A Highland Perthshire venue is set to say thank you for the music after a 16-month wait as the last of the Covid-19 restrictions finally begin to ease.
Pre-pandemic, McKays Hotel in Pitlochry was renowned as one of the best music venues in the region, with traditional Scottish and contemporary artists appearing four times a week.
It was also a stage for the boutique ‘March Into Pitlochry’ music festival, which was due to up-scale to a 3-day event with 30 bands in 2020 before Coronavirus pushed the country into lockdown.
Now, thanks to a further easing of restrictions, which will permit the return of live musicians, McKays are preparing to relaunch their music programme on Friday 13th August.
Discussions are ongoing to secure one of the leading ‘March Into Pitlochry’ bands for the re-opening, with organisers set to announce details on their website shortly.
As well as providing the Big County with some cheer following difficult times, the return will be a massive boost to the musicians whose livelihoods have been tested to the maximum by the virus.
In January, the Musicians’ Union claimed that half of its 30 000 UK members did not qualify for governmental support schemes.
“We are delighted to bring the music back,” said McKays Hotel owner Richard Drummond.
“It feels like one of the last significant restrictions is being removed. People want to enjoy themselves and music is a big part of that. It has been a huge part of the McKays tradition for many years.
“It is also a big step back again for the musicians. So many semi-professional artists rely on places like McKays, and I am really happy for them.
Musicians have been one of the professions almost wiped out by the pandemic, and I understand it has been a struggle for some to get support.
“They want to be back playing, so everyone is looking forward to the 13th.”
The return of performers to the stage will also coincide with a comeback for McKays’s highly popular Steak Night, which has proved a big draw in recent years.
Although the music programme will start with weekly Friday slots, there are plans to gradually phase back in a full music roster; something McKays was noted for.
As well as showcasing numerous traditional and contemporary bands, the Sunday sessions provided local artists with a platform to play their instruments in a relaxed atmosphere.
Talks are also underway, which will see the return of the March Into Pitlochry music festival in 2022.
The event was due to celebrate its 5th-anniversary last year but was postponed due to lockdown.
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