Renowned songwriter Ciaran Lavery, Nikki MacRae and Jo Wright are teaming up to launch a brand new song camp for Northern Irish musicians.
Set to take place at Analogue Catalog in Newry between 14th- 16th April, the Soft Gut Song Camp is designed not only to unlock the collaborative potential of artists, songwriters and producers in Northern Ireland: it’s an opportunity for music creators from all backgrounds to work alongside new creative partners, to forge new relationships and to promote a unified and exciting community. As well as embodying the collaborative potential of the Northern Irish music scene, the Song Camp – which was successfully trialled in October last year – will also offer more holistic elements to best maximise the impact upon artists’ careers, such as mentoring, skill gap discussions and the formation of accountability groups.
Speaking about the initiative, Ciaran Lavery said: “Soft Gut was created primarily out of the desire to support a healthier and functioning music community – not just a theoretical one, but one that can encourage collaboration and healthy competition in the north of Ireland. It has also been created to break down the longstanding ‘big fish, small pond’ narrative, where being based in NI will eventually stifle your career and so it’s best to relocate off the island. With the effects of Brexit already leaving a cloud over talk of touring visas, there is no time like the present to support artists here and help to nurture a music scene that encourages them to flourish while they are based here.”
“The last two years have been stifling for artists everywhere, to say the least,” added Nikki MacRae. “Through the Soft Gut Song Camp we aim to provide a positive environment where creativity can flourish again. We want artists and producers across this country to have the opportunity to connect, to work together and to really thrive.”
“We are committed to providing a unique high quality experience and fostering a more collaborative community of songwriters in NI,” echoed co-founder Jo Wright. “This is a very exciting process and it’s amazing just how much progress can be achieved in what is a relatively short period of time, including connections that will last forever.”
“It speaks volumes that at the trial camp we hosted last year, it was the first time that all of the participants had been in the same room together, let alone not having worked together in any capacity,” added Lavery. “What we want to do here is provide an environment where artists – both writers and producers – can forge new relationships that have the potential to develop into something both long lasting creatively and supportive, personally. I want producers to feel the benefits of widening their client pool, and writers to feel the benefits of new and exciting creative partnerships. I believe that this will go a long way in developing a much more tangible music community here, one where we can see and feel the individual and collective benefits.”
Applications for Soft Gut Song Camp are now open open. You can apply to attend the first Song Camp by completing this application form.
Please note that the deadline for applications is 24th March. The fee to attend is £225, and applications are open to Northern Irish musicians aged 18 and above. Accommodation and subsistence for all camp attendees, with beds and meals, will be provided.
You can more information about the project and its goal on the Soft Gut Song Camp Facebook Page.