Live Music Wales has been awarded a grant of £55540 from Arts Council Wales in the second round of the Cultural Recovery Fund! With a focus on supporting the wellbeing and re-training of the 50 plus professional musicians on the scheme in Wales, the grant has been warmly received at a time when performing artists of all artforms have been on hiatus for over a year.
“This grant will allow us to re-invest in the exceptional musicians with whom we work,” explained LMN Wales Director Claire Cressey. “Whilst musicians have still been called upon to support others in need during the pandemic and continue to raise spirits and boost wellbeing for local communities, ironically they themselves have become a vulnerable group over this time due to the huge impact of Covid 19 on the performing arts sector. Since March 2020 all work stopped for musicians, significantly impacting confidence, identity and self-worth. With this grant Arts Council Wales has shown again how significant the contribution is of artists is in Wales, putting the right value on the musicians we work with who impact the lives of so many every year. We are delighted to be able to give them something back and help them return to live with confidence.”
As well as a range of training, wellbeing and coaching opportunities for musicians on the Live Music Now scheme in Wales, the grant provides PPE and shelters to enable safe performances within a range of settings. Musicians will be able to safely return to live performances in Care Homes, Special Educational Needs Schools and other settings. The grant matches the areas funded from the Arts Council England CRF grant for the four LMN branches in England and enables LMN UK to move forward out of the pandemic.
LMN Wales musician Daisy Evans of Bute Clarinet has been leading weekly wellbeing chat sessions for musicians on the scheme in Wales since October, the grant will enable her to continue these. “Musicians have been incredibly isolated over the last year and beyond,” she commented. “It is a communal sector where we are used to playing in groups, touring and responding to live audiences. All of that was taken away, which impacts creativity and mental health. The financial impact alone has had many musicians question if they can continue their career. I am very grateful for the support of LMN and Arts Council Wales for investing in musicians in such a big way at such a difficult time. This grant will make a huge difference to many of us.”
Over the last year of the pandemic LMN Wales quickly adapted to online sessions and recorded concerts to continue musical outreach and employ musicians on the scheme when all other work opportunities had stopped. Over 40 families with children with additional needs or mental health challenges were reached through live 8-12 week bespoke music sessions last Summer, followed by a range of outdoor doorstep “pop up” concerts across the country between the two lockdowns. In total over 600 sessions were delivered Wales wide despite the limitations of the pandemic. The future looks bright for Live Music Now Wales in 2021with the #ReturnToLive.