18-Aug-2013 All’s Well That Ends Well

But it nearly wasn’t… more on that in the second half of this week’s blog.

A trip out to the Sage on Sunday made for a leisurely start to the week (is Sunday the start of the week? Or is it the end of the previous week?). We popped in to see a lunchtime concourse concert – we were ‘casing the joint’ to get a feel for how it all works in preparation for our very own jiva concert there! We wandered around listening from various vantage points, checking the sound throw/quality and seeing how the performance fitted into the lunchtime goings on inside. We’re ready and raring to go, hoping to see familiar friendly faces and lots of new friends we’ve yet to meet… our 60-minute performance starts at 1:00pm on Sunday 1st September.

Monday and Tuesday saw us hard at work in the Blue Room, recording more songs on a commissioned project that was started last week… and then we had the pleasure of a short-notice recording session well into the evening. We’ve been working through the editing and mixing off and on for most of the week and have early mixes available for one project and are just about to start on the second.

Wednesday we played at one of our favourite Whitley Bay care homes – following a lovely afternoon of the relaxing jiva gentle blend we were showered with positive comments and invited to join them for a buffet tea… lovely! But Jimmy did manage a few too many calories (he finds it difficult to resist cakes and biscuits etc).

On Thursday we headed into Newcastle to pick up Val’s special birthday present (it might be a special present for her birthday, or it might be a present for her special birthday – just depends on how you read it… actually, it’s a bit of both). We took the opportunity to tick off a few items on the shopping list for our trip to America (now less than a month away… eeek!), and dropped in to Pizza Hut for a bite or two before making our way to the Ballarat Studios in North Shields. We always try and go along to support our musical contemporaries and swell audience numbers whenever possible (Fool’s Gold were playing that night), and we also took the opportunity to catch up with Karen who runs the Ballarat. She’s asked us to head up a Songwriting Symposium evening on Friday 30th August and Thursday night’s visit allowed us to compare notes on planning and progress for the event.

Once the editing and mixing for project one above were finished we allowed ourselves a little time to relax on Friday before an early start to get up and ready and packed for our two slots at the 2013 Clennell Hall Folk Festival.

Due to a road closure and ensuing diversion it took us about an hour and a quarter to drive there – but, being the well organised types that we are, we still got there well in advance of our first slot which opened proceedings in the Reception area. We were set up in good time and kicked off our set at precisely the programmed time (12:30) and finished five minutes early to allow time to move our instruments out of the way so that the next act could start on time for their set. It was good to see some new faces in the audience as well as ‘friends and fans’ of long standing. Our set coincided with the free lunch for performers so, by the time we finished, there’s was next to nothing left to fortify us after our first performance (c’est la vie)… not to worry though, we came prepared – but then you’d expect nothing less of us.

Set up and ready to play. Ralph is in the middle, on the windowsill.

Set up and ready to play.
Ralph is in the middle, on the window seat.

It’s odd how things work out – there was no one in overall charge of the timekeeping and MC-ing, and so it was left up to the performers to do ‘the right thing’ and keep to their allotted timespan (hopefully allowing time to get off and ensure the next act gets on when they’re supposed to). Some play the game while others overstay, thus making it difficult for performers who have slots elsewhere on site to get to where they’re supposed to be in good time, or come from where they’ve been and find that their slot is now running late through no fault of their own. And it must be doubly frustrating for festival goers who plan according to the programme where to go at what time to ensure they can maximise their pleasure by getting to see who they want to see where and when they expect to see them.

Even after the planned break in the middle of the afternoon was considerably shortened, the evening session still ran late – we got on for our second slot 20 minutes later than programmed. And, yes, in an effort to help get things back on track we chopped a quarter of our set. We finished to enthusiastic applause and apologised that we’d really love to play more but had decided to cut it short so that we could get the next act on more quickly.

There then ensued mad moments where the performance area was filled with people scurrying about – some trying to set up gear, others trying to take down gear… but we quickly scrambled everything of ours out into the porch where we finished putting stuff into the correct cases and bags (in the dark). Phew! We would have liked to stay longer but, as the gear was half way outside we packed the car and drove home. Doing our usual mental inventory as we were unloading the car Val asked “Where’s Ralph?” (Ralph is our AER Alpha acoustic amp) – oh, no! That sinking feeling when you realise you’ve left a piece of kit at the venue. There was nothing for it but to get back in the car and drive all the way back to Clennell Hall hoping that Ralph was where we had left him… we tried phoning to let them know but got no reply. We got there at 11:45 as the final act were packing away their gear (the Reception programme had been slated to finish by 11:00pm) and, sure enough, we found our trusty little AER sitting in the cold and dark porch exactly where we’d left him. Much relieved, we turned and headed home feeling somewhat tired.

Awake at 08:30, shower, breakfast, pack the car, a 75 minute drive (with diversion) to get there, pouring rain, two 60-minute spots that became 55 and 45 minutes respectively, 10 hours on site, a 75 minute drive home, unpacking the car and finding we’d left Ralph at the venue, a 75 minute drive back to Clennell Hall, pick up Ralph, a 75 minute drive home in the rain again, time for some shuteye, turn in at 01:30-ish. A 17-hour day. But, as stated in the title:

All’s well that ends well…

Next week should be less draining – 4 care homes, a few days in the Scottish borders and Val’s birthday to celebrate.

One thought on “18-Aug-2013 All’s Well That Ends Well

  1. Kirsty Wilkins

    Sunday is definitely the end of the week, with Monday being the start of a new week, well, for those of us still in the rat race anyway! Also, always remember, diets always start on Mondays, so that MUST be the beginning of a week!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.