraising to support the Red Cross and the World Wildlife Foundation whilst touring with the Festival of Small Halls.”
Mark Bruce, of Elephant Sessions, said: “The Australian people have been so kind to us and it’s truly heartbreaking to see this beautiful country being so horrifically damaged by these fires. We hope that this small gesture can go towards helping in some way.”
One of the flagship events within the Year of Scotland in Australia 2020 is The Glenturret Burns Supper, in the Sydney Opera House on January 25, with music from leading Scottish group Breabach alongside artists Eric Avery and many others. In celebration of their 15th year on the road, and in collaboration with The Glenturret, the band have released a limited -edition single malt whisky – with the first bottle distilled also set to be auctioned off, in aid of the bushfire campaign. A donation of $50 from each ticket purchased will also be made towards the campaign.
Ewan Robertson, of Breabach, said: “It is truly heart-wrenching to witness the devastation wrought by these fires. As a former volunteer firefighter myself I feel particularly helpless but hope that our small contribution can help support the relief effort in some way. Our thoughts and love are with all those affected.”