Thursday, 19 December 2013

Creative Dumfries - hell yeah

The is proud to be part of the team behind the bid for Dumfries to be Scotlands Creative Place for 2014 and are pleased to announce that a media toolkit is now available to download from - see below for more details

Creative Scotland’s Creative Place scheme is in its third year. Dumfries is nominated in the largest population category, and is up against Falkirk and Orkney. The judging is on the 29th of January 2014, and we have until then to show just how creative Dumfries can be.

Creative Dumfries is here to stay – whatever decision the judges take in January. People getting involved in creative activity throughout our town is key to the future of Dumfries as a place that support and nourishes its residents. We believe in a Can-Do Dumfries that puts no limits on ambitions and dreams.

Creative Dumfries – Logo
The logo is free to use and available in a variety of formats (available from Please use the Creative Dumfries logo as part of your own activities – e.g. on email headers, printed publicity for your events, social media pages etc. The more people get used to seeing the logo the more it will work for everyone as a sign that Dumfries is a place to watch out for and the more people will come to all of our events, classes, cafes etc.

The Creative Dumfries logo is a marker of that ambition and has been created by one of the town’s leading young designers, Russell Milligan of Brighteye Design & Branding, The arts in Dumfries are something to be proud of and the Creative Dumfries logo is a way of showing that to the rest of the world.

Friday, 15 November 2013

We keep forgetting to put this video up on the blog - finally getting round to it today. Here is John Wallace's brilliant wee film of the Inbetween:Dumfries project The Stove did in November 2012

Inbetween:Dumfries by John Wallace

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

DMC - taking Dumfries by Storm

The Born to be Wide Seminar Panel on Thursday night

It's been a hectic week or so at Stove - and it is with sadness that we wave goodbye to DMC for another year. It's been insightful, exciting, wild, engaging and fantastic. Having landed at a music conference with very little music background, there was an initial concern of being the cuckoo of the flock however, 
The Dumfries Music Conference kicked off last Wednesday, with a showing of LCD Soundsystem's Shut Up and Play the Hits, a beautifully shot, poignant film about the band's last ever gig in Madison Square Gardens. I decided to avoid googling the band beforehand, and went in with no knowledge of them or their music - and left with a new love. 
Barstow Bats rocked the Stove on Friday night

This buzz carried into Thursday - with a seminar programme, relocated back into the familiarness of the Stove. It kicked off with Born to be Wide's Getting Started in Music - which included a panel of industry experts who gave inspiring but honest insight into the contemporary music scene in Scotland. Grassroots music  Popcop blog was represented, as was Bar Bloc and the Wickerman, as well as Keren McKean of We Make Music Work - and covered everything from managers, getting live gigs, to pluggers, promoting and marketing your music. This was followed by Gary Aitkinson who spoke about the story of Document Records, and it's in-depth archive and back catalogue of musical gems. 
Hector Bizerk Live in Dumfries

Up to pace. Friday saw the Stove taken over by aspiring song writers who landed to join Music Plus in learning from Robert Shields of Finding Albert, who worked from a music composition base, and gave some inspiration into his early career within the music industry and Findlay Napier of Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers - a self proclaimed folkie who had all participants writing a song from scratch in less than 30 minutes... Say cheese, say please sounds set to become a chart topping success!
The beautiful Honeyblood opened the Stove's first live gig

Quick change over and the Stove transformed to Dumfries's newest intimate live music venue.  Chris from Bar Bloc mentioned during the seminar night that remote and unusual venues are often the most atmospheric, and we couldn't have imagined how great it would be when first Honeyblood, at the end of their UK tour and just about to head for the States rocked up and gave the Stove it's first live set. Followed up by the mind-blowing Hector Bizerk, Glasgow based hip hop group, who really blew Dumfries out of the water. Local lads Barstow Bats led the Stove into the night, and the whole place glowed.
Thanks to Zoe Bestel for going out and photographing the DMC programme in situ!

