This year has felt overwhelmingly like a scratched CD, trying to move onto the next track but only slowly, screechingly, getting there. Together as a team we’ve meandered around obstacles thrown our way, adapted positively to new ways of working and piloted new events online, as well as in our spaces, just like the music event we ran back in October with Grace Lightman & Elani Evangelou supporting our community, making real lasting change.

A great portion of what we do at Real Ideas is events based and, like many, we’ve been holding on tight to see how we can collaborate with our awesome local partners, trying to make real, meaningful stuff happen. Throughout the year it’s become increasingly apparent that access to space is a big part of building back the event economy.

Late summer, we had a conversation that really hit home, it came from a chat we shared with the incredible Grace Lightman and Elani Evangelou. The pair, our friends and freelancers, were not getting access to the space or support to work, to do what they do best… Perform. They literally hadn’t performed a real-life gig since before March. The arts have been starved across the board due to the pandemic, so we put our heads together in an effort to ignite a new wave of events.

Off the back of our conversation, we conjured up an action plan with Grace and Elani to run a series of music events at Ocean Studios. By supporting artists to do their job, we are also providing a much-needed treat for the ears. It’s a chance for culture vultures to take a seat and enjoy a live performance and it’s the medicine we all need right now.

By holding this event we could create a platform for them both to do their thing- testing new music made during lockdown. But further than this we could open up conversation, welcome new artists in the space with support from the pair and hopefully create bursts of positive vibes, bringing people together.

But Lockdown 2.0 hit. It cheekily caught us by surprise, postponing our first event. On the risk of losing momentum, we decided to run a recorded session online at Ocean Studios. It was a proper Plymouth collaboration between Grace, Elani, the wonderful musician and composer Simon Dobson, sound Technician Lee, plus photographer Dom Moore. We all left with that warm and buzzing feeling you get when you get to be part of a truly magical experience, we just couldn’t wait to share.

This glimmer of hope proved to be an extra special treat for all involved, we’d created a steppingstone to real events on the horizon. It gave the artists the tools to share this occasion with others, no matter where in the world. The session was played on air by Sarah Gosling as part of BBC Introducing South West too, an incredible channel for local talent. An opportunity we were proud to say we helped support.

Missed the performance? Don’t fear, we’ve made it live for you to watch again. The tickets are pay what you can with profits going to the artists. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for their live gig in the space next Spring.