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Report Elfia Haarzuilens 2016

Kees - Elfia Hz 2016 - Balfolk (750p)

THE FESTIVAL SEASON IS NOW OPEN!

A little over a month ago we kept you up to speed about Elfia, and now after some delay we proudly present our festival report!

Read all about the fun we had getting to know great new bands (well, new to CeltCast anyway) like Unicorn, Accordzeam and Love Street, and about our first face-to-face encounter with close friends and members of the CeltCast family Greenrose Faire.

Despite the dreadful weather it was an amazing weekend filled with joy, dancing, great people, awesome costumes and just loads and loads of fun!

Check http://www.celtcast.com/elfia-haarzuilens-2016 for the full story, and don’t forget to check out the bands that played there!

Elfia Haarzuilens 2016

Kees - Elfia Hz 2016 - Podium (750p)
A little over a month ago we kept you up to speed about Elfia, and now after some delay we proudly present our festival report! 🙂
Read all about the fun we had getting to know great new bands (well, new to CeltCast anyway) like Unicorn, Accordzeam and Love Street, and about our first face to face encounter with close friends and members of the CeltCast family Greenrose Faire. Despite the dreadful weather it was an amazing weekend filled with joy, dancing, great people, awesome costumes and just loads and loads of fun!

Saturday

It’s Saturday morning, 08:00 am, and I’m driving on a nice sunny morning towards… no wait, it’s raining… I mean, now it’s sunny again… or, no, snow? Really?
Anyway, I’m driving towards the largest and most luxurious castle in the Netherlands, Castle de Haar, where the grounds are transformed each year into the Kingdom of Elfia, traditionally an event that signals the opening of the festival season in the Netherlands.

Elfia started in 2001 as Elf Fantasy Fair at the historical theme-park Archeon, and the next year it moved to Castle de Haar. This makes Elfia one of the longest running (maybe the longest running?) large scale fantasy events in the Netherlands. The edition I was heading to now was the 23rd event, since 2009 they organise a second event each year in Arcen on the Dutch/German border, so that is definitely quite the achievement! With their key concept being “You’ll never dream alone”, Elfia has a large focus on the expression of dreams, with costumes as the most obvious way to shape these dreams. Going to Elfia will always mean being treated to a visual extravaganza, with costumes, cosplay and crazy characters all around, all weekend long!

After driving through all of the seasons of the year, even though it was only a fifteen minute drive, I arrived at the castle gates, which were buzzing with activity! Entertainers getting ready for the day, merchants bringing in their last merchandise, festival volunteers flying all over the place to get everything ready for the first visitors, and security guards helping everyone get to where they needed to be. There was already a strong festival vibe in the air! The reason I was this early was that I was invited for a little chat by the festival’s stage-manager, Steef, and well, once the doors open to the public someone in that position has little to no time to spare. My tickets were waiting for me at the entrance, but since the festival wasn’t open yet, and wouldn’t be for quite some time, there wasn’t anybody there yet. But no problem there, because the events many volunteers are all easily recognisable, as they are all dressed in tabards, bright red and yellow robes that have the logo of the festival on them, so I just grabbed the nearest one 😉 and a few radio calls later I had my very own golden armband and I was on my way to the Elfia stage, walking through the gorgeous castle gardens that would not look out of place in any movie about renaissance era courts.

Elfia
The first thing anyone notices when approaching the main stage area is the bar. A huge pirate ghost-ship that seems to sail through the fields, a very recognisable sight, and a clear indication of having entered a different world! Close to opening, the stage was crawling with sound engineers, light technicians, and all sorts of other stage crew. The buzz of anticipation was heavy in the air, that special type of feeling when you know that months of hard work are coming to life in these last minutes and hours. Having agreed to meet Steef here, but not having any clue as to what he looked like, I thought I would just try my luck and call out his name, and it worked. A very friendly gentleman in an Elfia tabard responded and invited me backstage. In keeping with good Dutch tradition, after a first handshake I was shown where to find the coffee, the life juice of any event. It turned out that Steef had that specific combination down to perfection, where one combines professional attitude with a very friendly posture, that makes you feel right at home! We briefly talked about what what we were both exactly doing there, and what we could do for each other. I could tell right away that this was going to be an awesome weekend!

20160423-001 Koffie After this introduction, and of course the first coffee, I had some spare time, so a chance to wander around the grounds a bit. It is very hard to put into words the feelings you get from just casually walking around here. Winding paths take you from merchant filled market squares, through tree lined walkways to grass fields, all filled with the most amazing and wonderful people and sights. Smells of wood-fired grills and steam-powered popcorn machines, sounds of birds and people having fun. All of this combines to create a truly magical atmosphere where one would expect fairies and other mystical, mysterious creatures to pop up around every corner.

