The Cumnock Tryst understands the importance of its Festival to the local area and to the ecology of the classical music scene in Scotland.

Today as it announces that the Festival will not go ahead in its usual format this year, it also shares its plans to keep presenting classical music to the widest possible audience, both from its local areas and a little further afield.

Rather than wait a whole year to bring fantastic music and musicians they are planning a series of concerts and events which will comply with Government guidelines over the first six months of 2021 before mounting the full festival again in October 2021. These events will be creatively re-invented to meet audiences’ new expectations of attending live music and delivered with the safety and enjoyment of both artists and audiences at its heart.

Sir James MacMillan, founder and festival director of the Cumnock Tryst  said, “Music is a very powerful tonic which can sustain us through difficult times and refresh our souls. Now more than ever we want to find ways to bring the best classical music to as wide as possible an audience in our local communities in Ayrshire and bring people together safely, to enjoy it. Although we cannot mount the festival as planned this year, we are planning some wonderful concerts over the first few months of next year to lift our souls. We look forward to sharing these with you soon.”

2020 promised to be a big year for The Cumnock Tryst with plans involving the significantly larger Barony Hall at the new Robert Burns Academy in Cumnock and the launch of its major new community project, the Musical Celebration of the Coalfields, which will span the next two to three years.

Although timelines are having to be adjusted, The Tryst is determined to ensure that the pride and passion it was set up to bring to its community is continued. In the autumn this year it will announce major names set to visit Cumnock during the first half of 2021, including its very first orchestral concert, and thereafter will follow another stellar line-up for the Festival in October 2021.

Created and led by The Cumnock Tryst, The Musical Celebration of the Coalfields will involve around 15 local community groups and individual residents and will culminate in two major productions performed in Barony Hall, the new Robert Burns Academy concert hall, as a highlight of The Cumnock Tryst festivals in October 2021 and 2022.

Working online from late summer will allow the Tryst to establish connections with the community as it re-emerges from lockdown, and develop a body of work that can evolve in face-to-face workshops when it is safe to meet together.

Those involved will be at the heart of every part of writing, composing, producing and performing their stories and will be supported by industry professionals in the fields of creative writing, videography, photography, sound recording, opera and musical theatre.

Sir James MacMillan added, “Contributing to our local community is absolutely intrinsic to the work of the Tryst and the reason we exist. I am delighted that we are able to continue with our bold, new, ambitious celebration of the coalfields starting with the creation and submission of texts, sound postcards, photographs and video created and recorded in people’s local surroundings.”

This ambitious, musical celebration of the coalfields is possible thanks to the significant support of the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Tryst is, like many arts organisations, getting in touch with its audience members and its artists to ask their thoughts on what a return to live music events might look like and what will give them the confidence to return in order to ensure that plans develop in the best possible way for artists and audiences.

More information on the spring season and The Musical Celebration of the Coalfields will be shared in due course.