Festival Gig On the Seafront



We have secured a slot at a Biker’s festival called Britona on the seafront in Brighton. We are assured that, as a consequence of being ‘bumped off the bill’ last time, we will definitely be the second band on – which gives us a slot at eleven o’clock in the morning. The closer I get to Brighton as I drive down the motorway, the more I am surrounded by Bikers in convoy. I think ‘this event must be quite big’. When I reach the sea front there are ushers everywhere trying, it seems unsuccessfully, to control a seething mass of thrumming bikes driven by leather clad dudes and their biker chicks. I find what seems to be the last place in the designated parking area (artists get a pass) and start walking to find where the stages are. It turns out we are playing a third of a mile from where I have parked. It is glorious weather, the last sun of the summer streams down on the seafront and along with the hum of hundreds of Harleys there is a definite festival buzz in the air.


Having found where we are going to play I make my way back to the car and start to unload my gear. This is not going to be easy - although my heavy amp is on wheels I don’t want to risk rattling its delicate valves over the bumpy road surface; however its weight means that I simply can’t carry it the whole distance (I don’t think my fingers would be able to play). So I end up gingerly pushing it (while balancing my telecaster precariously on top) through the dazzling sun and exhaust fumes towards the stage. At one point I find myself scuttling down a narrow channel left between two rows of glistening heavy metal machines - the pride and joy of all these heavy biker dudes. I have nightmares of catching my amp on one of the wheels and then the whole lot falling over like dominoes. I make it to the stage, exhausted and stressed, then have to go through it all again to pick up my effects case and my other guitar.


Eleven o’clock in the morning is a strange time to be playing the blues but it turns out to be quite a decent slot; people are fresh and inquisitive at the start of the day. For the first time we have someone on a desk mixing our sound so at least we know that whatever we play it will be well balanced. The festival runs in a long strip for about a mile along the seafront so not all of those hundreds of bikers see us play but about 50 of them do and we seem to go down well (some even dance). Afterwards the manager of a Hendrix tribute band tells us he loved what we did and asks would we consider playing support to his band. This could be good for us in terms of gaining introductions and connections to venues. He takes our number but no one thinks to get his - which is a shame because he never calls and none of us can trace him! It’s all learning!


October 2010


One of the biggest challenges for a new, unknown band is getting gigs. This was a side of being in a band which I hadn’t anticipated…



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