20160423-002 Bateria Volle Petaj But it was time to get to work, as the powerful sounds of Bateria Volle Petaj were pumping up the visitors! This Dutch percussion group has been around since the early 90’s and they originated from the Carnaval in the south of the Netherlands. Their rhythms are based in Latin music, mainly samba and samba related sounds from Brazil. They know how to play together and they know how to party, and all of that comes together when they perform. They seem to radiate joy and enthusiasm, and that is contagious! It is almost impossible to keep yourself from moving to their pounding percussion! This is a great wake up call, thank you Bateria Volle Petaj, and thank you Elfia!

20160423-003 UNICORN Next up: UNICORN! This self described “Irish swing-folk band” was formed in 1996 by Martien Tijburg and John Kuiper, and has since then had various other band members. Nowadays it consists of the founding members, joined by Betty Borstlap, Jolanda Traarbach, Martine Nijenhuis and Erna Sommer, though they play in various configurations with not always all six of them on stage. Their performance on this Saturday started with a Balfolk dance workshop and that’s where one can see the experience of these performers come to light. The dance instructor would explain some moves, and the band would seamlessly join in with some appropriate music, as if a director was conducting it all! Highly trained in the musical arts, these musicians swept up the dancers and definitely owned the stage. What a joy to hear both some well known traditionals as well as their own music performed brilliantly!

20160423-004 Accordzeam After a short break there was another Balfolk workshop, this time by French musical wonders Accordzéâm. These men have all received higher education in music and that reflects in everything they do! Since this started as a Balfolk workshop things started out slowly, and with a lot of repetition for the new dancers. But once a few dances were taught, wow, did these guys give away a show! From very recognisable traditionals, to their own style of sounds that just feel like “home”, and to top it all off several very well known modern anthems turned into folk, in a way that makes you wonder if they weren’t actually meant to be played like this. Who knew that you could dance Balfolk to folky versions of The Emperial March and theme songs of Ghost Busters and Indiana Jones. But maybe the one that caught me most of guard and pleasantly surprised me was the heavily folkyfied version of AC/DC’s Highway To Hell that had the dance-floor go absolutely mad!

20160423-005 Greenrose Faire A 45 minute break in the programming allowed me to get a drink and slowly sink back to earth after this awesome performance, but I might as well have stayed up there in music heaven, because after a quick sound-check it was time for Greenrose Faire to take the stage! We’ve known these guys and girls ever since they boldly just sent us their CD’s, and we’ve loved their unique sound from day one! But being from Finland it’s not like they’re in the area a lot, so this was the first time we had a chance to see them live. And man, what a show it was! As said, Greenrose Faire have their own specific sound, and it connects amazingly with the Dutch crowd. I was fortunate enough to already know their songs, so I was very content being right in front of the stage singing along. But behind me the dance-floor filled up, and filled up, and then filled up a bit more, as everyone just walking by got caught in the flow and energy of this awesome group of people and immediately decided to stick around for the show. Aside from the fact that they are amazing musicians, and they seem to have a great talent for writing music that connects with the listeners, the one thing that I really want to point out about their performance is that they radiate fun. They enjoy their time on stage, they enjoy being together and playing together, and that shows!



20160423-006 Love Street After a very swift turn around, much respect to the stage-crew and technicians for their quick and professional work there, it was time for the last band of the day, Love Street. This band, mainly based in England, plays what they call Celtic Folk Rock, and I think that that description is spot on! They are a powerhouse on stage, seemingly born to perform, and they certainly Celtic-Folk-Rocked Elfia! Their take on some of the more well known folk anthems gave those songs a flair that almost turned them into completely new songs, and that is something I really love to see. Combine that with their own work, and you get a show that I will remember for a long time. Their music is a style that you won’t hear on CeltCast, too much amplification for our little gentle stream 😉 , but they are definitely a band that I will keep an eye out for, and will most likely be visiting again!

Unfortunately life caught up with me after that, and I had to leave, thereby missing the day’s finale, stuntmen and a fire-show. I was bummed about that back then, and after having seen the photo’s of that show I am bummed out even more! Extravagant and massive, the show was a fitting end to an amazing day of music, dance, fantasy and friends!


