A SCOTTISH festival has created a giant sand portrait to urge support for young musicians.
East Neuk Festival, which will take place on July 1 to 4 and held in Fife, has put the spotlight on the difficulties faced by young musicians by creating a spectacular sand portrait drawn into Elie Beach.
Due to growing fears of the detrimental impact of the pandemic on the future generation of musicians, a picture of a young trombonist with “It’s time to let them play” carved into the sand has been created.
The art was created and designed by Sand in Your Eye and marks the beginning of the East Neuk Festival which will take place in indoor and outdoor venues along Scotland’s east coast.
Yesterday a further portrait of Mozart with a caption by pianist Paul Lewis was drawn in the sand to celebrate Lewis’ debut at East Neuk Festival.
The drawings are temporary and will wash away when the tide comes in, but they serve to celebrate art and music.
The festival has committed to supporting young and emerging talent since it launched in 2004.
Svend McEwan-Brown, East Neuk festival director, said: “Multiple lockdowns have caused irreparable damage to all musicians’ lives and careers, and we witness with dismay the especially harsh impact the crisis is having on those in their first years as professional performers.
“Millions of opportunities have been lost to these young people all over the globe, and while the scale of this crisis puts it well beyond our reach to resolve, we certainly can play our part in creating opportunities and supporting excellence and creative endeavour as much as we possibly can.”
Its artist development programme, the ENF Retreat gives young musicians the chance to develop their artistry through a residency of workshops and mentoring which leads to performances at the festival.
The festival has announced today that the latest retreat will be undertaken by jazz composer and vocalist Nishla Smith.
McEwan-Brown continues: “We have always keenly felt our responsibility to support musicians in the early years of their careers and remain committed to offering opportunities that we hope will help to take them forward and allow them to develop profile and build a career. This year we have continued to offer opportunities through our ENF Retreat programme and we open our festival concert series with two young pianists making their debuts. We are delighted to be announcing Nishla’s residency. A wonderful performer with an enquiring mind, I’m really looking forward to seeing how her project develops.”
Smith will partner with scientists from St Andrews University’s School of Earth and Environment Sciences to develop a song cycle called ‘Aether’ for voice and improvising to explore the impact of the climate crisis across.
Nishla Smith said: “For a while now I’ve been thinking about how I can use my artistic practice to create something meaningful in response to the environmental problems we face as a society.
“In ‘Aether’, I wish to broach my anxieties and hopes in a way that I also find artistically meaningful. I want to create something that balances the seriousness of the subject matter with some moments of hope and optimism.”
The 2021 festival will include al fresco performances, pop-up events, digital performances, radio broadcasts, community-led projects, and art installations, offering a rich festival experience for the audience.