Quarantine Cabaret has been a brilliant response to the closure of venues for the foreseeable with COVID 19, ensuring a platform for artists to perform live and get paid for their work. Cameron Foster who kicked this off has a contact book for performers in Scotland and has been trying to connect them live through Instagram for the last month. The Fountain caught up with Cameron to discuss his rapid response to the situation and who is coming up on Quarantine Cabaret in the near future.
TF: Since going into Lockdown you have kicked off the Quarantine Cabaret, can you elaborate on this? And what inspired the premise, and why Instagram?
I’m lucky enough to know quite a few performers and artists through various things I’ve been involved in over the years. As soon as the pubs and clubs started to close my social media feeds were full of very talented people who suddenly had their entire income pulled out from underneath them. I also knew, however, that there is a really community of folk out there how like to support the arts, who will come out to stuff and who will put something foldable in a hat if its passed around. They hadn’t gone anywhere, it was just a case of finding a way to connect people – which is what the internet’s for, right? So I started up Quarantine Cabaret. Its basically an Instagram account and a JustGiving page – every Saturday at 7:30pm I go live on Instagram and introduce five of Scotland’s best and brightest in music, poetry and drag. They hijack the stream and do a set live from their houses. In between I hassle everyone to donate to the JustGiving page and then I split the takings between the 5 of them. It’s good fun. Well, apart from the first week! I’d chosen Instagram because it has a split screen function but it turns out its as fragile as a presidential ego so we ended up having go on this mad wee Instagram treasure hunt to find everyone’s accounts. Its a lot smoother now, thank goodness, but for me its got to be live and Instagram is pretty good on that front.
TF: You have had quite the bill so far, Heir of the Cursed, Rachel McCrum, Hailey Beavis, who can we look forward to next?
I know right!? I’ve just had Imogen Stirling and Withered Hand too! One of the really nice things about this project is how many folk have really embraced the idea. To be honest, I think the idea of a live online show would have been met with a fairly lukewarm response but the creative community have really risen to the challenge. Ben Seal did some amazing things with a projector and SHEARS pulled out a full on light show! Its been great. I’m really excited about next weeks show actually, Lou McLean is going to be on and we’ve got Sam Small too who is wicked. Beyond that, I’ll level with you, I’m not sure. I’m just kind of winging it on a week to week basis to be honest!
TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, can we look forward to these until lockdown is ceased or do you expect you will continue these post lockdown?
Seems like a difficult time to make plans with any certainty at the moment. When it comes to Quarantine Cabaret, I’d like to be able to help out as many performers as I can and it feels like theres room to grow here – I’d love to have some dance involved for example – but if the donations dry up then who knows? I’m chatting with a few folk about doing something in August what with the Festival being almost certainly off. I’m a big believer in cross-pollination and for all its flaws, the Festival excels at that. Ironically in that context, a lot of the various Scottish scenes feel quite cliquey. My plans, such as they are, are to try and connect people better.
The fifth instalment of the fundraising Instagram show on Saturday 25th April includes Lou Mclean, Sam Small and Siân Bevan. Tune in from 7:30pm GMT