Fears about the "devastating" impact lockdown restrictions are having on traditional Scottish music have been raised by industry representatives. 

Performances within licensed premises had to come to a stop when coronavirus restrictions were introduced in August, in a bid to ensure people observe social distancing measures.

Limits to how many people and households can meet has also added further pressures, as it has stopped musicians being able to meet in homes.

Many promoters are said to have delayed gigs for a year, leaving artists out of pocket and unable to book other gigs.

Representatives of the industry have now called for better support for musicians and a route map for live performances to be brought back, with some claiming artists may not return to the industry in favour of more stable employment.

David Francis, director of traditional arts organisation TRACS said the impact has been "devastating".

He said: “Teaching and playing – all of that has had to stop.

“So much of it comes down to what the Government can do to support us

“The creative industry in Scotland is really a massive part of the overall economy, there has to be recognition of that.”

The Scottish Government announced a a financial support package of £59 million to go towards culture and heritage in August, including £5 million for the immediate financial hardship faced by creative freelancers, and £5 million to support artists to continue developing new creative work.

However, with no indication that live performances could be resumed any time soon, bosses in the music industry fear it will struggle to get back on its feet.

Fiona Campbell, convener of Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), added: “Musicians are doing things online but you do lose that connection.

“Folk music is about having a people connection, face to face.

“Everyone is very interested in getting back together whenever possible.”

Kevin Gore is a Scottish folk musician based in Edinburgh, and recently took a tour of Germany where live events had been taking place.

According to Mr Gore, the loss of opportunities to perform, lack of government support and recognition of how valuable live music is to the economy and culturally could see many promising artists give up on pursuing a career.

The singer-songwriter said: “We have got to adapt as live performances will be very different in the future as it’s very difficult to achieve an atmosphere with social distancing.

“Some are going to get used to a stable income and they won’t want to go back to being precarious in terms of their income.

“It could take a lot of promising talented people out of the scene.”

He urged musicians and venues to find a compromise solution that could allow performances to take place and artists to be paid.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We want to lift restrictions as soon as possible and see musicians and the wider events sector thriving again.

“However, physical distancing is expected to remain central to reducing the risk of transmission at events.

“Suppressing the virus and saving lives remains our top priority.

“We do not underestimate the devastating impact this pandemic has had on Scotland’s creative industries, particularly those that rely on audiences and live performances.”

It comes after culture minister Oliver Dowden was forced to apologise over a UK Government advert which suggested a dancer 'reboot' her career by retraining in the cyber sector. 

It has since faced huge backlash from those in the culture and arts industries as creative freelancers are out of work and struggling to survive in the wake of the pandemic.