We have always enjoyed our trips to perform at The Maltings Theatre in St. Albans. It is a well equipped and intimate venue where one can create a real atmosphere and, being our home town, it also guarantees that we will see lots of our local supporters in the audience. As such, it was with delight that we accepted a recent invitation from Folk at The Maltings organisers, Alison MacFarlane and Bill Redway to perform the April folk concert at the theatre.
Back in July 2017, Rob and I were pleased to receive an invitation to perform in the prestigious Brunel University, Lunchtime Concert series. This is a series of classical, jazz, folk and other types of music, organised by members of the Music Department at Brunel University and open to students, staff and members of the local community. Past invitees to this community-oriented concert series have included, amongst others, the wonderful Bob Fox and, more recently, the highly respected guitarist, Laura Snowden.
Sadly the fund raising event at the Watford Folk Club had to be postponed on the 2nd March 'Beast from the East' wrestled with 'Storm Emma' and dumped snow and ice all over south west Hertfordshire. The date is to be re-arranged and we can then lend our shoulder to the wheel to help secure the future of this wonderful folk club which is providing a great service to music in the Watford area.
After the exertions of Thursday to Saturday, it was time to ease back a little on Sunday. We had no formal playing commitments that day so we took the opportunity to go for a walk with friends alongside The Water of Leith, down to the bustling area of Stockbridge in Edinburgh, where we had lunch. Then, in the afternoon, Dave and another friend, Ross, were on hand to help us with a little photo and video shoot during an impromptu house concert. Watch this space in the coming weeks for evidence of their hard work over the course of that afternoon.
Rob and I both love Scotland. As such, when the chance arose for us to play a series of gigs north of the border, we were absolutely delighted to accept. That the tour would also entail two gigs with our great friends in Scottish-Spanish folk collective Gallo Rojo made the prospect doubly delicious.
Audience sizes at music venues are unpredictable and, not for the first time, we arrived at a club on a quiet night. Who knows the reason why the Amberley Acoustic Music Club was so quiet that particular night? Given it was our first visit to the club, it can’t have been a conscious decision to stay away. It was the first evening after the club’s summer break, it was a bit parky, Bake Off was on telly, the second round of the Carabao Cup, who knows? It is just one of those things and, as far as I can make out, it is something many fellow travelling musicians have experienced.
It is always a thrill to visit a new folk venue and we were delighted to have been invited by club organiser, Mark Pidgeon, to perform at the Wychwood Folk Club in west Oxfordshire last weekend.
The club is fortunate to operate out of two attractive venues, Tiddy Hall and The Swan Inn, in the lovely village of Ascott-under-Wychwood and we had the honour of being the first guests to perform at the recently refurbished club room at The Swan Inn - and very pleasant and comfortable it proved to be.
Rob and I have had the pleasure of playing for the Friends Music Society in Welwyn Garden City a number of times before, most recently in April 2010 and again in October 2014. So, it was a real pleasure and honour to be invited back to perform for the Society once again.
After a somewhat fitful night’s sleep for me at least, Rob and I were treated to a lovely breakfast by Peter and Geoff before setting off back to the Shrewsbury Folk Festival site on Saturday morning. Once there, we checked on CD sales (which were very decent) and had a coffee before getting our gear together and walking the ten minutes off site to the Bird in Hand pub where we were to begin the lunchtime programme at midday.
Rehearsals were over, the packing was done and it was time to set off for our first experience of the wonderful Shrewsbury Folk Festival. The weather was fine, the roads were kind and we made it easily to a service station near Telford for lunch.
Suitably refreshed, after lunch we drove the last few miles to the festival site which was already busy by the time we arrived.