It’s hard to believe that we are leaving for our UK/Ireland tour two weeks today! May has been another busy month for us with a ton of private gigs alongside our usual Irish Times shows. We had our first wedding gig of the summer at Merridale Cidery, a private show at the beautiful Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, a belated “CD Release” show at the Corner Lounge in Nanaimo and a private engagement party out in Metchosin. The weather was mostly glorious for all of the shows and we are getting excited to play more outdoor gigs as the summer season approaches.
This past Victoria long weekend we closed out the Victoria Highland Games with a two set performance on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately the authentically Scottish weather and copious amounts of rain meant the crowds had thinned a bit but we still had a good turnout and a very enjoyable performance indeed!
Preparations for our UK/Ireland tour have also been in full swing and getting “paid performer” visas for the UK has proved to be an obscenely painstaking and painful process. The paperwork process alone combined with a trip into Vancouver to get biometrics done (they aren’t messing around!) was lengthy and the source of ample migraines. Not to mention how much the band fund has taken a hit – it’s insane how expensive the whole process has been! But undoubtedly it’s going to be worth it.
Andrew and Florence (our hosts in the UK and the reason we are able to make this tour happen at all!) have been incredible about helping us out with a rental van, sound gear, accommodation for when we are there and with organizing a number of gigs that will be part of the tour. They met us over a year ago when we were playing a gig on Saltspring and asked us last summer how we would feel about coming over to play their wedding. Of course we said yes and are so excited to see them again and be part of their special day!
We have a number of exciting shows lined up for the UK. Our first show will be at the Basingstoke Irish Centre the day after we arrive. Some of the gigs we are playing include a village hall ceilidh, a beer festival, the Hyde Tavern in Winchester, and the South Holland Centre in Spalding. Along with these gigs, we will be doing some busking as well in Winchester, Salisbury, Cambridge and any other nearby towns we feel like checking out! As for Ireland, we have one gig organized in Dublin at Ned O’Sheas Merchant Pub and one pending in Dingle at Dick Mack’s pub, otherwise we will be busking on the streets and playing for beer in the local pubs – and just see what happens! We’re very interested to see how our music goes down across the pond, in England too but especially in Ireland!
There are just a couple more things to organize before we leave (i.e. figuring out how to pack as light as possible and how to make sure our instruments don’t get damaged along the way, being interviewed next week about our tour by BBC Radio Lincolnshire on their afternoon show (!!!) and trying to finalize a couple more gigs), however the hard work has already been done and we are forever in debt to Andrew and Flo for making this happen for us! Three of the five band members have never left the continent before, so it is going to be a huge adventure for all of us. We will be taking lots of videos and photos to share with everyone back at home so be sure to keep posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages while we are away!