That sounds like a punchy duo doesn't it? Last week I had two festivals to play, 171 miles between them and a whole lot of road. Ben did his usual routine with Wickham... "oh it'll only take us 3 hours" which of course jinxed it.
There was sadly an accident on the main road which extended it to four hours (okay not as bad as it could've been) through back roads but that did mean we cut it very close to our contracted sound check time; arriving with 20 mins to collet wristbands, tune up, go to the toilet and get on stage. Luckily they didn't need us right away so we could chill... IN MY DRESSING ROOM! I know, right! In my cool, portable dressing room there was a bucket of ice and in the bucket of ice (I feel like I'm writing a funny bones novel by the way) there were cans of fanta, pepsi and bottles of beer! I can honestly say we felt like we'd made it haha So I unpacked, relaxed and began tuning up. Outside I could hear Carlos Nunez warming up and I jammed slightly, and by all accounts anonymously, on my banjo to the pipes. He has no idea of course as I remain chronically shy...
Eventually a soundcheck sort of went out of the window as 5pm was quickly approaching and it was time to start so a quick line check and I stepped out onto the main stage in front of about 500 people and gave it my all. What a euphoric and surreal experience to have that many people applauding and whistling with video cameras whizzing from side to side watching you at the foot of the stage as you sing. Incredible. I had an amazing time in that brief 40 mins and when I came off Ashley, one of the team of sound engineers backstage who kindly removed my instruments from the stage - another novel experience for me! - said, "just think... you've opened Wickham." I can tell you now that feeling of "YEAH!!!!" doesn't go away for at least a week and a half, I'm still buzzing from it!
After the set we had celebratory ciders then made the mistake of pitching our tent. Sorry Ben. I believe I spent the entire time laughing my head off and rolling around on the ground sheet. Whoops... we then went exploring around the site. Whilst buying a vest a rather inebriated fellow in pink fluffy attire slurred, "you were great!" and then as I made my way to the mechanical bull - you heard me - for another round of let's-humiliate-ourselves a little girl with a voice straight out of Oliver said, "You're Roseanna Ball!!" "..er..errr... yes I am" I stuttered back. "You were amazing!" She continued, as did my awkward replies. One day I might be articulate, maybe when I'm not so shocked at being recognised at a festival full of huge names where I'm in no way 'known.' Oh and by the way I lasted 30 seconds on the bull, 10 seconds shy of the trophy, and my thighs are still paying for it.
After a very lumpy sleep, where I was sure I was woken up by the Beautiful South's (now known as the South) tour bus arriving in the early hours of Friday morning, we hit the road and headed back in the direction of Barnstaple where we crashed for the night at Nev's before attempting Croyde the next morning. I tell you an air bed can feel like a king size memory foam mattress after sleeping rough camping! So after that glorious rest we went on to locate Croyde View and had a lovely chilled out time in the sun waking up the campers and warming them up for Chris Millington. It was a humbling, chilled out way to end a crazy week and I have the say the hog roasts were out of this world! We decided we should make the most of the epic weather and what little energy reserves we had left by going for a swim in the sea, unfortunately I was stupid enough to wear my jellies into the breakers and off one flew, never to be seen again. New look must love me, I keep the orders coming in!
So there you have it, two awesome festivals in one rollercoaster week.
Next week: Broadstairs!
Well I packed up the curls and my four horsemen and hit the road to roll with the big kids at Warwick. First off, how bad was the weather Friday?!?! 3 accidents in North Devon I later learned, countless others as we travelled up the M5 and M40 and a whole tonne of breakdowns on the hard shoulder. The rain just fell and smeared and sprayed and alarmingly people still drove around without their lights on doing 70mph. Fearing-for-our-lives aside we were happy to rest up friday night ready for two shows on Saturday and I am very grateful we didn't have to do that drive Saturday morning as we had originally planned! It took about 7 and a half hrs going up and about 3 and a half hrs going back... I'd say never again but we all know that's not gonna happen...
Warwick itself was a beautiful little town that I wish I'd had more time to explore. Very Tudor-esque, lots of wood and stone - the way I like it - and the festival was the largest I've come across so far. Always bear in mind I'm a newbie with this stuff and quite the social-phobe so everything is pretty much new and news to me. It was a good vibe though and I got lots of compliments on my outfits, what every girl wants to hear ;) , and a few "great set"s along the way so I feel like I did alright. The first gig was at the Bridge House Theatre and I got to meet Granny's Attic - a very modest bunch of hugely talented trad folkies - and Stylus who is every bit as stylish as he sounds but I really enjoyed my final set in the lecture theatre. I admittedly designed a punchier set expecting more of an audience but in typicalmurphy's law it wasn't to be and I was up against Nancy Kerr on the main stage. Damn. You can imagine the tumbleweed that blew across my mine haha Oh well I did get to debut a few new songs and covers which seemed to work nicely it's always good when a new banjo tune goes down well, and I did meet some lovely people.
I'm feeling absolutely knackered today though and I know the day job tomorrow is going to feel so much harder than normal but I think it was worth it. I had a great experience, some cracking festival food, listened to some fab acts - Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar got the blood pumpin' - and drove a very long way into the mist!
There's a song in there somewhere....
ps. Thank you to Heather Louise Kincaid for taking this shot in the Bridge House Theatre, couldn't resist popping it in the blog.
Ah what fun this weekend has been! I'm positively (think ghostbuster 2 slime) shattered and I only did one half hour set haha what on earth am I going to feel like after next weekend in Warwick? I'm jumping the gun, let's go back.... to green man.
Lots of firsts happened yesterday: 1. I patted (petted?) my first hawk which was huge, soft and looked like it could remove my digits in one quick snap of its bright orange beak. 2. I held a snake, actually I held two but the first one was nicer 'cause it didn't squeeze the life out of my left hand! 3. I wore my brand spanking new Asos maxi-dress to complete the 'pagan god' look and 4. I went to Pilton Green Man and DIDN'T get heavily sun burnt! However that was only because Nev planned ahead and brought his sun cream along (thank you Nev!)
So it was a crazy, hot, busy day with loads more going on than I realised and I had a great time playing the morning slot on top stage despite messing up a certain note... ooo it was just typical! I debuted a song and I went for it in the chorus and my vocal chords went 'are you crazy?' and out came a screeching cat. I'd like to think I recovered well and certainly no one seems to of picked up on it but I picked up on it and as any musician will tell you that's all that matters! I felt quite embarrassed for some time but I told myself I just did a Phil (Collins) and it could've been worse so plodded on. Everything else seemed to go really well so maybe next time I'll play it safe on the new songs! Haha see this is what you get with me, a musician that always puts more than 1 wildcard in her set list and then wonders why it doesn't go according to plan. *Forehead slap* I was very happy to take the risk with 'Button' however and despite a very loud voice coming over the tannoy regularly it went well although it did feel like someone was splitting my brain in two. Huge respect to all the other acts, I'm sure most probably played longer than me and that tannoy was hard to compete with!
So there you have it, lots of fun in the south. Next week, news from the north!