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Inverness Ironworks music venue is focus of documentary

By Val Sweeney

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Ben Hastings and Adam Fairbairn.
Ben Hastings and Adam Fairbairn.

A short documentary about a popular live music venue in Inverness city centre is to be screened on an online TV channel tomorrow.

The Ironworks in Academy Street will be the focus of The Venue in Our City made by two filmmakers, Ben Hastings and Adam Fairbairn.

The 10,000-capacity premises are set to be demolished after detailed plans were submitted last month to build a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on the site.

The first 15-minute episode, to be screened on the Highland-based Lovestream channel, will show how the venue has influenced people over the past 15 years and feature interviews with local artists, members of staff and gig-goers plus live footage.

A second episode is set to feature viewers’ responses and also look at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local music scene.

Mr Hastings (21), of Ballifeary, said the filming was done before lockdown and had intended to highlight the threat of losing the much-loved venue when he felt there was still a glimmer of hope it could be saved.

“We wanted to show how good the Ironworks was,” he said.

“We were trying to make a statement to show it was something we didn’t want to lose.”

It includes interviews with award-winning Scottish Celtic Rock group, Skerryvore, and fiddler Euan Smillie of renowned band, Elephant Sessions.

“He talks about how the Ironworks gave them an opportunity at an early stage,” Mr Hastings said.

The Highland band Spring Break also features.

Award-winning Skerryvore features in the documentary.
Award-winning Skerryvore features in the documentary.

Mr Hastings, who works at Eden Court Theatre, also films gigs and events such as festivals, while last year he shot a short video of Berlin Zumba star Ayhan Sulu and Highland Zumba teacher Katy Dery at various locations around Inverness and Loch Ness.

In The Venue in Our City, Mr Hastings was responsible for the visual aspects of the film while Mr Fairbairn, a sound engineer and DJ from Culloden, did the sound.

They then had to edit it from their individual homes because of lockdown.

“It was quite challenging in that sense and not something we were expecting, but everyone has to adapt,” Mr Hastings said.

The Ironworks in Academy Street.
The Ironworks in Academy Street.

He acknowledged the Ironworks would now be demolished but hoped a new venue for live music would be found.

The club’s director Caroline Campbell has been involved in behind-the-scenes talks with Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Creative Scotland and High Life Highland in a bid to find a new home.

The documentary will be screened tomorrow at 8pm on Lovestream which shares community-generated content and features a broad mix of music including Afrobeat, salsa, funk and reggae with at least two live DJ sets each weekend. It also involves Karawane, a world music DJ collective.

Sessions are free but viewers are invited to give donations to the Highland Food Bank.

It can be accessed via https://www.twitch.tv/lovestreamhighlands.

Related stories: Plans spark renewed concerns over future of live music venue

Developers remain committed to building new hotel at Ironworks site

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