As Hamish Gibson finds out, you can now join Cameron Foster and a host of other performers from the comfort of

your own home as they launch Quarantine Cabaret

W ith gigs, shows and events across the country cancelling en masse as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, a new platform has recently launched to help struggling performers find an audience. Fundraising through JustGiving and streaming live on Instagram, Quarantine Cabaret will present music and poetry direct from artists’ homes. It takes the form of 20-minute slots hosted by Leith- based Cameron Foster from his home while the acts connect online. As well as the pressing need for performers to recoup earnings in the face of massive imminent financial losses across the industry, event programmer Foster has started Quarantine Cabaret because he felt the need for an immediate response to the crisis.

‘It’s the first time we’re doing it so it’s still a wee bit experimental,’ he said ahead of the recent launch event. ‘But it’s important to try and get something done and to have a quick response. It’s something we’re quite excited about.’ Musicians lined up for the first show included Heir of the Cursed, Craig Lithgow and Ben Seal, along

with poets Iona Lee and Kevin P Gilday. As the finishing touches were being put on the Cabaret’s opening salvo, work was already underway on the follow-up, featuring Lake Montgomery, SHEARS, and Loud Poets’ Kevin Mclean, with the hope of turning the format into a regular event. Big acts, including Coldplay and John Legend, are taking part in similar livestreaming projects, but Foster is aiming his efforts at those without access to stadium-sized audiences. ‘There’s news about bigger acts doing live shows, but Quarantine Cabaret is not really the same kind of thing,’ states Foster. ‘There’s hopefully more of a donation element to this that helps folk out that rely on gig income.’ Similar platforms are rumoured to be underway, but this is one of the first official announcements in Scotland’s grassroots scene. ‘The more the merrier,’ Foster adds, ‘and the more opportunities for folk to perform the better.’

Quarantine Cabaret, Saturdays;

1 Apr–31 May 2020 THE LIST 61