Your say / music

‘The last few weeks have reinforced to me how special live music is’

By louise mitchell, Wednesday Apr 1, 2020

The following is an open letter from Bristol Music Trust chief executive, Louise Mitchell

Dear friends and music-lovers,

I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well.

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Every time I have tried to write an update to you in the last few days, there have been more developments and more disruption to our daily lives.

For Bristol Music Trust, the charity which runs Colston Hall and the city’s award-wining music hub Bristol Plays Music, this disruption has meant a swift and fundamental change to our work delivering live music experiences, music tuition, and support to schools, artists and community groups across the city.

It has unfortunately meant the suspension of our education programme until at least the beginning of September, and the cancellation or postponement of all of our Colston Hall Presents programme taking place across the city until at least the end of July.

This sadly includes two of our biggest shows to date with Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Belle & Sebastian on Bristol harbourside.

Goldie and his Orchestra performing at Lloyds Amphitheatre – photo by Paul Bo

Our box office team continue to work hard contacting all affected customers, and your patience and messages of support have been very much appreciated.

A huge thank you from me to all of you who have donated your refunds to us. As a charity, this generosity is vital for us to overcome the impact of this crisis.

The last few weeks have reinforced to me how special live music is, from intimate gigs to great symphonic adventures. The sense of community that live music creates is special too – audiences united with musicians in a moment, children finding joy in learning new skills.

At this time, the very fact that we cannot be together – live and in the moment – feels particularly alienating to me and the staff at BMT.

It is why, in the coming weeks and months as well as supporting the staff, tutors and musicians with whom we work, we will also be focusing on what we see is at the heart of our community – the unity and joy of music.

The Colston Hall is in the midst of a £50m transformation – image from Bristol Music Trust

I believe music can continue to unite us and bring joy in these worrying times, and we are working on how we can still share that with you in the coming weeks via our online platforms.

Of course, we are also mid-way through the c.£50m transformation of the Hall into a state-of-the-art hub for live music performance, education and enterprise. We will be finding ways of sharing our progress on that project with you also.

In the meantime, the team at Bristol Music Trust have curated a list of resources and highlights below, which I hope will go some way to filling the gap left by the closure of our venues and services.

Here’s a favourite live clip of mine by the folk band Lau, if you’re in the mood for a jig around the kitchen.

With best wishes,

Louise Mitchell
Chief Executive, Bristol Music Trust

Main photo: Bristol Music Trust

Read more: £250,000 donated to help restore Colston Hall’s historic organ

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