GIO Statement on Arts Funding Cuts

Oct 6, 2023

It is with heavy hearts that Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO) must announce the cancellation of the 16th year of their annual festival, GIOfest XVI, which was due to be held at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow from the 23rd until the 26th of November 2023.

As has been reported in recent days, the Scottish Government has chosen to re-instate a 10% cut (c.£6.6 million) to Creative Scotland’s budget. This decision has resulted in a significant reduction in the operational support Creative Scotland can offer. Suddenly and comprehensively this has impacted all of GIO’s activities, predominantly our world-leading festival programme which has now been cancelled with immediate effect.

GIOfest has maintained a vital presence both in Glasgow and on the global stage for the last 15 years, managing not only to survive through the COVID-19 lockdown periods but expanding through the development of our world-wide telematic orchestra project, GIOglobal.

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra calls on the Scottish Government to restore its commitment to meaningfully supporting Arts and Culture in Scotland by urgently reversing this devastating cut, that puts a sector already burdened with extreme economic pressures into further decline. Furthermore, we call on the Scottish Government to acknowledge the harm this decision is causing socially and economically to workers and audiences alike across the country.

GIO is committed to maintaining its reputation as a standard-bearer for the vibrancy, diversity and necessity of our art form, as well as contributing to the national conversation on how a thriving, sustainable environment for musical life can be cultivated and maintained. Our festival this year can no longer go ahead as planned and our broader programming has never been more at risk. However, we will continue with all our plans into 2024 and beyond, as committed as ever to developing our music and its vibrant global community.


GIO is a ground-breaking ensemble whose legacy has played an essential role in the development of free-improvisation and experimental music, throughout the UK and internationally. For over 20 years now, GIO has presented performances, recorded works, scholarly research and consultation to both organisations within the sector and local government initiatives, focussed on widening participation and increasing access to musical learning and expression.

Our regular GIOdynamics programme provides an accessible, welcoming space for anyone to explore their relationship to and artistic potential within the context of experimental music. Our GIObabies programme, that introduces young children to free improvisation, has been recognised as industry leading in its scope and delivery. GIOglobal - weekly improvisation workshops and performances held online, are attended by musicians, artists and composers from over 24 countries around the world. These projects not only offer radical and essential space with which to play and listen to new music, they provide a crucial social benefit to those in our community – reducing isolation, inspiring confidence and creating opportunities to grow with others on a musical and personal level, regardless of background or experience.