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  • Writer's pictureLiza Mulholland

All decked out for Fringe show!

At this point in the summer I would usually be heading south to Edinburgh, to the cornucopia of arts that is the Fringe Festival. Like many Highland musicians, our band Dorec-a-belle have, for the last few years, played concerts at the Fringe and what an amazing experience it is.

Being part of the melee that is Edinburgh at Festival time is exciting, invigorating and so much fun. It’s also exhausting, negotiating steep crowded streets in a big campervan can be tricky, parking is almost impossible, unloading gear and instruments without a parking space is challenging to say the least, and finding affordable accommodation for six of us is impossible.

But it’s wonderful! We normally use a base outside the city centre, and though we’re generally too busy with load-in and soundcheck schedules to catch many other shows, we love just having a wander, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the gregarious colours, sounds and spectacle.

Where else can you find a carnival atmosphere in the middle of the afternoon, dress up as anything you want and parade down the High Street, dance in a jazz bar until 5am, perform to an international audience of music lovers; feel as if you’re part of a huge artistic community rejoicing in creativity?

I imagine locals probably feel differently though, and I believe Edinburgh’s population is so massive at Festival time that many local people now avoid the thronging city centre completely if they can or escape on holiday for the duration.

For Dorec-a-belle, a few days is usually enough! We trail home, tired but happy, reflecting on the trip and our experiences. We’ve had so many incredible opportunities, including playing in the BBC’s big Blue Tent on Radio 4’s Loose Ends show live with Clive Anderson, and these memories will always be special for the band.

So, what are we to do this August, with everything cancelled? Well, we reckon it’s time for a gig! With most of the band working in the NHS and care sectors, day jobs have been all-consuming during lockdown and we’ve not had time to do the kind of split-screen remote performances or regular livestream gigs that we’ve so enjoyed from our friends.

However, our saxophone player’s husband Donnie and their son have used lockdown to build a stunning piece of garden decking which looks, coincidentally, remarkably like a stage, complete with bar. They reckon now that finishing touches are completed, it’s time to christen it with music!

Social distancing between the five of us will be easy on such a large platform and fingers crossed the weather will be kind to us. It will be the first time playing together since March and we’re so excited!

We’ve pencilled in late afternoon of Sunday 23rd August and we’d love you to join us online if you can. Please check out our Facebook page for details and we look forward to sharing a little of that Fringe spirit with you at home!

(First published by Scottish Provincial Press 21st August 2020)

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