The start of summer has flown by and I can’t believe July has already settled in. Lately I have been really busy so sadly I’ve neglected the blog a little bit, but now I have put aside some time to write and give you a little update. I hope to be able to blog at least once a month to document what I’m getting up to and hope this will be more achievable than a weekly post.
So, let’s roll back to the end of May. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that the band and I were little busy bee’s as we had some gigs planned. The first one on the list was Rock + Bowl Festival which took place in Market Drayton. I had never been here before so I was looking forward to what they had in store. The weather had cheered itself up, so the day was looking to be a good one. On arrival, we were treated like royalty, with the artist liaison making sure we knew where we were supposed to be, moving all our equipment for us onto a trailer to take backstage (what a genius idea!) and even providing us with a backstage dressing room decorated in fairy lights. If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Main Stage we played on was a pretty impressive one. There was even a camera crew on stage filming us for the video screens at the side of the stage, so the crowd at the back could see us. That felt pretty cool, I must admit. The field which the stage overlooked began to fill and soon it was 3pm and time to take to the stage. The set was so much fun to play on a stage that size with the sound being brilliant too, and a great audience to match – we could get used to this. We walked off stage feeling very happy, and soaked up the rest of the sunshine, watching the afternoon acts play into the evening.
R O C K + B O W L F E S T I V A L 2 0 1 7 28.05.17
With a gig that good, it felt like the ones we had lined up were going to be hard to beat.
Audlem Festival was up next, and it was our third year playing it. The weather had turned blue again, and drizzled whilst we set up our equipment. But as we began to play, people refused to be put down by the weather, as they passed by and took cover under the marquee to stand and watch our set. The crowd kept growing as we played and it was so humbling to see them take an interest in what we were doing. I was even surprised to see people dancing to some of my songs (which never happens) and of course to our cover of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The audience were so enthusiastic that I didn’t think it could get any better, but as we finished the crowd started shouting for more (now that really never happens). I had been working on something on the side lines, just in case I had the chance to play it at some point, and this turned out to be the perfect opportunity. Following the horrendous terror attack at the Manchester Arena only days before, I felt it was only right to pay tribute to the event. Choosing Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger, I sang with just the piano and watched in awe as the whole crowd began joining in, singing and clapping along with me, and it was the most amazing thing to see, and it really does prove that music brings us all together.
A U D L E M F E S T I V A L 2 0 1 7 29.05.17
The next morning began with an early start, and still full of adrenaline from the night before, the band and I, joined by BBC folk award winner Ciaran Algar, headed down to London. We arrived at The Half Moon in Putney for a headline gig. I was very impressed to find that my name was quite literally in lights, above the venue we were to be playing at. I was a little nervous as to whether anyone would actually turn up, seeing as I have barely played London, but a small crowd of 50 people filled the room and it was a pleasure to play for a new audience. Because we were headlining, we had support acts Lauran Hibberd and Carl Olander to open, setting the evening off to a fine start. We played for an hour, which was actually our longest set of original music to date, and it was a joy to bring back some old songs that we hadn’t played in a while. It was also a fun experience to have Ciaran Algar play fiddle for us throughout some of the tracks, adding some more dynamic to the sound. We left feeling humbled and happy with our first ever headline, let alone being in London and with such a positive response.
H E H A L F M O O N, L O N D O N 30.05.17
Rehearsals continued for the next coming weeks in preparation for a gig that was a little different to usual. We’d been booked to play at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester for a live European conference event, with half our set being cover songs. It was quite hard at first to find songs that suited our style, as we didn’t want to take away from our original sound, but we soon found what we were looking for, and mixed my songs with a collection of covers ranging from Gnarls Barkley, Florence + the Machine, Fleetwood Mac and Adele. Entering Victoria Warehouse for our sound check, we were amazed by the scale of the room and the size of the stage, with a large screen behind us which projected us being filmed. I was suddenly nervous as we waited to go on stage as 350 people sat before us. The nerves soon vanished though as we began playing and the audience were full of enthusiasm, and it wasn’t long before they were all up dancing to the music. It was a wonderful feeling to watch everyone laughing and enjoying themselves and have a good old boogie.
V I C T O R I A W A R E H O U S E, M A N C H E S T E R 11.06.17
The following week, the sun was out in force and we were having a heatwave. This was perfect because we were back for a festival! We returned to Middlewich FAB Festival for the second year, and the weather was glorious. The field was filled with festival goers revelling in the sunshine and that feel-good atmosphere that festivals always bring. We were playing the main stage which was another exciting stage to play (this is starting make me sound like I don’t get out much!) and we melted in the heat as we set up for a sound check. By the time we began to play it was early evening, and the audience were relaxed and ready for a night of music. Ignoring the fact that my sunglasses continued to slip down my face in the heat, the set was such an enjoyable one to play and really felt like summer had arrived.
M I D D L E W I C H F E S T I V A L S O U N D C H E C K
M I D D L E W I C H F A B F E S T I V A L 17.06.17
The next gig scheduled in was at The Biddulph Arms, which is not far from where I currently live. A charity event set up by Craig Pickering for Cancer Research, it was clear to see that a lot of effort had been put in to make it a wonderful event. The venue was full to the brim with people excited by the local bands who were booked to play. We played for 40 minutes to an audience who listened so devotedly that it was a pleasure to play for people who really appreciate local music. Once we had finished and packed away our equipment, we stuck around to catch some of the other bands. The highlights for me were The King’s Pistol and Nixon Tate and the Honeyclub who I have had the pleasure of playing with before, and each time I watch them I am amazed by their skills as songwriters and musicians. It was wonderful to see so many musicians and fans come together for such a good cause, and the money raised so far is £1,800. A success I would say.
B I D D U L P H – U P – I N – A R M S S O U N D C H E C K 24.06.17
B I D D U L P H – U P – I N – A R M S 24.06.17
Astonbury Festival brought the start of July in nicely, as we played to an audience of essentially picnic-extraordinaires. The field was filled with picnic blankets, chairs, tables, food, drinks, BBQs and candles, and you could say this was the epitome of summer. Live music from acts such as Callum Wright, Dave Gorman and yours truly, got everyone in the festival spirit and we stayed to watch the headlining tribute act who had everyone up and dancing under the fairy lights as the dusk turned to night. One of my favourite summer evenings this year so here’s to more to come!
And that brings us up to date! I have had so much fun this past month, and intend to keep it up, so thanks to anyone who came to a show! We have some exciting things planned so keep your eyes and ears peeled.