I was asked to do a wee interview with local music student and musician Connor Adam.

Usually it’s myself asking the questions locally so it’s nice to be on the other side for a wee change.

Connor is studying Commercial Music at the University of the West of Scotland UWS and also plays in a kick ass local band called The Ranzas.


  • What is your current involvement within music?

I am an Ayr based musician, event organiser and local journalist.


  • What is you involvement within the Local Music scene compared to that of the rest of Scotland / UK and to what industry level do you feel like you work at eg professional / pt / hobbyist

I would imagine that I probably ‘wear more hats’ than other local creative’s but I respect that lots of people have many different interests in music and in their local community. I work at local, national and international levels. Professional


  • What resources do you use within the area? Rehearsal rooms? Performance spaces?

I do not use any rehearsal spaces within the local area however there are some fine rehearsal spaces at Sound Magic Studio‘s just on Waggon Road. They put on regular gig nights there too and although I can’t always get along due to commitments they have a lot of great things going on including a community club there for musicians with benefits such as cheaper recording and rehearsal rates, check them out, highly recommended. 


  • Do you see a local music scene as self-sustainable?


Ayr and the surrounding area has a lot of talented bands and musicians living within it. It’s always been a creative place and I’m sure that will continue for a long time however I do feel that more could be done to really harness that creative spirit and  to properly incubate the enormous talent we have that might be outside of the education system currently.


  • Do you think the scene is established enough to attract touring acts?

If acts were booked, events were marketed properly and the acts performing had a market here then I see no reason why it shouldn’t work.

A number of organisations do bring touring orchestras to perform in Ayr however certainly when it comes to more contemporary groups I think we could be doing far more to attract touring bands.

In my opinion Ayr is sorely lacking a number of things which would significantly help in the development of our local music culture and community particularly in developing a real sense of scene here.

To me it’s all about raising aspirations, raising confidence and raising expectations.

In my opinion we need to really encourage local arts organisations such as The Gaiety to take more of an interest in the local live music scene and in promoting original music.

The majority of the music programming at the Gaiety Theatre, from what I have observed, is all about cover bands and tribute acts, which of course have their place. However I think we need to invest in our local music culture and community. We need to encourage and promote a sense of value in original music locally.

It would appear to me that The Gaiety receives a rather sizeable amount of funding locally and from this it would appear to me it invests very little in the local music community or in promoting original music shows. I’m quite happy to be presented with evidence to the contrary.


 I look at other local authorities such as North Ayrshire and East Ayrshire who really seem to ‘get it’ far better than here. They invest in touring acts who attract audiences, who pay tickets, who justify the hall hire and bring in money to the local economy. I must say if I’m being honest I was really shocked and surprised at South Ayrshire Council’s decision a few years ago to effectively hand over the management and booking of several public buildings including Ayr Town Hall and the Citadel. I’ve not been hugely impressed by the level of shows being promoted or their originality. I  think we need to really need to actively invest in local original live music communities. To inspire our young people. I’m not sure of the exact figures but you’ll find millions of pounds has made its way to the Gaiety from the Big Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland and South Ayrshire Council. I just wish more of it had been on quality original live music programming.

I believe we also  have to we have to influence change also within South Ayrshire Council, to encourage investment in developing music communities locally.

Why we do not have a music  hub is way beyond me. Where is the investment in local live music? Certainly it’s piecemeal at best although in recent times I have seen change.

I hope to see more accountability, more transparency and more ambition shown all round in addition to more inclusive attitudes.


 What I would say is that Ayr, South Ayrshire does have utterly fantastically talented young musicians. There are some truly excellent bands formed from the South Ayrshire Junior Orchestra, Senior Orchestra and String Orchestra are all fantastic. I’ve seen initiatives such as the New Music Collective, run  by musician and teacher Paul Henderson and taking place at Belmont Academy. That’s orchestrated by the South Ayrshire Instrument Service which itself is an arm of South Ayrshire Council. I can only say positive things about them as they are hardworking and get the best of the kids they work with. Each of their orchestras are well drilled, talented and hardworking and truly they deserve not only your support but of course your ears.



  • How much influence do you feel the educational institutes have on the local scene?

