Greenbelt, Edinburgh Fringe and End of the Road festivals make a fantastic end to an overwhelming couple of months
Hello all! I’m sunburnt, hungover and exhausted tonight as I write this, fresh from the End of the Road festival at the Larner Tree Gardens. This one was my last of the summer - and even though I went as a punter, I ended up getting a great gig there too, but we’ll get to that later.
Before anything else I’d like to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all who made this summer so unforgettable for me and my music. From Friends of Mine up in Cheshire to Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival down in Dorset and everything in between, I’ve enjoyed every moment of life on the road, in a tent and on the stage. I’ve met some wonderful people and had some great adventures, but I particularly couldn’t have done it without Molly, partner in crime; Tim, bodhran player and drinking buddy; Caitlin, friend, host, tambourine-, harmonica-, guitar-, and even bongo-playing wonder of the world; and of course Gerry, trusty (with a little help from the AA) old VW Golf.
August saw me returning to Leicester’s (and my) beloved Firebug, the bar where I got my first ever gig, pulled my first ever pint and spent probably more than I ever earned, to open up the Summer Sundae Fringe Festival. I had a fantastic night and debuted my new song inspired by last months’ riots, London’s Burning, before driving up to bonny Scotland the next night for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thanks to all who came to see us busking on Edinburgh Meadows, we had a great time and even managed to film a video for the new song. You can find it here (and keep an eye out for comedian Mark Watson strolling into the frame - it’s amazing what you find at the Fringe!).
Whilst at the Fringe, my fellow Leftfielder Robin Ince very kindly put me on his show at the Buff’s Club, where I was reunited with the brilliant MJ Hibbett and had a truly brilliant audience. I barely had time for a quick pint of Tennent’s before dashing over to play Lach’s Antihoot at the Gilded Balloon, which was quite possibly the strangest thing I have ever, ever done, and included, among other things, a clown-stripper and her teddy bear lover. Those terms are literal, not euphemistic.
Next up was the main stage at Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham. I can’t express how much fun we had playing, or how lovely the Greenbelt audience were to us. Thank you to Greenbelt for asking us on and to everyone there who made it such a brilliant gig.
I was honoured to be opening up the stage for Show of Hands, the lovely Martyn Joseph and, of course, Billy Bragg - who came through and donated some much-appreciated beers after ours got stolen from the tent. What are friends for?!
My non-stop summer rolled around to a glorious finish at Dorset’s beautiful End of the Road Festival. Having bought tickets months ago I didn’t expect to get to play at the festival, which was jam-packed with awesome talent such as Darren Hanlon, Caitlin Rose and The Staves as well as my old tour buddies Emmy the Great - but fortunately for me the lovely Robin Ince stepped in to get me on the Comedy stage as part of his very weird and very wonderful Book Club. A huge thank you to him for being so supportive over the last few weeks, and thanks aswell to the fantastic audience at EOTR who made my night with their lovely reception. The icing on the cake was meeting an alarmingly talented violinist by the name of Amy Butterworth who joined me for this rendition of Iago.
That brings the festival summer to a close for me, and what a blast its been. It’s not all over though, there’s loads of exciting things coming up in the Autumn, including…
A Tour/roadtrip/adventure with the brilliant Josie Long; gigs in London, Stourbridge, Wellingborough, and wherever else I’m asked; and - hooray! - another show supporting the awesome Emmy the Great.
Next week I’ll be playing a FREE London show at Bookmarks Bookshop in Bloomsbury - if you’re in town on Tuesday 13th September then pop in for a good dose of strummin’ socialism. If not, I hope to catch you somewhere along my travels in the next few weeks.
P.S. Thanks to all those who’ve taken the time to send me lovely, supportive messages over the past few weeks. I’m replying to them as quick as I can, on the train to and from the “real” job! :D