The DMC team didn't disappoint on day four, and another quick costume change for the Stove saw it re-invent itself as a retail outlet hosting Rebecca Vasmant's record fair, featuring DJ sets and sellers both local and down from the big city. Congratulations go out to the DMC team for a fantastic programme, thanks to everyone who was involved and thanks to everyone who came to our events - we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did! To see more of the photographs taken at DMC head to our flickr site here 

Stove Members Gathering 29th October 2013

Brilliant to see about 40 intrepid Stove folk braving the dark winter evening to come to the Stove Members Gathering/Catch up/Planning  Thing Meeting last Tuesday night.
Old friends and new friends came and it was particularly good to see people who had helped with Back2Back and taken part in the Nithraid. The Stove is all about reaching out and working beyond the arts….in fact there was chat about whether what we are doing is really ‘art’ anyway- and does that matter.
One of the ideas that seemed to catch peoples interest and agreement was that the Stove should be about inspiring people to take charge of their own immediate environment. Too often people think that they are ‘not allowed’ to do things – we hope that our events have an ethos of ‘just do it’ about them and that others will be inspired to follow suit. We believe that people working form the grassroots with independent and locally relevant initiatives is the way that Dumfries with prosper in the future. (Sermon over!)

The evening kicked off with a Welcome led by Will – who invited Katie to talk about Back2Back – The Stove’s project for Guid Nychburris in June. Katie showed John Wallace’s lovely wee film of the event – which you can view here

Back2Back - 15th June 2013

Linda followed on with a slide show of images for the Nithraid and it was great that other people brought their own pictures to share too – even if the one of Will and Matt hugging in pink T Shirts might not see the light of day again anytime soon! More pictures from Nithraid - here

Nithraid 22nd September 3013
Nithraid really seems to have caught people’s imagination  - there was a really strong contingent of folk who had taken part and in the race and a collective determination to do it again next year. Mark Zygadlo is leading on this for The Stove and currently working very hard to raise the necessary money for next years event.

The Awesome Nithraid Scratch Band
Lots of people ask ‘how do I get involved with The Stove?’ – the Nithraid is a great example: The Curatorial Team raised some money to do a Stove project as part of the Environmental Art Festival…..we had a first think about what might be possible and relevant to both our larger programme and that of the Festival. We then put out an invite to Stove Members which said ‘Stove is going to do something for EAFS – it will be connected to the River Nith in some way….if you are interested to be part of this then come along on this day and we’ll all brainstorm ideas together’ . About 10 people came to that original meeting…the idea of Nithraid was born and Mark Zygadlo and Stan Bonnar became part of the project team that made the Nithraid happen. 

The Nithraid was a proper challenge!
Along the way other folk were pulled in by word-of-mouth and adverts etc eg Roy Kerr from Nith Navigation and all the folk who took part in the race. Then closer to the date we put out another call for people to be part of the crew for the day and we were thrilled that about 12 people came and were part of making the whole thing happen on the day (from being part of the scratch band, to catering, to stewarding, to releasing the banners into the water, to helping get the boats out of the water).

The Archivist (by Stove Members: Jo Hodges, Robbie Coleman and Dave Giblin) at Environmental Art Festival Scotland
Matt then showed some slides from the Environmental Art Festival Scotland – The Stove was part of the team (with Spring Fling and Wide-Open) that thought up and produced the festival. One of the great things about EAFS was the way it provided opportunities for so  many people in D+G to take part and the way different people worked together – just about everyone in the room had been part of EAFS in some way – great feeling!!
Photo from EAFS

Colin talked introduced Dumfries Music Conference with a video from last years event and a run down of this years programme that was starting the day after this Gathering.