Not enough. Ayrshire College and UWS both in my opinion have to play a far wider reaching role in the local community than they do. I’ve lived in Ayr the majority of my life and I’ve been a music student at both Ayrshire College and UWS and I’m fairly aware of how  things are in the local community, in my role as a musician, local journalist and community councillor. Both Ayrshire College and UWS need to take far greater efforts to integrate themselves into the local music community. There is at present a significant opportunity for both institutions to contribute on a far deeper basis than is presently happening. It appears that both institutions should be working closer with colleagues at SAC’s Cultural Development Teams, local arts organisations such as the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership and there should be a regular presence of students working  at / contributing to the development, delivery and success of local events within the community. Why are there no formalised programme to involve event management or music sound tech students in the Burns An’ A ‘That Festival for instance?  Couldn’t some of the cost also be offset by bringing in new talent both production and performance wise? Certainly it would seem opportune for both Ayrshire College and UWS to be developing these working links with South Ayrshire Council.

Of course the students, the lifeblood of the college and university are seen all over the town however I feel that there has to be a more significant and sustained effort to assist in formally creating opportunities for them to work locally in the creative industries. I would have to say Ayrshire College, UWS and South Ayrshire Council, please, get your act together.



  • What do you feel would be needed to improve the local music scene?

More integration in the local community of the college and the University.


A proper, fit for purpose live music venue would be a fine start. If it’s the case as appears to be that the Gaiety for instance has no real interest in local live music  then certainly it would appear to me that the case for a dedicated venue for live music would be very strong and purposeful.

I have a venue in mind. I’m keen to head up the running of it. That space is the Darlington Church in Ayr. It used to be the Borderline Theatre but has been empty for many years now. I have spoken with South Ayrshire Council and have made my intentions known as regards taking ownership of the building and that’s something I’m currently developing. As things stand I’ve had word from Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian who told me that he would do his best to bring the band to play should  I be successful in my bid to open the Darlington as a live music venue. I’ve also had a message of support from Mike Scott of The Waterboys fame, himself an ex Ayr Academy pupil who has went on to achieve huge international success for his music. I’m confident that if I can land the Darlington that I can help to kick-start something of a revolution in local live music , in developing our local live music communities, providing  a professional facility for original live music groups, being a base or hub for the local live music community, providing a space for workshops and educational classes, providing local industry learning opportunities for Ayrshire College and UWS students and of course in providing that fit for purpose live music venue that touring acts can use. It really could be, should be and will be I hope, the way forwards for us. I’m certainly grateful for the support of anyone who would like to see this happen. I’ve lived in Ayr for 25 years and I’m keen to see this happen and I feel that I’m in a unique opportunity to help to make it happen. We all are.

Follow progress here

  • Of what standard do you think the performance spaces are at within Ayr and how do you think they could be improved?


Ayr has plenty pubs and coffee shops that are and have been used for live music performances and there’s some nice enough wee spots to catch a band or acoustic act but for me what I want to see is a live music venue in Ayr.


I’ve been back in Scotland for a week now since returning from what was an incredibly positive experience enjoying and singing at New York Tartan Week. To say it left an impression on me would be a serious understatement. I would have to rate it as one of the most positive and life changing experiences I’ve had so far.

I try not to be a person laden with too many preconceptions, as the world is an ever changing place and often what happens is not what you expected however I always try to be mindful and open minded also. I suppose I expected that of course I would enjoy myself, it was New York Tartan Week I was going to after all, a weeklong celebration of Scotland and Scottish contributions to North America. Like how could I not enjoy stoating about Manhattan in a kilt? I guess I just wasn’t prepared for HOW MUCH I would enjoy it, just HOW MUCH FUN it would actually be. It made me realise a few things, that as Scots we truly are welcomed very warmly, that we are always going to be instantly recognisable as Scots in our kilts and that we do share a very unique bond with oor cousins over the pond, which is to both be cherished and for you and I to develop as well as enjoy.

Scotland is a funny wee place, it’s a brilliant wee place and I love it very much but all the same it’s fantastic to get out for a wee while also.

The thing that moved me the most during my time in New York was not the immense buildings, speed of traffic or my ability to get found almost as quickly as I got lost but the wonderful generosity of spirit of everyone I met. Not that I expected anything else, I just wasn’t prepared for just how moved I would be by the people I came across. I found New Yorkers to be funny, warm, super kind and super fast.  Although I got the impression that everyone was quite busy, determined, with purpose, everyone  I spoke to was kind, generous and well meaning. I must have gotten lost about a hundred times easily, even just in the first few days and people were only too happy and willing to point me in the right direction. Perhaps it was the kilt that did it ( thanks Kilt Hire Ardrossan )

I must give my warmest thanks to Shirley Green, for being such an accommodating host and a fantastic new friend. I hugely appreciate you giving me shelter and it was wonderful to tour around Manhattan with you, albeit brief it was certainly brilliant!

