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Co Down musician Eddie Booth's weekly garden gigs a hit with neighbours and online


A Co Down musician has been lifting spirits by performing weekly gigs from his garden.

Eddie Booth, who normally plays in pubs, clubs and community halls, decided to entertain his neighbours in a quiet cul-de-sac in Kilmore in Crossgar a few Saturdays ago.

The 30-minute show, in which he performs a variety of covers, proved so popular that he now performs every weekend.

The gigs, which he has nicknamed 'Live From the Lamplight', are also shown on Facebook, where they have attracted thousands of views.

"I've been performing since I was 13 and have played in so many places and I know how important music is as a way to make people feel better and lift their spirits," said Eddie (56).

"I have a lamppost at the corner of my garden, so the first night I decided to play a few songs, I just plugged my guitar and microphone in through the window and started to sing from there.

"The neighbours came out and stood in their gardens to listen. We are all doing social distancing, but my vocals can be heard right down the road.

"A family next door has relatives who live in a house behind me. They come round and stand in the street, too, but away from everyone else.

"It's sad that they don't get to hug or get close to each other, but we're already talking about having a big party when this is all over."

Eddie's Live From the Lamplight gigs have attracted a loyal following online and he's had requests from fans tuning in from all around the world.

To date he's received song requests from people in Australia, America, Canada, Amsterdam and England - and George Best's former wife Alex is among his audience.

"I used to perform in Grace Neill's in Donaghadee and George came in with Alex a few times," Eddie said. "I always played the David Gray version of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye for him because that was one of his favourite songs.

"When I saw Alex was watching the gig on Facebook Live, I played that song for her.

Close

Eddie Booth playing a gig for his neighbours and supporting the NHS workers during the big clap at his Kilmore home. Eddie with Blake harwood who records him singing so that the Kilmore village can watch the gig online.

Eddie Booth playing a gig for his neighbours and supporting the NHS workers during the big clap at his Kilmore home. Eddie with Blake harwood who records him singing so that the Kilmore village can watch the gig online.

Colm O'Reilly

Eddie Booth playing a gig for his neighbours and supporting the NHS workers during the big clap at his Kilmore home. Eddie with Blake harwood who records him singing so that the Kilmore village can watch the gig online.

"I'm choosing songs that everyone knows - songs by Van Morrison, John Denver and R.E.M.

"I have a speaker and mixing deck which I use, as well as my guitar and mic. Although the sound may not be perfect, it's still getting heard all round the street."

Eddie, who went through a dark time 20 years ago and found himself living rough on the streets, said he had been a little bit reclusive when he first moved to the village, but all that has changed now.

"To be honest, I tended to keep myself to myself, but since the lockdown there's been a real community feel to this place Everyone knows my name now and I've had cakes baked for me and left on my doorstep, as well as an Easter egg and card," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know them all better when we come out the other side."

The former Sunday school teacher and restaurateur feels privileged to be able to give something back during these challenging times.

"In 2000 I went through a really awful period and lived on the streets for 15 weeks. It was the worst time of my life," Eddie said.

"I was able to get myself back on track after getting a job stacking shelves, but I still remember what it was like back then.

"I'm blessed to be in the position that I'm in now and to be able to give something back and make a difference.

"If I can make a few people smile when they're confined to their homes, then I'm happy.

"I plan to keep doing these wee gigs for as long as the neighbours want me to."

Belfast Telegraph