Hector Bizerk onstage at DMC at The Stove 1st Nov 3013
Matt then rounded off the presentations with a quick run through of The Stoves 3 year programming plan.  In synopsis this breaks down into:
2014 – intensive focus on Dumfries with TheStove@TheStove (including residency opportunities for Stove members)
2015 – First part of year finishing TheStove@TheStove before focussing on the second Environmental Art Festival Scotland for September/October that year
2016 – Year of Architecture in Scotland….The Stove hopes to be a main partner in the festival in SouthWest Scotland and pick up themes form work in Dumfries and across the region through EAFS……imagining a sustainable future for D+G.

Another big push for The Stove recently has been in the way we are using different media in our work. Katie Anderson is now building on the great foundation made by Mike Nicholson on Social Media for The Stove. Our Facebook page has never been busier and Katie has become surgically attached to her IPad it seems.

Check out The Stove on Facebook
And on Twitter.

And if you're not yet a member and fancy being part of The Stove mission to change the world then send an email to and Sheila will send you a membership form. Membership is free and gives you no obligations'll just get emails and updates from The Stove and the offer of being involved in projects, commission opportunities and members rates on room hires etc.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Creative Forces in the Standard

'Artists are often branded as fluffy, creative types with their head in the clouds...' The avid Standard reader may have noticed some cheery Stovies gracing the pages of our local paper this week...

Friday, 1 November 2013

Dumfries in line for Creative Places award

It's an exciting day down at the Stove, and as if the build up to tonight's big gig as part of DMC wasn't enough, we are pleased to welcome in the morning with the following press release. Go team Dumfries!

United artists approach makes shortlist for National Award
Several organisations were jumping for joy at the news in Dumfries today – that the town has been shortlisted for the coveted Creative Place Award for 2014.
A joint bid was led by Big Burns Supper, The Stove and Electric Theatre Workshop to attract investment of £150,000 to the town to support the development of a Creative Place through a year-long celebration of Creativity to help support Dumfries town centre.
Uniquely – the bid has been developed by the arts organisations independently, which mirrors the trend that has been happening in Dumfries over the last three years.   Artists and their Organisations are leading the way in the regeneration of place, community and identity.
Seize the Potential. Photograph by Oriel Marshall at this years Nithraid.

Graham Main, Artistic Director of Electric Theatre Workshop & Big Burns Supper said,
“We are thrilled with the news of the shortlist - which celebrates the ground breaking transformation, and creative leadership model in our community. Organisation’s like Big Burns Supper, The Stove and Electric Theatre Workshop - and our many associate organisations like Theatre Royal, Peter Pan Moatbrae, Greyfriars Concerts, DG Arts Festival and The Crichton Campus are leading on a fresh approach to arts delivery, and redefining the rules to creative participation through a new confidence that is spreading throughout our region.”

Matt Baker, Founding member, the Stove Artists Collective, said
“Culture and Heritage have been identified by many as the key to revitalising Dumfries – a future built on assets like the river, the history and the creative talents of our citizens. Much work has been done already by groups like Stove, Big Burns Supper and Electric Theatre Workshop – we have all focussed on making opportunities for other local folk to get involved and through this building a network of amazing people with a ‘can do’ attitude.
Being shortlisted for this award is amazing national recognition of both the work done to date and potential for the future. Dumfries is ready to claim itself Queen of the South again for the new century – we look forward to working with everyone to make that happen.”
Opening scenes from BBS' We Can Be Heroes performance earlier this year

