With pubs operating an outdoor service only in Wales, we are all adjusting to the way we experience live music. Is this the way forward, live streaming until we can enjoy the intimacy that only small gigs and venues can give us? One Welsh venue is trying this out.
The famous Sloop Inn located in Porthgain on the Pembrokeshire coast is inviting people ‘inside’ virtually with an intimate online gig from new band Onco Fonco.
Recorded live from the Inn, the gig will feature original songs in English and Welsh by a band who started writing their music together in a garden shed in the tiny village of Mathry in west Wales.
Led by female duo Angharad Kellie and Daisy Borthwick and formed by two bands coming together, Honey Fungus and The Daisy Chain, the idea for the online gig was born out of lockdown.
“When the pandemic hit we lost all of our gigs overnight”, says the duo.
“Bands like ours survive on the summer season. Between our two bands we’ve lost over 70 bookings between the April to August period, including our first season performing our original songs together as part of Onco Fonco”.
The Sloop Inn is famous in Pembrokeshire to locals and holiday-makers alike and each summer they’re one of the top venues to enjoy live music with a nice pint in west Wales during the holiday season.
The band says, “It was a no brainer when we came to look for a venue to host this online gig. The arts have been decimated by Covid-19 and music is so important to people in times like these. Making music has certainly kept us going through these tough times. The tourism industry has also been hit very hard so we wanted to do something to bring some joy to people who love Pembrokeshire, a place that is not going to be able to welcome visitors in the same way this summer”.
Rob Collingborn, owner of Cardiff’s Live Lounge, a venue who programmed live music every day of the week in the Welsh capital before lockdown is also supporting the gig;
“Angharad and Jon Kellie, who make up one half of Onco Fonco, were one of the first bands to perform at Live Lounge when we opened in 2009. It’s great to see them doing something like this to keep their music alive and to bring some much-needed live music, in a pub setting, even if it is digitally. We’re delighted to be able to stream the gig on our social media pages in the absence of the real thing. Good on them for doing it.”
The harbour at Porthgain
Performing 9 original songs in an hour-long gig at The Sloop, Onco Fonco hope that the opportunity will be able to keep their dream alive of launching their first album later this year.
“We’re so grateful to The Sloop Inn for this opportunity. The gig will feature a mix of folk, rock and roots with songs performed in English and Welsh. We hope people will join us for a free hour of new music in a lovely pub setting, something we’re sure many people are craving for right now. Although it’s online we’ll do our best to get across that live gig feeling and connect with people through the screen in some way from beautiful Pembrokeshire”.
Who knows how the pandemic will affect how we engage with music and experience live music in the future, but as an alternative, virtual gigs can still connect people and provide a much need lift. So, get the wine, beers and nibbles ready and settle in for a Friday night of fine Welsh music, from the comfort of your living room.
Onco Fonco – Live at The Sloop will stream online this Friday 17 July at 8pm.
Audiences should go to Onco Fonco’s social media pages @OncoFoncoMusic or the band’s YouTube page for the free live stream of the gig.
Words: Jack Barker