Celebrating a decade of Southside Sessions

Above: Howlin Radio perform at Queen's Park. Below: Crawford has been building the Southside Sessions network for 10 years
Above: Howlin Radio perform at Queen's Park. Below: Crawford has been building the Southside Sessions network for 10 years

It’s been 10 years of sweet music from Southside Sessions — and organiser Crawford Smith is raring to go on 10 more.

What started back in 2005 as an excuse to jam on home turf has grown into a multi-venue network of gigs and open mic nights celebrating the best of the southside.

Crawford hosts a birthday bash at Sweeney’s on the Park tonight (Thursday), with performances from Will and the Wild Horse, his own band Howlin Radio and more — before taking a trek back to the original venue, Linen 1906, for a celebratory drink.

He told The Extra: “Southside Sessions started because I was sick of travelling out of my own area for gigs to the city centre, the west end or the Merchant City. Nothing was available on my doorstep.

“The first sessions were held at Linen 1906, mainly as that’s where I hung out, and because it was the new venue of the moment. Soon I was trying out a range of open mics in any venue that would take me on.

“I’m delighted with how it’s developed and grown over the years. I’ve worked with so many great local and touring acts, hosted some ace shows and generally had the time of my life.”

Nowadays, Crawford’s schedule includes Sunday at Jayz, Tuesday at The Butterfly and the Pig, Thursday showcase gigs at Sweeney’s and weekend gigging with Howlin Radio — as well as organising May event the Southside Fringe, which he founded alongside friend Corinna Currie.

But his favourite Southside Sessions moment is still that first night 10 years ago, played by The Fortunate Sons.

He commented: “They then scored their first paid gig from the same venue, went on to build a massive following, sign a record deal, perform at Glastonbury and tour Europe. That’s a proud memory for me.”

The birthday bash is on from 8.30pm on Thursday (July 9), with support from Andrew Nicol and Graeme Quinn, and newcomers Iona Callaghan and David Chukwujekwu — from there, Crawford promises to charge on with more of the same, adding in new venues along the way.

To find out more more, visit the Facebook event page.