I saw a petition on Facebook recently concerning the Westfest event which takes place on Magdalen Green in the west end on Dundee. It was concerning the apparent exclusion of a local band called The Graham Brown Band from performing at the event. This caught my interest as I know Graham, and have heard the band play many times. They are a hugely talented band, all the members of which play multiple instruments and regularly perform their own material.
They play to a variety of audiences all over the country, in fact appearing at a function where the first minister of Scotland was the main guest. They have a wonderful repertoire which they adapt to the type of audience they are playing to. From Weddings to large concerts. I suppose I would put their genre in the mode of Runrig giving a hugely entertaining experience.
They are, also like Runrig, well-known supporters of independence for Scotland, although the individual members of the band have a variety of political views.
Now the point of the petition was that although they have offered their services to the committee set up to run the Westfest event for several years, they have never been chosen, which to me seemed strange as most venues would jump at the chance to feature such a talented band and the petition was to allow local people to express their disappointment. Although the petition has not been going long it had received several hundred votes for the band to be included.
Last night whilst in my local Mennies which is in the Westend of Dundee, I had occasion to be in a company which included people involved in the organization of the Westfest event and in fact Alan Wilson who is a journalist with the DC Thompson publication, The Dundee Courier a well-known unionist organ. I enquired as to why the Graham Brown Band had never been successful in being allowed to perform at the Westfest event in front of the people of their home city when other bands based elsewhere were in fact regularly billed
I was told quite clearly that it was “because of their politics “I was dumbfounded, that because a bands perceived politics did not accord with the politics of the organisers they were being prevented from playing to their home audience at an event which as far as I Know has a financial input from Dundee Council and is held on public land.
The decision, it would seem, mainly centres around one person and that is Alan Wilson and I would not like to think that his allegiance to the unionist views of the courier is being transmitted to a public event to the detriment of a local group of entertainers and indeed to the detriment of the Dundee public who are being deprived of seeing this extremely popular band.