Sunday

20160423-007 The Instant Voodoo Kit Sunday was focused on one thing, and one thing only: recording! After having had technical difficulties with our recording equipment all through Saturday, causing all of the day’s recordings to be useless, this was the day to get down and dirty. The day started with a show by The Instant Voodoo Kit, a band from Germany that has their own style of entertaining. The show was much more than a musical performance, it was a combination of music with storytelling and an almost circus-like appearance that blended together to create their own atmosphere, their own little universe. It is a combination that one usually either loves or hates, and I certainly enjoyed myself, so you can count me in the first category.

After this performance there was a 45 minute window, and I ran backstage to used that to get an interview with Niilo and Salla of Greenrose Faire. I had spoken with them and the other band-members several times during the weekend, and what continued to amaze me is how lovely these people are. But don’t just take my word for it, stay tuned, we will publish the interview sometime in the future 😉

20160423-008 Accordzeam Next up was another great show by Accordzéâm. I would love to describe this performance in great detail, but I doubt there are enough adjectives in the English language to do it justice. What I would like to point out it that despite the fact that the Sunday is traditionally a bit of a quieter day, as most visitors that choose to go one day will be there on Saturday, one hardly seemed to notice that on the dance-floor. It seems the Sunday visitors are the hard core of fantasy-folkers, and they were there to party the entire weekend! Accordzéâm certainly gave them what they came for, and mental pictures of a massive “cercle” are stored under “awesome” in my mind!

20160423-009 Greenrose Faire Then another quick turn around (really guys, resetting the stage and sound-checking in 15 minutes, awesome stage crew!) and it was time for another Finnish fest with Greenrose Faire sharing their magic on stage. Feeling very confident with myself I sang along to every song I knew, but not too loudly, as the recordings were going great today and I wanted to record Greenrose Faire, not “Arjan’s impression of Greenrose Faire”. I have talked about the chemistry these people have on stage, but that is only one way to describe the professionalism of a band. Greenrose Faire showed us another sign of being an amazing band. During their last song of the set (fortunately) all of a sudden the power went out. No lights, no sound, nothing. But even before the engineers and stage-crew had a chance to respond to this, Tomi, the bands drummer, seamlessly moved into an amazing drum-solo, as the drums were the only instrument that didn’t need amplification. Turning a bad situation into something impressive, that is awesome!

20160423-010 Love Street Unfortunately, resolving the power crisis took some time, leaving not too much time for Love Street to wrap up the festival, but they did do that in style! Even their rather short show was a lot of fun, and again they surprised me with their power and sheer pleasure in being on stage! Their last song was accompanied by streamers and confetti canons, and that was a fitting way to end the day, go out with a bang!



There are so many things I could, and would like to say about this weekend. At the beginning of this report I touched briefly on the weather. This stayed the same all through the weekend. Rain, sun, hail and even snow, all made repeated appearances both days, and if you didn’t like the weather at some point, all you had to do was wait five minutes, because that’s how long it took to change. Surprisingly though, the weather didn’t seem to stop the dancers, and once they started dancing the sun seemed to show itself every time. Maybe there is some truth to the old concept of rain-dances, and Balfolk is the sun-dance equivalent, who knows?
With Elfia being very oriented towards costumes how could I not take a moment to appreciate those? I am not a costume wearer myself, but I do love to see people enjoy themselves by being themselves, or by being whoever they want to be. To see so many people that have clearly put a lot of effort into this, ranging from zombies, through animé, to complete historically correct Victorian dresses, that always gives me a warm feeling inside!
And this warm feeling also extends to the organisation. When we first reached out to the with our ideas we never expected such an enthusiastic an friendly response. From the very first day we felt welcome and we felt a part of the family, how awesome is that? We already can’t wait for Elfia Arcen in September! A special thank you goes out to one member of Elfia in particular. The stage-manager Steef made not just the backstage area, but the whole festival feel like home! From the first second we met to the last handshake at the end this guy was both professional and a friend, and that’s a noteworthy combination! Dude, you are awesome, and don’t let anybody tell you any different!

Now, with all of that said, and it turned out to be a lot longer than I originally expected, with Elfia “in the pocket” I would like to officially declare the festival season open! We hope you’ll enjoy many festivals and we hope to meet you all there! Stay safe and keep folking!

