Highlands and Islands SNP MSP has used his members debate on traditional music to call for the annual Hands Up For Trad Awards to be screened on television.
Mr Gibson paid tribute to the organiser Simon Thoumire, his team and the musicians for putting on an excellent showcase of what Scotland has to offer. He questioned, however, why in the fifth year of the awards no broadcaster had seen fit to broadcast the event on TV.
"Why have the broadcasters not televised this enjoyable, professionally presented event, the Scots Trad Music Awards? BBC Radio Scotland provides excellent coverage but it is the TV audience that should be targeted to share the stunning live performances at the Trad Awards. One act that performed at last year's awards poses a key question — how can a wider audience hear about our unofficial 17-piece national folk orchestra, the Unusual Suspects, led by Corrina Hewat? They are truly international stars and played a major part in the success of the Scottish showcase at the huge Lorient festival in Brittany last August. Where was the TV coverage?"
He went onto comment that given the popularity and success of Phil Cunningham’s series on Scotland's Music there would be a sizeable core audience that would tune into the broadcast. He also highlighted the importance a strong musical culture can play in spreading a positive image of a nation in the world.
"I have met cultural attachés and representatives of European Union member states and Regleg Governments to discuss how they promote their traditional music. There is a huge welcome for Scottish culture there. Other countries, such as Norway, Denmark, Flanders and Catalonia, produce annual CDs to showcase potential markets for their top artists. Surely the Scottish Arts Council should be doing that for Scotland. The promotion of Scottish music in England and in many other lands could be a rich source of income for our sparkling musicians."
He called on the Government to give increased support to musicians and to spread the music around the world.
After Rob said:
"It was an excellent consensual debate. Every speaker agreed that the awards should be televised. It is important that Scotland's living culture gets an airing in the Parliament. It is an important aspect to our cultural make up and often the life blood of communities from Shetland to the Borders. I am of the opinion that if the Scottish Parliament can have a debate on fish each year then they can have an annual debate on traditional music."
"I welcome the Minister's commitment to traditional Music and am sure that the Scottish Government will back the case for TV coverage both to the BBC itself and to the Scottish Broadcasting commission which is turning the spotlight on how the BBC treats Scottish Culture."
"I look forward to attending the sixth Scots Trad Music Awards in November in Glasgow this year and look forward to watching the highlights on a TV channel after it gains a prime spot for live transmission on a Saturday evening."
Note to editor:
Link to transcript of debate: