Musicians bring back the joy of live music to isolated communities in Wales

A series of doorstep concerts performed by professional musicians have been bringing back the joy of live music to vulnerable people and isolated communities in Wales

Top Brass Trio performing for residents in Bridgend (Photo by Live Music Now Wales)

Professional musicians have been bringing joy to isolated communities in Wales through a series of doorstep concerts, organised by a leading music charity.

Live Music Now, the UK’s leading musicians’ development and outreach charity, has organised over 30 outdoor performances across Wales to bring together communities isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The team of 22 professional musicians in nine different ensembles have performed outside care homes, sheltered housing and peoples’ doorsteps since the beginning of the country’s second lockdown in October this year.

“People are really responding to the performances, some are even brought to tears,” said Charity Director for Wales, Claire Cressey. “Live music has been so noticeably absent for nearly a whole year. These doorstep concerts are helping musicians to get back out there and also creating a real sense of community spirit.”

A shielding concert by wind quintet Seren Winds for care home residents in Porthcawl (Image by Live Music Now Wales)

Musicians including the Seren Winds quintet, String Sisters and Top Brass Trio have performed across Cardiff and South Wales in places such as Swansea, Bridgend, Riverside and Whitchurch.

“It chased away the cabin fever,” said Maggie Morgan, a resident of Riverside in Cardiff. “We all need music and company to lift us up in these difficult times.”

The charity, which would normally be delivering around 400-500 live performances to vulnerable people each year, also adopted the use of Zoom sessions to deliver live music to peoples’ homes.

“Live Music Now Wales started the ball rolling for me personally by arranging some one-on-one sessions on Zoom with families,” said Bristol-based musician, Chris Webb. “We spend eight weeks per family playing songwriting games, helping them write music and just performing for them over zoom. It really is incredible fun.”

The live music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 34% of UK artists considering to quit the industry, according to a survey by the Musicians Union.

A recent grant from the Arts Council Cultural Recovery Fund has allowed the charity to start paying the musicians to perform again.

“Wales was one of the only countries to provide cultural recovery funding to freelancers,” said Claire Cressey, “I think that was really good of the Welsh government, but its only a drop in the ocean and many creatives still fell through the cracks.”

Nia Thomas, musician in the violin and viola duo String Sisters, said, “I think this time has been really hard for artists. You feel like you are alone in your own head sometimes, and I think if we’re feeling like that, how must it feel for people who can’t go out?”

Seren Winds playing in the sunshine for residents at Monkstone House in Porthcawl (Image by Live Music Now Wales)

Despite cold winter weather fast approaching and rising rates of coronavirus infections, Live Music Now will still be offering virtual live concerts over Zoom for those shielding or isolated at home until March 2021. For more details or to book contact