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Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Current page: Concert Diary 2007

Concert Diary 2007

Canterbury Festival 2007, Canada - 13-15 June

Linda Simpson writes - We have had a great time with Piers and Inneke, Jet lag can be a great thing when it gets you up early every morning to go for a swim!

After Hugh's room came Chris' birthday - it was fairly low key because there were not many of us to celebrate it - but Piers and Inneke treated us to a lovely evening out, with dinner, on a boat going up and down river through Indian country. It was really lovely just to relax and enjoy the meal and the scenery. Poor Matt, always the patient one, had to sit with a load of old fogies all night (that's us). A couple of the waitresses were young and pretty so he at least had some nice scenery to enjoy for himself!!

It was all a far cry from the crazy nights of younger birthday celebrations - must make a note to have a wild party next year before it gets too late!!

The day after his birthday was the festival gig. Ted had done a great job organising it but had been disappointed with some of the usual sponsors. He works so hard on this and sometimes it must seem as though it's hardly worth it.

The weather was going to be very important this time as they had to at least try to break even. It was overcast when we got up and by the time we got to the festival site it was starting to rain a little. Nothing drastic at that point.

We were down to do one workshop together - and then we each had a separate workshop to do.....and finally the main event in the evening.

Jerry (Inneke's brother who plays banjo) came over to rehearse with us the evening before and Matt thought it would be a good idea to include him in the mandolin workshop - as banjo had not been represented anywhere. I downloaded the chords for 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' ... it was the first song that I ever learnt all the way through and yet I have never performed it. I thought this might be a good time to do it but, to be honest, even after an hour I was still mixing it up so I gave up on the idea. Another time perhaps.

Matt, his new Marshall Stack, and Jerry

It was a good opportunity for Matt to try out his new Marshall stack - he bought it that same morning because we were having difficulty hearing the electric mandolin when rehearsing - especially as we didn't have any amplifiers with us. It did a very good job but we were not so keen on the overdrive!!

We didn't get to bed too late and were up in plenty of time the next morning.

The first call was at 11:30 am with Osmosaic - they were French Canadian - and great people. Vivian looked and sang like an angel and her husband - who also played guitar and sang, very well, obviously adored her. We sang a couple of songs - they did the same and then we took it in turns until our time was up. While we were playing the rain came down a little faster.

We had a wander around and got ourselves a burger (good old traditional festival food) before going our separate ways for the next workshop.

Last year we got to see Matt - but this time he and I were on at the same time so I missed his performance. Jerry joined him on stage and I'm told they were very good - I knew he wouldn't let us down. Sadly the weather by this time had decided it would throw a bit more at us and we had to dive for cover.

I wandered over to the stage where I was meant to be - it was the 'boys' turn first and then we girls took the stage. Vivian was there, a wonderful character, with more great songs, called Laura Vinson and Morgan Smith, who there last year and acting as host this year.

We promised that none of us would do 'Singing in the Rain - Morgan was declared 'Boss Spice' (because she was in charge) and off we went. It was very interesting, a good choice of songs I was glad that I had given up on 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' as Vivian did it mixed in with 'Wonderful World' a very nice arrangement I have to say. There was much more interaction this time as we each played on the others songs when possible - I personally really enjoyed the whole thing hugely.

The rain had certainly slacked off a bit by the time we were finished - it was then time to shoot off to help Chris out. I said I'd go and play rhythm guitar for him - he is after all mostly a lead player so it was going to be easier for all concerned. I didn't know that he had also asked Matt to join him so it was a bit strange that we were all there when it was meant to be two solo artists - but hey - no one seemed unduly worried.

The first workshop

We were working with Ian Thomas this time. I'd just caught his last song on the workshop before mine and thought he was an OK dude. Chris and he had taken a buggy ride together to get to the stage and it had been a memorable ride with Chris doing the driving which included the odd lurch. It was all going really well until about two thirds of the way through this workshop when The Ingersoll Pipe Band started up. They were down by the main stage (quite a distance away) but the sound carried and served to drown out most of what we did from that point on. We were all laughing but suddenly it became even more surreal as a buggy loaded with clowns went past and they all started blowing on plastic trumpets - that did it - we were helpless and had great difficulty singing anything more.

The weather was starting to improve considerably so we went off home to get ready for the evening bash in an optimistic mood.

By the time we got back everything was going well, there were far more people that the previous year and they had come to enjoy themselves. Most had brought their own chairs, some were on blankets, but everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Ted brought his bodrhan for me to play. It was pretty flashy in the decoration department - but almost identical to mine in size and feel so it was great to play - thank you Ted.

We were on stage before we knew what was happening - and then suddenly it was all over - 7 minutes to go they said - so we finished with 'Ordinary Man' and left on a high note. It was good because we only repeated two songs from last year and that was because Jerry played on them so well that we wanted to do them with him again. We felt that we had done a better job than last year and the feedback was very good too.

We stayed on the site and watched the last two acts, 'Tanglefoot' and 'Ian Thomas'- both were excellent, Magoo did a fantastic job of filling in between the acts - he had everyone singing - what a great guy. I had a wander around all the stalls and called in the beer tent to see Don Wolan, another star who puts a great deal into this festival, I did also have a beer and a carton of chips before finding everyone and deciding that we should perhaps get ourselves home. Matt and Jerry thought they would go for the jam session and so we parted company and made our way home leaving them behind to do their thing.

It had been a great day, the weather had come down on our side in the end and everyone was very pleased with the result.

On the Monday we went to Ted's for dinner out on the deck. Sherry had cooked a wonderful meal and the wine was excellent - thank you again Don. It was just such a lovely night - it of course ended with lots of music and we were treated to a second violin from young Ted who is really getting it together - it's just great to see young people finding their way into the pleasure that music can bring. Thanks again for a wonderful evening.

We had a few days left over to enjoy being with our friends and some other friends of Piers and Inneke - Neil and Gwen. They were from New Zealand and we had a great time with them too - there was a lot of laughter and fun.

On the very last day Ted had arranged for us to meet with a new agent for Holland - Darcey Gregoire - in the hope that he might be able to get us some work for next year across Canada. It was a good meeting too - I really hope something comes of it.

After that we were on our way back to the airport. Did I mention 'Dairy Queen'? - Matt had been on a mission with the 'Strawberry cheesecake blizzard' again and Ted thought we might just be able to find him one more before we left for home. We searched, we asked people, we asked at the garage, we drove round and round, we went past one because someone sent us back the way we had just come - but all to no avail - we couldn't find a Dairy Queen anywhere and had to give up or risk going hungry. Poor Matty - so close and we couldn't find it. At least this time he did manage to have 4 or 5 of them so it wasn't as bad as last year!!

We went for an Italian meal - it was very tasty and a nice way to finish off our time with Ted.

All too soon it was time to go - Ted took us to the airport where we bid him a fond farewell (I hate saying goodbye sometimes) and we were on our way again. We were glad that we had had the Italian meal because the food on the plane was not wonderful and we were able to pass on that.

The long suffering audience
Left Arrow Hugh's Room, Toronto The Cavern, Liverpool Right Arrow