It comes on the same day that Big Burns Supper announced plans for theirHomecoming Carnival which will set the town alight on the 25th January 2014 which will see over 2000 people taking part in the organisations largest ever Participation project to date.
A massive community celebration which help pay tribute to the centenary ofWorld War One, with second year students from several high schools helping to design and create the first ever Burns Night Carnival in the town’s history.
As the news came in, Final preparations were being made to the Dumfries Music Conference weekend which is taking place at The Stove in the centre of Dumfries.  The second Dumfries Music Conference (#DMC2013) will pick up where Greg Wilson signed off last year, with a programme centred on sharing knowledge, ideas and thoughts about music.
Their aim is to be progressive, which is why this year’s sessions have a different complexion than last year’s. Where 2012’s focus was electronic music and technology, 2013 is about shining a light on the music industry’s storytellers.
As part of their continued development, Electric Theatre Workshop have announced continued expansion into communities throughout Dumfries, supporting communities and schools to get access to creativity.
The Community Interest Company based in the centre of Dumfries has opened Youth Theatre projects at Lochside Primary, Lincluden Primary, St Teresa’s Primary and St Ninian’s Primary Schools throughout the next year.  It comes as part of the organisations pledge to lift barriers to creativity in Dumfries thanks to support from the Holywood Trust.
  Dumfries will find out at an Awards Ceremony in January 2014 whether or town the town will lift the prize.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

DMC - The Line Up

The DMC2013 is fast approaching - and the lines are now open to book yourself into all of our FREE events. Come along and discover something new:

Wednesday 30th October
DMC2013 presents FILM: Shut Up and Play the Hits


Please note you must be 15 or over to attend this event. Join the facebook event page above to let us know you are coming!

Thursday 31st October
DMC2013 presents Music Industry Experts/ Born to be Wide!

To book tickets for this event please go to the eventbrite site here as spaces are limited.
Participating speakers include: 
Keren McKean (former Snow Patrol Manager), 
Jason Cranwell and Sarah McMullan (The Pop Cop) 
Derick Mackinnon (Born To Be Wide / The Scotsman), 
Chris Cusack (Booker, Bar Bloc, Glasgow) 

This informal session takes place from 20.00 - 21.00 and the session is preceded by a presentation from Gary Atkinson (owner of Document Records). Doors open at 18.30.

The evening will be rounded off with DJ sets from our industry experts, who will play us some of their favourite music.

Friday 1st November
DMC2013 Songwriting Workshops from Music Plus
Music Plus Songwriting Workshop led by Robert Shields from Finding Albert
3.30pm-5pmMusic Plus Songwriting Workshop led by Findlay Napier from Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers 

If you would like to attend these events please contact the Dumfries Music Conference direct with your name, postcode, contact number and which session(s)- to secure your place. 
DMC2013 presents Barstow Bats, Hector Bizerk and Honeyblood

Spaces ARE limited for this event, and it's likely to book up so to get a hold of your free tickets please register on eventbrite here

Saturday 2nd November
DMC2013 Record Fair with Rebecca Vasmant

DJ, producer and the brains behind Sub Club's Record Fair, Rebecca Vasmant is hosting a very special DMC event at The Stove, Dumfries. This is no ordinary record fair - we'll have DJs, listening stations and some the finest collection of vendors Dumfries ever will see.

All the events are being held at The Stove, Dumfries, apart from our film screening, which will be at Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre.
For more details about specific events - check out the facebook pages listed, or follow the Dumfries Music Conference on facebook and twitter

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

DMC - It's Back!

The Dumfries Music Conference is back this year - and excitement is building as some new events have been added to this years programme. Following on from last years successful event, DMC2013 will be kicking off with a free film screening - Shut Up and Play the Hits will be showing at the Robert Burns Film Theatre on the 30th of October - join the event page here.
Also announced this week, Dumfries band Barstow Bats will be headlining our first live music night on Friday 1st November at the Stove! Special guests are yet to be announced but if you haven't yet heard Barstow Bats - have a listen to Heartbreak Kicks:

DMC will also be holding The Record Fair at the Stove, with Rebecca Vasmant - All record collectors and music lovers are invited to join in our celebration of music with a great selection of record vendors. We'll be covering house, techno, jazz, latin, soul, northern soul, funk, disco, electronic and much more. Various guest DJs will be playing on the day and there will be several listening stations for you to sample the produce before you purchase.
If you are interesting in trading at this event we still have some spaces left at no cost - please email

We have more events to announce - so be sure and stay tuned! In the meantime follow the DMC on twitter @DMC_Dumfries and on facebook /DumfriesMusicConference to keep up to date!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Open Invitation - Creetown Sculpture Design Unveiled

Exciting things are happening in Creetown this week. Artists from the Stove Network have been working in and around Creetown since January this year, developing a new way-marking sculpture for the town. 

