ONLINE weekly gigs created in a rural community have proved a huge hit – and now the organisers are hoping to continue that success once lockdown rules ease.

Following funding from the Arts Council, Upstairs at The Gather, at Ennerdale Bridge, has created 36 free-to-view streamed gigs since last September.

They were kicked off by acclaimed saxophonist Snake Davis and have gone on to include an eclectic mix of musicians. Over the weeks, audience numbers have grown – with a total of 10,697 enjoying everything on offer.

Volunteer Peter Maher said: “We have an average of over 300 per performance and that is currently growing at 23 per cent a month.

“Of these, 54.8 per cent are resident in the UK with the remainder from elsewhere in the world.

“We had expected audiences to be local, not international. It’s great to have that resonance. We have people listening in America, Europe, Australasia – all over.”

Live performances will return to the venue on July 16. “Our aspiration has always been to bring live music to the area,” said Peter.

“But we are wondering if people will feel comfortable to return to enclosed public spaces.

“Given that people might be more reluctant, we need to supplement live audiences with people watching the gig streamed.”

The Gather will consequently be charging £15 for both sets of audiences.

“To be viable, we need to break even and sell 35 tickets. If we do not reach that target we are on a knife edge,” said Peter.

“We have been lucky enough to receive grants from Arts Council England and from The Hadfield Trust, but lockdown means we have been unable to sell tickets to fund our streams.”

To find out what’s coming up at Upstairs at The Gather, go to: