Opinion: Fielding Hope's contribution to Glasgow's underground live music scene

Brains behind Cry Parrot live music is moving to London to become senior producer at Cafe OTO

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Cry Parrot

Duncan Harvey

After putting on some of Scotland’s weirdest, most fun, independent, DIY, new underground music events for almost eight years, Fielding Hope, the brains behind Cry Parrot live music, is moving to London to become senior producer at Cafe OTO. While it’s not necessarily the end for Cry Parrot – he wants to keep putting on gigs in Scotland and will continue to help programme Counterflows festival – it can’t help feeling like the end of an era. Claire Sawers asks collaborators and admirers to share a few of their favourite Cry Parrot memories

Alasdair Campbell – AC Projects / Counterflows
‘It is an absolute pleasure and privilege for me to have been able to work closely with Fielding over the last four years. When I left my job at the Tolbooth to go independent and start Counterflows and AC Projects, Fielding became a natural ally and supported what I was trying to do from the outset. It is this collaborative spirit that sets Fielding apart among the vagaries of the music world, that and his sheer love of the music. Fielding has done so much for the scene across Scotland that it is really hard to quantify. His unflappable manner disguises a huge strength that he focuses on making every performance that he produces the most important event in the history of music. He can appear laid-back but he is never shy of telling it how it is. The Cry Parrot community is a really beautiful thing. My favourite Cry Parrot moment so far has to be Heatsick's Extended Play with special guests Golden Teacher and Joe McPhee (of course musicians from Whilst and others joined this jamboree of magic) at the Glasgow School of Art at Counterflows 2014. The throng of revellers were still dancing when the lights came on at 3am. Four hours of ridiculous musical pleasure.’

Nick Herd – Braw Gigs
‘As a co-promoter for the Group Inerane show with Emily [Roff] and Fielding, there was a specific buzz in the air on that miserably cold and windy evening in 2011. It was probably a combination of it being upstairs in the Kinning Park basketball court, setting up a cheap and very generous pop-up bar and having such an incredible live act in Scotland for the first time – total synergy. Just one of those nights where everything aligned in the most righteous manner with the perfect mix of community, DIY and Saharan exoticism in the same confined space. A definite highlight!’

Keith McIvor – aka JD Twitch, Optimo
‘I'm very happy for Fielding and know he will do fantastic things for the fabulous Cafe OTO but this is a real loss for Glasgow. Fielding has consistently been perhaps the most daring promoter Glasgow has ever seen, bringing untold brilliant acts to Glasgow who might never have played here otherwise. He is also very rare among promoters in that financial success seemed to be very low on his list of priorities. He absolutely epitomises the spirit of free-thinking DIY passion that has such a strong current here and I sincerely hope someone steps up and tries to at least partially carry on the great work he has done, even though this is undoubtedly a very hard act to follow.’

Stewart Smith – music writer, The List’s jazz and world music editor
‘Cry Parrot has been a real game-changer, arguably the most important thing to happen to the
Glasgow music scene since Optimo started in 1997. They have a lot in common with Optimo: open-minded and internationalist, but with strong Glasgow roots. Moreover, they know how to bring the party. Fielding and his cohorts have built on the great work done by punk and indie-oriented DIY promoters like Nuts & Seeds in the '00s, while also engaging with experimental music and underground club scenes. The results have been a joy. To pick a favourite Cry Parrot show is a near impossible task. I could go for Group Inerane's blazing Tuareg rock at Kinning Park Complex or the righteous blast of post-punk and jazz that was The Ex & Brass Unbound, but perhaps the most magical of all was the most recent: Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano at Nice’n’Sleazy. A beautiful, intimate show from two endlessly creative masters of free jazz and improvised music. McPhee previously played the Cry Parrot co-curated Counterflows festival in April, throwing himself into glorious party jams with Golden Teacher, Heatsick and Whilst. The 74-year-old saxophonist and trumpeter is an inspiration. That Glasgow has taken him to its heart is testament to Fielding and Cry Parrot's great achievement of bringing amazing underground music to a wider audience.’

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