– Arjan


What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen – Part 1/4

We're flying! In the air! (Though apparently Jari sees nothing alarming about the situation) Photo: Pauli Borodulin

We’re flying! In the air! (Though apparently Jari sees nothing alarming about the situation) Photo: Pauli Borodulin


“What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen”
by Niilo Sirola / Greenrose Faire

It’s now one week until Elfia Haarzuilens and it’s time to start putting my gear together, figuring out what to fit in the restricted amount of baggage I can take on the plane, let alone what clothing to pack. Instead, I find myself browsing the photos from Elfia Arcen last September and going through my notes and memories, as I seem to have promised to write a travel journal from the artist’s point of view for CeltCast. So what better way to prepare for what will surely be one more weekend to remember…
I’ll leave the description of the wonderful atmosphere, the sights, sounds and costumes to others, and instead try to give a glimpse into an ordinary – yet extraordinary – day in musician’s life.

Once upon a time, Greenrose Faire was offered a gig in the Elf Fantasy Festival in Arcen, on the strict condition that we bring the travelling harmonium along. This was a big thing for us for a couple of reasons. Firstly it would be the farthest from home we’ve gone as a band, and also what looks like the biggest stage for us yet. Secondly, whatever genre our music might represent, the heart of that scene is undoubtedly in The Netherlands so it’s a great pleasure to play there.

And thirdly, it would be the first gig where we can’t just rent a minibus and bring all our usual gear, starting from the drum set, amps, instruments, backup instruments, backups for the backup instruments (just kidding), the banners, flags, barrels and the green-stuff for the stage, the merchandise tent and tables and chairs to go with it, camping equipment, etc. Instead, we were to travel on one of those flying tubular things, with combined amount of 31 kg of gear per person, so a total of about 250 kg for the lot of us. It looked like a pretty tight squeeze! (Although after this computation I start to wonder how many kilos of stuff our usual load is..) The drum set and bass amp were just impossible and we’d have to ask to borrow them on location, Pete had to leave the other keyboards behind, spare instruments could not be spared, and of course almost all of the decorations was out as well. The backdrop banner with our bonfire artwork we at least managed to squeeze in one of the suitcases. Then there was still the two-hour trip from home to the airport in Helsinki, and again from Düsseldorf airport to Arcen. There was no easy way of renting a van or minibus in Düsseldorf end, so we booked two station wagons from airport car rental instead.

For some reason I left booking the flights a bit late, and come July the direct flights were already so pricey that we had to find an alternate route. To absolutely minimize the risk of our baggage getting lost or delayed, we picked flights with a generous 4 hour changeover time in Oslo.

When the day got closer, there arose a little matter of a general strike in Finland planned for the day we were supposed to fly out. It was in the news for a couple of weeks before, causing us some amount of nail-biting, and planning alternate routes (anyone for a 42-hour ride by minibus through Sweden, Denmark and Germany?). In the end, the strike stopped only the buses, which did not affect us (although we stopped for a coffee on the way at the same time as a bus-load of people on strike on their way to a demonstration in Helsinki), and grounded Finnair’s flight for a couple of hours, which luckily was not our carrier this time.

FRIDAY

So all fair and well, we roll out from Tampere at 6 am with the band reinforced with our sound-man Pauli (who would be mostly focusing on photography this time) and our merchs lady Laura. We find the airport almost deserted, and get through the formalities in a flash (even though Tomi, Hanna and Pauli are picked out for extra inspection) and arrive at the gate almost 2 hours too early. We get to spy through the window as our instrument cases get gently loaded onto the plane, and the flight takes off exactly in time.

On the plane, after the obligatory group photos, I immerse myself again to study Dutch on my phone (with Duolingo) and pretty much master the phrase ”Excuse me, I am an apple”. I suppose a situation may arise where I’ll need that.

The stopover in Oslo is uneventful. We try to find the awfully expensive beer they are supposed to have in Norway, but have to settle for almost reasonably priced pints. Don’t see the baggage get loaded on the plane this time but hope ours was still in tow.

These bags are already on their fourth round but no sign of instrument cases yet. Worryty-worry... Photo: Pauli Borodulin

These bags are already on their fourth round but no sign of instrument cases yet. Worryty-worry… Photo: Pauli Borodulin


Arrival in Düsseldorf gets bit more exciting about at the moment that it is clear that our instruments are not going to appear on the baggage conveyor belt. So, walk about a kilometre to the inquiries desk, and then walk back about a kilometre to the shady corner where the special baggage is dumped. Luckily all our gear is there, and I tear open by bouzouki case and all the fillings to check that nothing indeed has broken. So far so good.

