Festivals. Last year I didn’t apply for any as I had become a Dad the year before. I ended up playing just the one - Tribal Earth down in Sussex, which a friend of mine helps organise and which the family came to. This was a far cry from a couple of years previous when I was booked to play in the Greenfields at Glastonbury followed by a week playing gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe.
This year, I have just become a Dad again but I reckon it’s worth applying to play at some choice festivals. One of those I have applied to perform at is End of the Road. Now, I have actually played there twice before, but without being booked in advance. Both times I was a paying punter and took my guitar with me. The first time I started jamming in the woods and looked up at the end of a song to find a small crowd seated there on the floor, looking up at me eager to hear more. So I kept playing for nearly an hour or so.
A few years later I went back again, the same year I’d just played at Edinburgh. Again, I’d bought a ticket as I wanted to enjoy the festival regardless of wether I even got a chance to play there. I took my old Tanglewood acoustic guitar with me and found another nice spot in the gardens to perform in. The main stages were full of people watching various big name acts at the time, so I wasn’t sure if there’d be anyone free to listen to me. Fortunately, some people wandered by and stopped to listen, followed by some more until I again had a small crowd listening to me for an hour or so. It was loads of fun and so rewarding to be performing to such an appreciative audience.
I also played a set in a tiny stage that I can’t remember the name of now. It was in the woods, inside a dimly lit stage in a box. I sat on a stool in the box in near darkness and waited for someone to enter who I then performed a single song to. Outside was a queue of people waiting to hear a song each. Until they entered the box they had no idea who was about to play to them, or what song they were going to hear. I gave people the choice as to what type of song they might prefer but most of them left it open for me to decide what to play. It was again loads of fun and I had some really nice, positive feedback from the people I played to.
One of the best things about End of the Road is the people that go there really love music and I got such a kick out of performing to them which made me perform better.
Hopefully, I’ll get to play there again as it is such a lovely festival. If the organisers don’t decide to choose me out of the thousands who must apply to play there each year then I’ll just go along as a punter again, when I have the money and the kids are older. I’ll play some more impromptu unplugged sets around the gardens. Impromptu unplugged gigs are always the nicest, especially when the family can come along to listen :)