I had an incredible experience meeting so many positive, intelligent and warm souls in NYC and of course I hugely enjoyed singing! I’m looking forward to next year already!

Thanks to everyone who made the experience so special.



Creative Ayrshire???


Why Ayrshire needs to flaunt its true wealth; it’s creativity and culture and why now is the right time to do it by Jamie McGeechan.


The fertile plains of Ayrshire, some 1,138 square miles of land situated on the South West Coast of Scotland have long been an area of innovation, ingenuity and creativity. Also known for it’s agriculture Ayrshire is rich in history and exports produce and potent culture all over the world.
The origin of creative greats such as Robert Burns and William Mcllvanney, modern music heroes Gallagher and Lyle, Nicola Benedetti, Biffy Clyro, Eddi Reader and Roddy Woomble, Ayrshire has long played it’s part in inspiring great creative minds.

There is no shortage of creativity and culture in the modern day, the educational opportunities have never been more in abundance either with courses facilitating the arts and culture available at both Ayrshire College and the University of the West of Scotland.

There is at present a great deal of opportunity and issue which demands attention and that is the development of a framework which allows us to exhibit and celebrate our great modern day culture and creativity, showcasing the best of Ayrshire to our local community and to audiences further afield.

There is a strong and vibrant arts scene in Ayrshire, much of it however is relatively underground and currently survives and thrives on it’s own steam and merit  as arguably all ‘good’ art should however, it is vitally important that we build framework to support the burgeoning creative industries and artists in Ayrshire for their ability to both celebrate and shape our communities in addition to actually encouraging visitors to come to Ayrshire cannot be underestimated if we can properly harness their worth.

There is not yet one stand out festival or event which brings together the best of the cultural and creative industries in Ayrshire and harnesses our ability to work together to showcase our cultural riches while providing a support network, platform to grow and develop for creatives and brings new opportunities to creatives. Yes we have festivals, events and lots of passionate people already who work to put things on but it’s because of this and not in spite of this that we should create something even greater. Something that brings it all together from all across Ayrshire.

Ayrshire should have it’s very own creative industries festival, celebrating the best of
design, fashion, textiles, screen, broadcast, sculpture, writing, publishing and music.

Ayrshire could well take inspiration from the Highlands with XpoNorth, the annual creative industries festival doing a fantastic job of showcasing local culture and arts each year. The festival is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and draws visitors in their thousands to Inverness each June.

I’ve spoken with employees involved in cultural development / communities at North, East and South Ayrshire Council and  there has definitely been positive feedback however what it will take to get the three working in partnership I am not sure. For the good of culture and showing our best I think it’s a must to work together, positively and proactively with Ayrshire as a whole as  the main benefactor, culture the winner.

If we collectively invest in our culture, it will reap rewards. It will bring tourists, it will enhance and increase our appeal internationally. It will increase pride in where we live and where we come from.

Recommendations : 1) A mapping of the creative industries in Ayrshire inclusive of all forms of art, creativity and cultural output. This can form the basis of further planning.

2) A pan Ayrshire alliance of the three council bodies who will work together positively and proactively to support the establishment of an organisation which supports the arts and creativity in all forms.

3) An annual creative industries festival where innovation, design and culture is showcased and praised.

There should be a model designed for a creative industries festival which exhibits the best of our culture and arts scene.

An Ayrshire creative industries festival could take place in venues across Ayrshire with showcase events, networking events, conferences, learning opportunities and keynote talks from leaders and innovators in the creative industries from across Scotland with the aim of inspiring the next generation of Ayrshire creatives.

It is vital that we harness the ability to place the spotlight on Ayrshire as a hotbed of creativity, culture and talent. We have much to celebrate and much to share and the time to act is now.

Jamie McGeechan, BA Creative Industries Practice (UWS)
Musician, creative and local journalist

Welcome to the Little Fire blog

Hello everybody!

My name is Little Fire, I’m a singer songwriter from Ayrshire in Scotland, I’m passionate about new music and I love getting out there to gigs as well as running my own and writing about them. Music is a big passion for me in life. This blog will serve to feature interviews and pieces I’ve wrote on or about musicians, solo performers and bands I’ve come across or played gigs with.

I write the music column for the Ayrshire Post, Irvine Herald and Kilmarnock Standard each week which I really enjoy doing, I’m proud to be a part of the Ayrshire music scene which is really a fertile ground for new music talent. I love performing myself and I’m currently working on my debut album. Check out the about me section for anything and everything else.

You can get in contact with me if you want me to check out your music or let me know of any gigs you think I might be interested in, or if you just want to say hello.


Little Fire