The rental cars turn out to be brand new, shiny black, with darkened windows, cockpits like those of a space shuttle, and with less than 50km on the odometer between them. And apparently all the stuff that had no problem fitting into our own two car’s trunks on the way to the airport in Finland has somehow grown in size during the trip and does not agree at all with the dimensions of these space shuttles. After a bit of Tetris with large and bulky blocks, everyone and everything is finally fully inside the vehicles – although not exactly comfortable – and then it is 5 floors down the spiralling driveway from the parking house, honorary laps around Düsseldorf central while the in-car GPS tries to decide where it wants us to go, until finally we are on the autobahn leading towards The Netherlands.

Our ride, bit different from the usual battered minibuses. Photo: Pauli Borodulin

Our ride, bit different from the usual battered minibuses. Photo: Pauli Borodulin


At this point we notice the world has started to drift towards the medieval times already, as our cell phones all lost reception on the road. We can’t get calls through from one car to another and even text messages don’t go through. Without homing pigeons on hand, it’s down to driving in close convoy, but fortunately Pauli’s lead car has pretty fancy shaped tail lights so it is easy to pick out in the traffic.

The crossing over from Germany to The Netherlands is marked only by a welcome sign on the roadside, and as the night gets darker, the roads gets smaller, until we arrive at our assigned lodging. Upon entering we are promptly offered free beer by a jovial gentleman we later learn is “The Professor” who apparently has been involved in Elfia since the dawn of times. A more pressing matter however is finding something to eat and perhaps doing some advance scouting of the festival and stage area.

There is no food to be had in the hostel at this hour and we are directed to an alehouse along the road. Arriving there, they too have already closed their kitchen, but give directions to the village (”go that way and you can’t miss it”). We don’t – no thanks to the received directions but rather to Google maps – and enter the first establishment that looks like there could be hot food in it. Again no luck there, and new set of directions to a restaurant they guess should be open. Eventually we do not find that one either, but instead there is a Turkish 24/7 fast food place wherein I use my new-found Dutch skills to point at a food on the menu. I’m not sure if most of the conversation actually was in English, Dutch, German or some other language, but it does the trick and gets me probably the best Turkish food ever in my memory. When we are about to leave, they learn we are from Finland so they promptly wish us good night – in Swedish. Well close enough.

The walk back to the hostel takes us past the gates of Elfia. In the darkness beyond the gates, a sound check of sorts is going on, with a lonesome electric guitarist having a go at Slayer’s Reign in Blood.

…to be continued tomorrow…


Elfia Report by Niilo (Greenrose Faire) – part 4/4

Until we meet again! Photo: Pauli Borodulin

Until we meet again! Photo: Pauli Borodulin


“What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen”
by Niilo Sirola / Greenrose Faire

It’s now one week until Elfia Haarzuilens and it’s time to start putting my gear together, figuring out what to fit in the restricted amount of baggage I can take on the plane, let alone what clothing to pack. Instead, I find myself browsing the photos from Elfia Arcen last September and going through my notes and memories, as I seem to have promised to write a travel journal from the artist’s point of view for CeltCast. So what better way to prepare for what will surely be one more weekend to remember…
I’ll leave the description of the wonderful atmosphere, the sights, sounds and costumes to others, and instead try to give a glimpse into an ordinary – yet extraordinary – day in musician’s life.

Elfia report by Niilo – Part 4/4


What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen – Part 2/4

GF (750p)
“What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen”
by Niilo Sirola / Greenrose Faire

It’s now one week until Elfia Haarzuilens and it’s time to start putting my gear together, figuring out what to fit in the restricted amount of baggage I can take on the plane, let alone what clothing to pack. Instead, I find myself browsing the photos from Elfia Arcen last September and going through my notes and memories, as I seem to have promised to write a travel journal from the artist’s point of view for CeltCast. So what better way to prepare for what will surely be one more weekend to remember…
I’ll leave the description of the wonderful atmosphere, the sights, sounds and costumes to others, and instead try to give a glimpse into an ordinary – yet extraordinary – day in musician’s life.

SATURDAY

After a trying night (there is no cell coverage within the rooms either so one has to go into the lobby to get some), we are up at 7 AM to catch a quick breakfast before heading to the castle grounds. As we are the first band of the day, we are allowed a proper sound check first thing in the morning before the gates officially open, so we’re in a hurry to make the most out of it.

We get in through the side gate and back way to the backstage area, which is somewhat bigger and better organised than what we’re used to. The stage manager Steef takes us in his office for a quick run-down of the day’s schedule. Then we have the main stage to ourselves for a while. It turns out not to be quite as large as in the specifications because the sides are taken up by the massive stacks of loudspeakers hidden behind curtains with big steam-punk machinery painter on, complete with ambient machine noises and a puff of smoke now and then. Just as well, and even if there’s lots of room on the stage, I like to set up at about similar distances as we have at our practice room. I have a theory about that involving the speed of sound across the mutual distances (but let’s leave it to another time).

