Tributes paid to 'champion of live music' following death at Scots festival

Heather Aird has been described by musicians as a 'beautiful soul', 'champion of live music' and a 'constant in the Scottish music scene'.

Tributes paid to Heather Aird who passed away at Skye Live festival Facebook

Tributes have been paid to a “mainstay” of Scotland’s music scene following her death at a music festival on the Isle of Skye.

Heather Aird has been described by musicians as a ”beautiful soul”, “champion of live music” and a “constant in the Scottish music scene”.

While attending Skye Live in Portree on Saturday May 11, she became unwell shortly before midnight and emergency services were called.

Paramedics attended the scene at the Am Meall peninsula – known as the Lump – where she was pronounced dead.

Officers said enquiries into the death are ongoing but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.

Musicians from across Scotland have shared an outpouring of grief following Ms Aird’s passing.

Bobby Motherwell said his “heart goes out to her family and friends who must, like all of us, still be in shock at the news”.

In a poignant tribute, he described Heather as “a champion of live music and such a constant in the Scottish music scene that you would be forgiven for thinking she lived here”.

He added: “She loved the music scene we have in Scotland and supported it like no one else I know. We all followed her travels and posts on Facebook and I was amazed at the commitment and love and knowledge she had for music.

“She will be sorely missed; that broad smile and generous hug that we are all familiar with. I know there are far more people here who have a stronger and longer connection with Heather, and my thoughts are with you all today.

“I had only really known her for a few years, catching up occasionally when we would bump into each other at gigs, but I will be forever grateful that I got to spend some valuable time with her, and for her generous and encouraging words about my writing and songs during the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival in March.

“We chatted about music, her work in the prison library and my Barlinnie stint, birds and her love and connection to Scotland.

“I’m grateful for that deeper connection we made that day.  Always thought I’d see you again down the road. Maybe I will.”

Singer-songwriter Yvonne Lyon said she was “just heartbroken” at the news of Heather’s death.

She said: “Heather was a huge part of the Scottish live music family. We are going to miss her beautiful soul.

“I am so grateful for recently bumping into Heather again at the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival Events Page at Bobby Motherwell gig. This time, I had time, I wasn’t having to clear up after a gig.

“We sat sitting sipping tea from vintage tea cups and eating delicious cakes, saying how much we loved each other’s necklaces and clothes and how we both needed our hair done. We talked about her work in the library in prison and I shared some tough life stuff.

“We put the world to rights before hitting the craft fair and of course buying anything green. Oh my! I still owed you that next cup of tea Heather.

“Thank you for all your encouragement about my music. You did what you loved right up to the end. You were loved. Your love and light goes on. X Thig crìoch air an t-saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceòl.”

Adriana Spina added: “I’m still getting my head around the tragic loss of Heather Aird. A beautiful soul with endless energy for music and travel, and a mainstay of new music audiences around Scotland in particular.

“She was one of my founding patrons and has been an ever-so valued supporter of mine for many years. I was so looking forward to seeing her at gigs later this year. 

“My heart goes out to her family, as well as her many friends and fellow gig-goers. She will be sadly missed and her kindness and empathy will never be forgotten.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 11.55pm on Saturday, May 11, we were called to a report of a woman unwell at an event in Portree.

“Police and ambulance attended however the woman was pronounced dead.

“Enquiries continue however there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

“A report will be forwarded to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A spokesperson for Skye Live said: “We are heartbroken by the tragic incident that occurred at our festival.

“Our thoughts are with the person’s loved ones, and we continue to cooperate fully with the authorities.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 11.50pm on Saturday, May 11 to attend an incident in Portree, Skye.

“We dispatched one ambulance to the scene.”

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