Forth Road Bridge song contest launched

Music student Eric Hornesch rocks out at the bridge. Picture: Alistair Pryde

Music student Eric Hornesch rocks out at the bridge. Picture: Alistair Pryde

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FROM Simon and Garfunkel to Frank Sinatra, songwriters and musicians through the decades used bridges to tell their stories.

So it came as a big surprise to learn that there were very few tracks that mention one of the country’s most iconic structures – the Forth Road Bridge – as it nears its fiftieth 
birthday.

To bridge this gap in Scotland’s musical heritage, a national song competition has now been launched by Forth Bridges Live and the Academy of Music and Sound in affiliation with the Forth Bridges Festival.

Sarah Quinn, of the Academy, said: “I hope there are some really interesting entries showing what the bridge means to different people depending on where they live and how they use the bridge.

“We have a very long history of songwriting and folk music but it seems to have missed out the bridge.”

Mark Taylor, who is coordinating the event, added: “It was really a surprise given how iconic the bridge is.

“We believe there is untapped talent out there in Scotland, and this is a great platform for them. We hope to inspire songwriters of all ages.

“We are very excited because we don’t know at this point what we are going to receive.”

The judging panel includes Scottish music industry veteran and one-time manager of Simple Minds Bruce Findlay, Leith’s international musician and producer Dick Gaughan, Scotland’s new music journalist and broadcaster Jim Gellatly, rising local indie band Bwani Junction and FETA.

Mr Findlay said: “Writing a song about the Forth Bridge is much better than writing about war.

“It is about joining places and people together and that has got to be a good thing in my book.

“I’m hoping there are some sentimental entries, and I think we will get some classics.”

The winners will also be able to perform their track live at the competition winner’s night as part of Forth Bridges Live, the three-day festival to be held in South Queensferry from September 11.

Next year organisers are planning a similar event to mark 125 years of the rail bridge. The year after, writers will be asked to take as their theme the new Queensferry Crossing.

This year’s competition opened on Thursday, with judging starting on July 4.

The winner will get an exclusive Forth Road Bridge tower top trip, courtesy of FETA.

The four age groups are 14 to 16, 17 to 19, 20 to 22, and 23 and over. Songs can be in any genre but must be completely original.

All entries must be submitted to The Academy of Music and Sound or Forth Bridges Live no later than Friday July 4.

Entrants must download the application via The Forth Bridges Live website, www.forthbridgeslive.com or via The Academy of Music and Sound website, www.academyofmusic.ac.uk/edinburgh/

john.connell@edinburghnews.com