Edinburgh band Big Fat Panda are encouraging musicians to put on gigs where entry costs one bag of shopping for a local food bank

The band started putting on Food Bank Skank shows where the entry charge was a bag of shopping to donate in the summer

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 5:00 pm
The idea came about after seeing the headlines about increased food bank use.

An Edinburgh ska band is encouraging musicians from the Capital and beyond to support their local food banks by putting on a ‘Food Bank Skank’.

Last summer local musicians Big Fat Panda began to play gigs where entry wasn’t charged - but to get in music fans had to bring one bag of shopping which would be donated to a food bank locally.

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Andy's band have seen more than a hundred bags of shopping donated thanks to promoters who have put on Food Bank Skanks

“I just thought it was a really good idea, nothing more of it for a while. I started thinking about it, I’m sure I read in the Evening News about the food banks having no stock and thought ‘right let’s do this’ and started putting gigs on.

"I'm just amazed at how quickly it has taken off."

Before New Year, Ska legends Bad Manners played Edinburgh’s La Belle Angele in the Cowgate, and although entry to the gig was charged, fans could get a free poster for the gig by bringing a bag of non perishables for a local food bank.

“There’s no rules, anyone can do it. They’ve started happening all over the country, I’m getting messages from friends of friends now to say that they are going on all over, there’s been one in Morecambe, Luton, even as far as Wales in Cardiff.”

Bassist Alex Read added: “A lot of the areas we’ve played haven’t been affluent towns but the amount of people turning up with something to offer has been really cool.

"For members of the public if they want to put a gig on they tend to book us but they can book any band they want, call it a Food Bank Skank, we’ll send them photos and stuff that they can use, some promo and the entry is just a bag of food. It has tended to be Ska or Punk bands that have done it so far but anyone can."

While it has mainly been ska and punk bands participating so far, Big Fat Panda are encouraging any kind of musician to take part.

Alex added: "You get free music out of it, you get to go to gigs, all the ones we’ve played have been really busy.

"Its a nice atmosphere of people just wanting to help out. I recently did the Big Sleep Out and it had the same kind of feeling of people really wanting to make a difference."

Andy added: “You don’t even have to have a band - you could be a DJ. As I say there’s no rules to how they run it, they can charge a small amount of money and a bag of food - that way the bands petrol is covered it’s not formal. The whole point is to get local bands in your community donating at your local food bank so there’s minimal outgoings.

“I think I read that there was more food banks than McDonalds’ now. There’s no shame in it, everybody hits hard times.

“I’m not asking bands to play for nothing all the time it’s not practical, but even just one event makes a massive difference.”