As ordered, there is a drum kit for us, but it is in a box, disassembled to the last nut and bolt, so Tomi has some quality time putting it back together. Pete and Tomi set their respective shops up on risers that can be wheeled on and off the stage as whole, so that certainly speeds the entrances and exists. After plugging in about the three hundred required cables and making sure everything is plugged where it ought to, it’s nice to have time for a proper sound check, that is to play bit of different songs and make sure everyone hears themselves and the others in right proportions, and that everything sounds good on the stage monitors.

I’m still mystified how the sound of my bouzouki seems to acquire an unpleasant klang after going through the PA, and how it’s possible that it is different sort of ringing each time, so there’s a bit of fiddling with knobs and levers to tame that out for the day’s needs. While sound check is essential to getting the sound we like and to being comfortable on the stage, this is probably not very entertaining to watch so we are glad to be able to do this before the gates opened and the people are in. This time at least on the stage everything ended up sounding brilliant, and we finish about 10 minutes past the opening of the gates but well in time to get off the stage before the official program began. Then it’s fingers crossed that each cable and knob and fader stays about at the same place until it’s time for us to start our show…

There is a couple of hours of spare time which goes by quickly while strolling around looking at things, and shopping for a spare shirt I could use on stage. Tomi found a flashy buckle for his cloak and had the merchant sew it on for the same price. As more and more people are strolling through the grounds in most elaborate fantasy and sci-fi costumes, it is very strange to feel even under-dressed in my stage clothes. Usually it’s the other way around. The day’s weather is turning out to be a bit damp and the ground muddy and my pointy shoes don’t appear to be exactly waterproof, so I’m happy to know I have a change of shoes in the back.

Wandering back to the backstage area through a well-hidden crack in the surrounding fence (and trying not to wake up the dog who lay sleeping across the opening), I find that our first set is to be a full hour long instead of the 45 minutes we have prepared for, so Tomi and Salla are at work revising the song list. It was of course already carefully clocked to exactly 45 minutes, down to the detail of shortening the intros of some songs here and there, but never mind about that.

Shuffling the song list, one hour until the gig

Shuffling the song list, one hour until the gig


We have the use of a booth next to the stage for selling our CDs from one hour before our show to one hour after it, so it has to be set up as well. We had dedicated only one piece of luggage for merchandise, so it is a bit reduced selection today, and of course lot less decoration than what we’d like. I notice there’s a bit of language confusion if I greet people with “Hi” because they think I said “Hoi” in Dutch and the next few lines after that involve negotiation on the language in which to conduct the rest of the conversation. Pauli is setting up one of his cameras on a stand to video the wide shot of the gig and gave me a GoPro camera to set somewhere on the stage. I set up a separate recording device for audio next to the camera. I like to record as many of the gigs as I remember, and even most of our rehearsals.

Stand at the merch stand with our best faces on. Photo: Pauli Borodulin

Stand at the merch stand with our best faces on. Photo: Pauli Borodulin


Finally, the time comes to jump on the stage for our first gig. Our usual 2-minute intro tape has marks for us to enter the stage just at the right time so that there isn’t too much standing around and fiddling before the first song starts. However, our coordination with the announcer wasn’t too clear, so he announces us on the stage before the intro rolls, so of course we have to walk in and then stand around for the duration of the intro tape. At about this point I remember that I’ve forgotten all about the GoPro. Also right from the start there is some strange constant feedback on stage that wasn’t there during the sound check and I try to convey this fact to the monitor mixer by pantomime with my head and eyes. On top of that, there’s the little fact that I’m still on antibiotics riding down a pneumonia so I have to push my act up to about 110% to compensate. I end up playing the full intro for The Tavern that was supposed to be shortened. But at least the rain lets down a bit and the sun even makes an appearance during the gig. Also, there is remarkable amount of photographers pointing their tubes our way through the whole show.

After the last song and the customary quick bow to the audience, I turn back to find my pedals and all have disappeared from the stage. The breakdown of our set-up is really efficient by the stage crew, and for once I feel I’m just in the way. After rediscovering my gear behind the stage and a quick pow-wow agreeing to use the shorter version of the intro tape for the rest of the shows, it is again a couple of hours’ break before the second show of the day.

…to be continued tomorrow…








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