WE’RE all missing live music right now.

We’re lost without all the little intricacies that make gigs what they are and what they will be when they return.

And when they do, maybe we won’t take them for granted anymore.

Maybe we’ll treasure the sounds, smells, characters and creators that make the venues we love so entirely loveable.

Maybe we’ll recapture what we’ve been searching for since lockdown; the chance to escape, forget about life for a while and immerse ourselves in the therapy that live music has provided us with when we have needed it the most.

For now though, it is not us, the audience, that needs anything. The doors of the venues we step through each week may not open again unless financial support is provided to protect them from boarding up.

The ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’ campaign, organised by Music Venue Trust, formed with that goal in mind and the scheme has attracted names such as Elbow, Pet Shop Boys, Passenger and KT Tunstall to perform live next year at grassroots music venues at risk of closure.

Tunstall, a Fifer, had her heart set on playing in the Kingdom and, having never played at PJ Molloys before, nominated the staple of Dunfermline’s live music scene as her stage of choice.

This intimate show will take place when social distancing is a distant memory and, speaking to Press:ON, Tunstall says that the return of gigs with crowds cannot come quickly enough.

“Music is about emotional wellbeing,” she commented.

“As you say, playing a gig is an absolute therapy for some musicians and, for the audiences, it’s the exact same thing being there to listen to those lyrics; to meet people, to have a good time. It’s a two-way relationship.

“Music is a life force. That’s what it is. A gig can save your week if you’re having a bad one. You can be with your mates. You can sing. You can dance. You can lose yourself. It’s an antidote.”

Feeling the way she does for live music, for her to hear during the interview that PJ Molloys had made the decision to close for 16 days (from Thursday, October 8) due to new Scottish Government restrictions came as a bitter pill to swallow.

“Venue owners are always up against it and they do it as a labour of love,” she says.

“They should be treated like community centres, not thrown in with the likes of H&M.

“They’ll never be the wealthiest person on the high street but they do it because they love it and are passionate about it.”

The arts and music industry has had its income practically decimated as a result of the coronavirus outbreak with businesses having to utilise the furlough scheme to retain members of staff.

Some venues, like PJs, were successful in applying for Scottish Government grants and were even able to transform temporarily into pubs but others have gone without income for months. The same can be said for the artists, bands, technicians, engineers et al who have lost bookings and had tours cancelled because of the pandemic.

The suggestion made by Chancellor Rishi Sunak that they could retrain in other jobs sparked an online backlash and for Tunstall, whose BRIT award win (British Female Solo Artist, 2006) would not have been attainable without spending years working on her craft, the comment did not sit well.

“What should I do now?” she pondered. “Maybe I’ll get my gloves on and start gardening.

“It is such a sad, dark outlook that they have on life, really.

“A life without art, music and cinema is not a life well-lived.

“I actually pity them if their life doesn’t include music and the arts.

“Did you see the bankers who wilfully ruined the economy and lost billions of pounds years ago step away or be asked to retrain? I didn’t.

“They were criminals for what they did, and you don’t see them being asked to find a new line of work.

“I really feel for all the crew involved in putting on gigs and the music venue owners as well.

“Without funding and with comments like that being made, they’re being told by the Government that what they do is not worth any value. They aren’t getting the support they need right now and are then being told that.

“I would just like to say to everyone involved in the arts that you do matter, and your work is extremely valuable.”

Given the current climate that is bleak both financially and motivationally, the singer-songwriter of favourites such as Suddenly I See and Black Horse And The Cherry Tree stressed the need for solidarity within the community and pleaded to anyone struggling right now to talk about how you are feeling.

Tunstall said: “There’s a collective, global dread right now that’s very hard for all of us to navigate.

“It’s not conducive to creativity but we all have to stick together right now.

“If you’re struggling - with anything, please reach out and speak to someone.

“Asking for help is always OK.”

  • Entry for you and a guest to see KT Tunstall perform at PJ Molloys will be conducted via a prize draw with a minimum £5 donation made to the Passport: Back to our Roots campaign.
  • To enter and pledge your support, click here.
  • The date will be announced in 2021 when the relevant restrictions are lifted.