This is the first chance to see all of the work produced thus far coming together, as the final designs for the sculpture are unveiled and artists involved in the project will be on hand to discuss their work on the project. 

We would like to extend an invitation to all those from the wider Stove community and those interested in the project to attend our open evening, which will take place this Thursday, 3rd October in the Gem Rock Museum.

For more details please contact the stove by email

Reposted from the Ferrythorn project blog

Monday, 23 September 2013

Nithraid - The Results are In!

The Whitesands came alive this weekend - as the Nithraid did indeed come up with the tide. From the starting point at Carsethorn, thirteen boats made the trip up the Caul - with first place being awarded to Piella, skippered by Adam Booth with a time of 2 hours and 6 minutes. But a challenging race it proved, as sand banks, strong currents and low winds proved the course to be a tricky one. 
Photo credits: Colin Tennant - see more here
The Salt Cow being lowered into the Nith by the winning team Photo credits: Oriel Marshal - see more here
Photo credits: Brian Kerr - see more here

The Salt Cow was paraded through the streets of Dumfries with all ceremonial care which gathered numbers as it passed the Midsteeple, rounded the Burns statue (twice), down the Vennels and across the Devorgilla bridge to continue a loop around the river bridges to the beating of drums (and diggeri-moos). 
Photo credits: Rosi - see more here
Banners were released over the old bridge as the boats arrived, proclaiming the words of Dumfries including
Seize the potential.
On the brink.
Cut rates.
Photo credits: Katie - see more here
Photo credits: Martin Johnston of DGWGO see more here

Despite the slightly dreich conditions - spectators arrived and lined both sides of the river to behold the unusual sight. Many thanks go out to everyone who was involved and to all who turned out on Saturday.

Highlights of the magnificent Nithraid now on flickr

Click here to see full highlights

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I know to wait till the tide is high...

It's almost here! The final preparations are underway this week as The Stove prepares for the inaugral Nithraid. The highest tide of the year is this Saturday, and with it will arrive the intrepid sailors from Carsethorn. A spectacle is promised so be sure to keep an eye on the Nith between 12.30 and 3.30... 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Nithraid Tweet Machine

Highlights from Summerhill Gala and the launch of 'The Nithraid Tweet Machine' now on flickr

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Nithraid: Poetry Pedlar in action at Summerhill Gala

This Sunday - at the Summerhill Gala - we're going on a journey with Bill Barlow's amazing Poetry Pedlar!

We'll be taking the words that you've contributed on Twitter and Facebook and feeding them into the creative contraption. What we end up with is in the hands of the Pedlar.

The fruits of our foray will be used as inspiration for the young banner writers. The banners will be cast from the Old Bridge on Saturday 21st September - when The Nithraid expedition reaches Dumfries - welcoming our voyagers to the toon.

Check out Bill's Poetry Pedlar in this video - it's definitely worth a watch!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Great Nithraid Banner Test!

We tested The Nithraid banners this week - to much amusement and bemusement!

The #Nithraid sets sail on Social Media

We've been busy gathering words for The Nithraid this week. When the boats arrive in the town on Saturday 21 September, they will be greeted by The Stove’s huge fabric banners floating downstream from the Old Bridge, welcoming them to Dumfries with messages from the townspeople.

The #Nithraid discussions on Twitter and Facebook have arrived at 'Three words for Dumfries' - as broad and as limited as it sounds. We've had some really interesting contributions.

Here's a summary of The #Nithraid tweets and posts:

We'll continue the discussion on Facebook and Twitter this week. Come along and join in!