It’s been the busiest summer for us to date with an average of 5 gigs a week (hence there not being a blog update since May!) We just wanted to check in and give a quick update as to what our summer has looked like so far and how we’re holding up, as well as give you all a very brief update of how the UK/Ireland tour went. Let’s start there!
The band about to fly off to Gatwick airport!
The UK Tour:
It almost feels like the entire thing must have been a dream! It’s hard to believe that it really happened and went as smoothly and successfully as it did for us. To begin with, we need to give Andrew and Florence a huge thanks and expression of our gratitude for making the whole thing happen. They are two of the most generous and kind people and their wedding (and the week before the wedding we got to spend with them) will be something we will never forget. From organizing a van for us to renting sound gear we could use the whole time, to putting us up in the most comfortable rooms on their incredibly idyllic country farm to organizing a number of shows for us, they were absolute legends. Although we were nervous about bringing our music back to where it all began, we had great reception at all of our shows. The first big show at the Basingstoke Irish Centre was fantastic with lots of Irish folks who knew all the words to the songs singing and even dancing along! We asked before we began if it would be acceptable for us to sing our Irish rebel tunes and we were met with great enthusiasm, later learning that rebel songs hadn’t been sung there in decades, but because we were a Canadian group, it was perfectly acceptable and even appreciated by the Irish contingent.
Ready for our first show in the UK at the Basingstoke Irish Centre!
On our first weekend there, we had a great show at the Dummer Village hall that was packed with locals, a lovely Sunday afternoon show in the sun at the Blue Ball Pub in Kintbury and a lovely little beer garden show in Winchester. We didn’t have any formal shows organized for the week so we spent the days exploring the countryside, headed to Avebury Circle for some rainy band shots and to check out the city of Bath, and then to Oxford for some fun busking sessions and later, to Portsmouth.
Busking on the High Street in Oxford.
We then headed north to Lincolnshire to play to a 100+ audience at the South Holland Centre in Spalding, and then to play Andrew and Flo’s wedding which was certainly the highlight. The ceremony was held in a beautiful church and Bronwyn got the chance to perform Pachelbel’s Canon along with the church organ as Florence walked down the aisle, as well as meet the Duchess of York!
The raggle taggle wedding band…
After the grand ceremony, the wedded couple headed out on a tractor embellished with vegetables (perhaps an English tradition we didn’t know about?) and we enjoyed cocktails and champagne in the front garden before having dinner and playing a fantastic reception show on a stage built especially for us to an audience who danced the whole time!
The dancers at Andrew and Florence’s fantastic wedding.
The Ireland Tour:
We obviously couldn’t fly out all the way to the UK and not stop over for a couple of days in Ireland. We had a couple of informal shows booked but weren’t really sure what would happen when we got there. We flew into Kerry airport and rented two vehicles to get all of our stuff and our gear to Dingle to play Dick Mack’s pub. This tiny pub that also functions as a shoe shop and hardware store was a fantastic first spot to play. We had a great little audience packed in there and we were even joined at one point by a local bodhran player!
Our first show in Ireland at Dick Mack’s in Dingle.
The next day we headed to Galway and met up with our old friend from the Irish Times, Enda Gallagher who had organized a gig for us at Monroe’s Pub. The trad music capital of Ireland had plenty in store for us, including Cody’s favourite music shop of all time (see below), buskers playing folk music all over the streets and some excellent local trad groups we had the enjoyment of watching perform.
Cody’s mandolin Mecca…
It was time to head to Dublin for the remaining two days of our trip. We saw many of the historical sights (most notable was Kilmainham Gaol where many Irish dissidents over the years had been held, including the leaders of the 1916 uprising) and played two pub shows at O’Shea’s Merchant and our final night at a pub called Napper Tandy’s (right next door to the legendary O’Donoghue’s Pub where the Dubliners and Planxty both had their start). We were very well-received although often our audiences ended up being comprised of tourists from the States and Canada! One of the shows we played even had a family from Victoria watching us, which was quite a funny experience after coming all that way!
After a whirlwind non-stop four days, the trip was sadly over! At least for everyone except Bronwyn who had travelled over on her Irish passport and then was denied entry into Canada because she didn’t have her Canadian passport with her! So she spent an extra week there, went back to the West coast, joined in on some great trad sessions and saw some spectacular countryside to make the best of it! There are certainly worse places in the world to be stuck…
A beautiful country where we shall certainly be returning one day!
Since June and our return, we’ve been playing a variety of shows all over the place, which have included quite a number of private events (from weddings to housewarming parties to 50th anniversary parties!), as well as a mini Gulf island tour on Quadra, Cortes, Sointula and in Port MacNeil, and a very brief weekend jaunt (two shows and 2000 kilometres) out to Kelowna and Kimberley this past weekend!
Looking ahead to August, we’ll be playing more weddings, the Parksville Beach Festival, a show up in the Blind Channel on Thurlow Island, and Quadrapalooza at the end of the month, as well as our regular shows at the Irish Times on Mondays and Wednesdays! Be sure to check out our upcoming shows for more info and hopefully we’ll see you out in the audience basking in the summer sun for at least one of them before the summer is through! As always, thanks for reading!