On 4th March 2020 I played my last live gig before the plague apocalypse.
17 months and three days later, on Saturday 7th August I played my first live gig since the plague apocalypse, and it felt fantastic!
Aside from livestreams, this was the first time I’d actually played any of “WolfSong” to a live audience. The only drawback was that it was pouring with rain at the start of my set. However – and this is the weird bit – I remembered something about the only cover song in my set, “Calling”. Written by John Goodluck and Sheila Haskins and originally reocrded by “Bards of the Heath”, I remember John saying they’d played it at an outdoor gig and the weather had changed during the song.
Worth a try, I thought! And guess what..? By the time I’d finished that song, the rain was stopping and ten minutes later there were blue skies and sunshine!
The following day was “Folk at the Boat” at the Steamboat tavern in Ipswich. This time Celandine were on the bill, our first gig since 2019!
Not only that, but as we remembered on the morning of the festival, it was ten years since our very first performance – and at the same venue! I’d be fibbing if I said we weren’t a little bit nervous, but we had a fab sound engineer and an amazing audience… I think we played rather well too! We were followed by a band Max the Pirate Cat would have been proud of: Captain Morgan’s Rum Do!
You can see for yourself how much the band were enjoying themselves! Here’s the least-blurry photo I managed to take!
When is a festival fringe not a fringe? When there’s no actual main festival!
The following Thursday I played at “Cream of the Crop” , formerly known as “Field 8, Cropredy”. Having played two small festivals the previous weekend you’d think I’d left the nerves behind…but no. I was actually particularly nervous about this one because I was playing solo. “But Carys always plays solo!” I hear you cry!
Well…that wasn’t the plan this time around! David Wright was intending to perform with me, but unfortunately due to a neck and shoulder injury he had to pull out a few days before. This meant I drove there by myself and had to rely on my temporary carers (I’m semi-joking here, but I really don’t do very well on my own in public most of the time!) Big thank you to Robin and Sophie in particular, and Gerry and Keon for their fantastic organisation.
This time I was playing two 45 minute sets so I could showcase lots of “WolfSong” as well as several newer songs and a few old favourites. But…the rain joined in again! My second set was slightly delayed starting while the amazing sound guys ran around covering the monitors and mopping the stage! At one point during my second set I dried my guitar strings with my skirt…but then I had a bright idea!
I played “Calling” again and guess what?!
Yup – the rain stopped and held off for the rest of the day!
I was only able to stay for the Thursday, but this meant I got to see the fantastic Julie July Band. Specialising the songs of Sandy Denny but also performing original material, I first saw them in 2019 so was really pleased to get the change to see them perform again.
And now for something completely different…it’s UNCROPREDY!
I got home a bit after 11pm that evening, but was up the next day ready for my fourth festival – UnCropredy! This was the smallest festival imaginable. We had a 20 person maximum capacity in my parent’s garden. I also performed four times in various guises!
As with any good Cropredy, we opened with “Festival Bell” and closed with “Meet on the Ledge”, with lots of performers and acts in between. Unfortunately I mislaid my camera so I’ve got very few photos of the weekend! Here are a few – including David Wright who felt better enough to play on the Saturday evening! I think the wine might have helped though…
On the Sunday morning, ridiculousness happened. You know those festival airbeds that gradually deflate during the night? We discovered the opposite – an airbed that refuses to deflate even when four people are sitting on it and ALL the valves are open!
We also have a video where I am actually playing said airbed like a tuned instrument which I may share at some point if enough of you ask to hear it… If you want to embarrass us, you know what to do folks!
So, from no live gigs for 17 months…
To seven performances in as many days! And it was fantastic!!!