Music / Features

Harpist plucks at heart strings as she goes on tour around BS6

By deirdre clarke, Tuesday Jun 2, 2020

A harpist has been enchanting the neighbourhoods of Cotham, Kingsdown, Montpelier and more on a mini tour.

Normally found playing at weddings or busking in Broadmead, Scarlett Smith, aka the Bristol Harpist, is now midway through her tour of BS6, playing on pavements, driveways and parks.

With her usual work as a harpist cancelled, Scarlett said she still craved the chance encounters and personal exchanges that her music often inspires.

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So after some thought, she posted a tentative message in the BS6 Community Covid-19 response group on Facebook asking if people would like her to perform near their houses.

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and since then, Scarlett has taken her Lockdown Harp Tour across the area including a half an hour concert on Sunday afternoon in Cotham Gardens.

Scarlett Smith – Bristol Harpist live in Cotham Gardens

Bristol24/7 发布于 2020年5月30日周六

“I was honestly so surprised by how enthusiastic everyone was,” said Scarlett, who is also the creative director of Made Up Mischief, a circus-theatre company.

“I really thought I’d get more mixed opinions ranging from people being supportive to people saying I was encouraging crowding or being reckless.

“This is something I’ve really tried to be conscious of by doing lots of smaller concerts rather than just one or two bigger ones. But I think the original post has about 70 positive comments and requests from people suggesting locations!”

Scarlett has played in location acros BS6, including Fremantle Road in Cotham – photo: Dave Cook

Scarlett’s original aim for the tour was “to offer people an activity that brings them out of their current routine and hopefully helps to create a positive memory of lockdown”.

She said: “One of the things I miss most at the moment is how I rarely get the chance to stumble upon anything unusual.

“It’s so much harder to take in more of the world when your reality has become just four walls. So that’s what I’m trying to give to other people – an experience that’s outside of their current reality.”

Scarlett’s performances on her Lockdown Harp Tour are all free of charge but she also has a virtual tip jar at

Here is where you can find Scarlett on the rest of her tour:

  • Tuesday, June 2: Florence Park, Westbury Park, 6.30pm & Queen Victoria Road, Westbury Park, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday, June 3: Chesterfield Road, St Andrew’s, 5.30pm
  • Thursday, June 4: Fairfield Road, Montpelier 6.30pm & Banner Road, Montpelier, 7.30pm
  • Friday, June 5: Cotham Road South, Cotham, 7pm & High Kingsdown Green, High Kingsdown, 8pm
  • Saturday, June 6: Arley Hill, Redland, 3.30pm & The Elmgrove Centre, Redland, 4.30pm

Main photo: Martin Booth

Read more: Playing the Clifton Suspension Bridge like a harp

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